10 Best Linux Font Tools (Updated 2020)

In the days when Linux was a fledgling operating system, font handling was often identified as a major weakness. It was true that Linux then had problems with dealing with TrueType fonts, its font subsystem was prehistoric compared to its competitors, there was a dearth of decent fonts, difficulties in adding and configuring fonts made it almost impossible for beginners to improve matters for themselves, and jagged fonts with no anti-aliasing just added to a rather amateurish looking desktop.

Fortunately, the situation is considerably better these days, with a better quality of user interface typography. With the continuing improving FreeType font engine producing high quality output, natively supporting scalable font formats like TrueType, Linux is making great strides although there’s still some way to go. Dealing with fonts under Linux can sometimes be tricky.

Another factor that has contributed to Linux becoming more font friendly is improvements made in font management and editing software. Font management software lets users browse and preview fonts, to organise them by groups, to activate and deactivate fonts, make comparisons between fonts, find fonts suitable for a specific purpose, as well as generating font samples and font books. Many distributions have hundreds of fonts pre-installed. This type of software makes it simple to manage and evaluate these fonts. In this article, we have highlighted the best font management software available for Linux, as well as identifying our favorite font editor.

To provide an insight into the software that is available, we have compiled a list of 10 top font software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for users who want to mange the fonts on their computer. We give our highest recommendation to HarfBuz, fontpreview, and FontForge.

Linux Font Tools

Let’s explore the 10 font software utilities at hand. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources.

Font Tools
HarfBuzzOpenType text shaping engine
fontpreviewSearch and preview fonts
FontForgeFont editor and converter
fontToolsLibrary to manipulate font files from Python
BirdfontVala based font editor
FreeTypeSmall and efficient software font engine
Font ManagerSimple tool suitable for the needs of most desktop users
Fontmatrix Featureful personal font manager; keep your font collection in order
Opcion Font ViewerJava based font viewer
TruFontStreamlined and hackable font editor

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Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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