Using Windows and X11 PostScript Fonts in Mac OS X

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Mac OS X can deal with many font formats all by itself, but it doesn't know how to deal with PostScript fonts intended for use on Windows or the X Window System. Adobe Type Manager used to handle this under earlier Mac OS releases, so in the past this was not a problem. Fortunately, these fonts are easily converted to a Mac-friendly format, and there is free software that can do the job.

Windows PostScript fonts are made up of two files, blah.PFB and blah.PFM. The X11 versions are also made of two files, blah.pfb and blah.afm.

First, you will need to make sure that X11 is installed on your Mac and working. Then, download and install FontForge. The next time you start X11, FontForge will be in your application menu.

Start up FontForge and a file dialog will appear. Navigate to the folder where your foreign font resides, and open the .PFB file. A window with the font's characters will pop up.

From the font window, use the toolbar menu to pick File>Generate Fonts…


Pick OpenType (CFF) from the menu just above the options button, then press the Save button.


The OpenType font you saved should now work with Font Book or your preferred font manager.

Commercial font conversion software