One of my many business ventures is designing book covers. I
use all open source software for this, so I work within the Linux
platform (Ubuntu to be exact). A key component of digital graphics is fonts. Now, everyone who uses Linux knows that installing
fonts is no longer the hassle that it once was (just dump all of your .ttf
files into ~/.fonts, and you’re good to go). But sometimes finding fonts is more
challenging than installing the fonts.
Of course, with Linux, anything is possible. Even searching
and installing from the long list of Google Web Fonts. The easiest means of
doing this is by using TypeCatcher, which will get you access to the nearly 600 Google Fonts. TypeCatcher includes features like:
- Search by font name
- Choice of preview text
- Quick download button
- Uninstall button
So, if you’re a designer, and you’re looking for even more
fonts to choose from, TypeCatcher might become one of your favorite tools.
Let’s install and use this application.
Although TypeCatcher isn’t in the Ubuntu repository,
installation is simple. Just follow these steps:
a terminal window
- Type the command: sudo
add-apt-repository ppa:andrewsomething/typecatcher and hit Enter
- Type your sudo password and hit
the command: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install
typecatcher and hit Enter
the installation to complete
With the application installed, you should find it in your
menu; or, if you use Unity, you can open the Dash, type the word “type” (no
quotes), and TypeCatcher will appear. Click it to launch, and you’re ready to
When the TypeCatcher window opens (Figure A), you’ll find an incredibly well thought-out interface. All you have to do is
scroll through the font listing, find the font you want to use, and install it.
The TypeCatcher main window.
Here are the steps for installing fonts:
a font using either the font listing or the search function
you’ve located the font, click the download button to download and install the
uninstall a font, click the uninstall button (trash can)
That’s it. Once you’ve installed a font, it will be made
available to all applications. Some of these applications, however, will need
to be restarted. I’ve also noticed that, in some instances (like when using
LibreOffice) the installing of fonts will alter the text of your document. To
remedy this, simply close and re-open the document. Once you’ve done that, the
text will return to its normal state and the new font will be made available.
You do need a network connection (obviously) to download
and install the fonts. I’ve discovered that, even with a solid network
connection, some of the fonts time out and are not available. The error states
to check your network connection.
To change the text used in the sample display, do the
a font and select it
the drop-down in the upper right corner (marked only with a downward pointing
arrow), select the text to be used
enter your own text, select Custom Text
the Preview Window, type the text you want to to use for your font test (Figure
Type the text you want to use for your font test.
TypeCatcher offers numerous fonts (from all font families)
that are ready to install on your machine and free of charge. If you’re one who
collects fonts (fontophile?), then you owe it to yourself to install and use TypeCatcher. This easy-to-use app is the most user-friendly means of getting
Google Web Fonts onto your Linux desktop.
Have you used TypeCatcher? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.