Alternative Fonts

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Unlike, which needs converted Mac fonts, NeoOffice will immediately allow you to use the fonts that are present on your Mac. This means the fonts that are generally located in the /System/Library/Fonts folder, as well as:

  • /Library/Fonts (available to all users)
  • ~/Library/Fonts (fonts available to the current user)
  • /System Folder/Fonts (fonts from Mac OS 9, as long as they are either Roman-only or Unicode; Mac OS X 10.4 and older only)
  • /Network/Library/Fonts (fonts available to all users on the network)

For some (mostly non-Roman or -German) languages, there are very few fonts that look acceptable and include all of the required glyphs.

Most notably, the versions of Microsoft's standard fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) installed with Mac OS X include very few, if any, glyphs beyond the Western European ("Basic Latin" in Unicode terms) block. If you have previously installed Office 2004, you will have access to Microsoft's updated fonts, provided you have no other versions of those fonts present.

Installing new fonts on your Mac is as simple as moving them to the (~)/Library/Fonts folder, or installing them with the Font Book application. Most Unicode .ttf and .otf fonts available on the internet will work without problem on your Mac and in NeoOffice; beginning in NeoOffice 3.2, this includes scripts which need complex layout analysis (e.g. Arabic, Indic). In NeoOffice 3.1.2 and older, though, scripts which need complex layout analysis require fonts to have special AAT instructions not usually found in "generic" TrueType or OpenType fonts.

If you want to disable existing fonts on your Mac, take care, as some fonts are required by Mac OS X to function properly. Apple has a list of required fonts on their website: 10.3, 10.4, 10.5.


[edit] Some sources for alternative fonts

Note that some free fonts periodically have serious corruption problems, so be sure to use Font Book to validate fonts before using them, even when upgrading from previous versions of the same font which validated successfully.

[edit] Large Fonts

These fonts cover many scripts with one font, sometimes including most or all of Unicode Plane 0 or scripts in other Planes

[edit] Small Fonts

These fonts cover only one or two scripts where fonts for these scripts are rare or offer more complete and extensive sets of glyphs than provided by common fonts for these scripts

[edit] Middle Eastern Scripts

e.g., Arabic, Ethiopic, Hebrew

[edit] South and Southeast Asian Scripts

e.g., Tibetan, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Khmer, Lao

  • Monlam (Tibetan; 13 fonts and 2 keyboard layouts from
  • Rachana (Malayalam; AAT version from Mac Malayalam Resources)
  • Dharani (Malayalam; AAT version from
[edit] Indigenous North American

e.g., Inuktitut, Cherokee

[edit] Ancient and Modern European Scripts

e.g., Gothic, Ogham

[edit] Cyrillic, Greek, and Roman
  • SIL Gentium (Roman, Greek, Cyrillic)
  • Doulos SIL (Roman and Cyrillic)
  • Charis SIL (Roman and Cyrillic)
  • LinuxLibertine (Roman, Greek, Cyrillic)
  • DejaVu (Roman and Cyrillic; based on Bitstream Vera but with additional glyphs)
    Note that there have been some reports of DejaVu causing conflicts with Bitstream Vera and leading to odd font behaviors. Some versions of DejaVu fonts have corrupt font tables and can lead to crashes in other applications.
  • Bitstream Vera (Roman and Cyrillic, in normal, bold and italic, serif, sans-serif and mono; included with NeoOffice)
  • Alkaios (Roman and Greek)
  • MgOpen fonts (Roman and Greek; four families)
  • New Athena Unicode (Greek)
  • Junicode (Roman, Greek, Runic)
  • Legendum & Garogier (Roman and Greek)
  • Cardo (Roman, Greek, Hebrew, and other glyphs useful for classicists, Biblical scholars, medievalists, and linguists)

[edit] Additional Lists and Resources

Lists glyph counts and Unicode ranges for fonts shipped with Mac OS X as well as sources for downloading other fonts available for Mac OS X (N.B. glyph counts of Microsoft fonts are for the Office 2004 versions rather than the older versions shipped with Mac OS X)
Lists and descriptions of fonts, divided by geographic region; focused on Linux and BSD variants, but most fonts should work on Mac OS X, with the exception of those for scripts which require complex layout analysis
The canonical guide to multilingual computing on the Mac, Tom Gewecke's page includes summaries and more detailed information on using many languages, scripts, fonts, and keyboards on Mac OS X, as well as links to pages which specialize in certain languages and scripts. Tom also runs a blog at where he posts various updates on fonts, Unicode, and other items of interest for multilingual Mac OS X computing.
Fonts and resources for Medievalists and Classicists
Sells commercial fonts and script resources (where missing from the OS) to support many additional less-common languages and scripts on Mac OS X

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