How to Add Fonts to Adobe Illustrator

In the control panel, in the font choice dropdown box, click Find More and you can choose and activate an Adobe font right from Illustrator. This will add the font to your font options dropdown.

My name is April, and I’ve been working in the graphic design field for 13+ years now. Adobe Illustrator is my favorite design software. Everything from the Pen Tool to the Direct Selection Tool, I find it gives me the most ability to create designs and layouts efficiently.

Fonts are a very important aspect of graphic design. As such, it will be important for you to know the various ways to add fonts to Adobe Illustrator and put them to use!

Let’s look further into it. 

Note: The screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version. 

Method 1: How to add Adobe Fonts to Illustrator

Assuming you or your workplace has purchased an Adobe subscription, you will have access to Adobe Fonts. They are available to activate right in Adobe Illustrator, making them a simple option to add a new font for your design use!

Step 1: Within the control panel, there is a character panel that offers quick access to do common tasks, such as changing the font. Be sure to have text or a text box selected, and the character panel will show up in the control panel.

Step 2: Click the down arrow to bring up the drop-down menu of fonts installed on your computer.

Step 3: Click Find More towards the top and it will open the Adobe Fonts.

Step 4: Once loaded, you can scroll through the fonts or type in a name/letters to find a font.

You can see a preview of the selected fonts, so search until you find one you like. I like the Monarcha Book Italic. Notice it has the Adobe Creative Cloud logo silhouette, which means it is not currently activated.

Step 5: Once you find a font that you want, hover over the cloud logo silhouette on the far right side, on the same line as the font you want to activate. 

Step 6: As you hover over that symbol, click on it and Adobe Illustrator will activate the font. 

When a font is activated, the symbol will change when you hover over the font.

And when you are not hovering over the font, it shows a small check mark to let you know that it is activated.

Now that your font is activated, you will need to navigate to the Fonts section, find your font, and click it to apply it to the text or text box you have selected.

Now you are ready to use your newly, and easily, activated Adobe font!

Method 2: How to add Custom Fonts to Illustrator

When you just can’t find the right Adobe font, have found a free font that you like, or have created one yourself, it is practical to install that new font on your computer. My favorite free font website is, so that is what I will be using in the steps today.

Step 1: Locate a way to download a font that you like. 

For me, I will be choosing the font “Chocolate Donuts” from One thing to note when you are downloading free fonts, some do come with stipulations that they are only free for personal use, not for commercial use (paid for design work).

Step 2: Click the download button. Thankfully doesn’t make it complicated to download the free fonts. Several free font websites have you watch ads or make it confusing which button to push to get the font file, so be careful when downloading from the internet.

Step 3: After you click download, depending on how your computer settings are, it will download like normal. 

Currently, my settings have me choose where I want to download to and change the filename if I wish. With files like this that I won’t keep after I install, I often download to the downloads folder so that I can easily delete what I don’t need junking up my computer.

Step 4: Find the font you just downloaded on your computer.

For Windows computers, you will need to Extract All from the font zip folder. I do this by right-clicking the zip folder icon and then clicking Extract All.

Step 5: Now choose a location where you want the unzipped files to appear. I keep these in my downloads folder as well, because I will delete them later.

Lots of fonts will come with a Read Me/Info file, as well as the actual font file. It is good to make sure you are permitted to use the font in your design, etc.

This is what the Chocolate Donuts file looks like.

Step 6: Now we are ready to get our font installed. Sometimes you will get a zip file that has both an OpenType font file and a TrueType font file. If I have the choice, I will choose the OpenType font file because that is my preference. You want to right-click on the font file and choose Install.

The Install dialog box will appear and will quickly install your font.

Once the dialog box appears, it is time to try out your font! Head back to Adobe Illustrator, select your text, click the down arrow in the character panel in the control panel, and choose your newly installed font!

Have fun installing fonts!

What is the difference between OTF and TTF font files?

OTF stands for OpenType Font and TTF stands for TrueType Font. TTF depends solely on glyph tables (that define how each character looks) whereas OTF can use glyphs and CCF (Compact Font Format) tables. 

This allows OTF files to be smaller in size, better for cross-platform use, and better support for international character set, just to name a few. That’s not to say you can’t use TTF, but I will always pick OTF over TTF if both are available.

Final Thoughts

Fonts are such an important part of design.If you are interested in more of the study of text and type, definitely look more into Typography. Until then, know that Adobe offers a great selection right at your fingertips within Illustrator and a quick activation. Or you can find fonts on the internet and install them.

Have you tried activating an Adobe font in Illustrator? What website is your favorite for free fonts? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *