Using a Mac .dfont on Windows

Update 2011-09-03: There appears to be a free GUI app available, DfontSplitter. And hey, it’s even cross-platform (Win & Mac)! I have no personal experience with it, so downloader beware. Thanks to Matt T. in the comments.

I was able to use a Mac OS X “.dfont” font file on windows by using a simple FOSS software to convert it into standard TrueType format (.ttf). The app is called Fondu. It’s actually a set of many command line programs rolled into one, but I only used the main fondu app. Couldn’t have been easier:

Update 2009-10-14: To clarify, these instructions are for Mac OS X. I do not have any info on running fondu from windows (if that is even possible. I suspect it isn’t). Perhaps windows users could run fondu on a linux virtual machine/box they have lying around? Maybe a linux live CD?

  1. Download & Install .pkg file
  2. From Terminal, cd into the directory where the .dfont file lives
  3. Run fondu MyFont.dfont
  4. Marvel as a .ttf font is spit out next to your .dfont file

Thanks Fondu!

Update 2009-05-22: Please note that the fondu binary lives in “/usr/local/bin/” by default. Either add this path to your environment, or prepend the path to the fondu command like this: /usr/local/bin/fondu MyFont.dfont


  1. youngi said,

    December 13, 2008 @ 4:31 am

    Great tip, I needed it for a real important issue.
    Thank you very much for the tip, worked nicely 🙂

  2. MacDork said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

    woot! I found you on google — this is just what i needed. I’m working on a PC at work now and wanted access to some fonts from home 😀

    Thanks, Joel — much appreciated.

  3. Tony said,

    April 4, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

    Hey isn’t that for Unix? I searched on Google for programs to convert Mac fonts to (Microsoft) Windows fonts and reached here. But the Fondu project page on SourceForge says it works on Unix.

  4. Joel Mama said,

    April 4, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    @Tony: Mac is Unix. So that explains how one runs Fondu on Mac 🙂 There’s a “Mac OS X Package” listed in the download area at Fondu:

    If you only have Windows available to you, you’ll need to find someone with a Mac or you could nab a copy of Ubuntu and run Fondu from there. Obviously this goes well beyond the scope of my blog post, but I wish you good luck on solving your font issue!

  5. Tony said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    @Joel Mama – I’ve found other software to run on Windows, and did OK on converting fonts. Anyway that’s really helpful of you, the Ubuntu is a good suggestion, thanks!

  6. Joel Mama said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    @Tony: Bravo! That’s great news. Please let us know what Windows software you ended up using. It may help another poor sole that stumbles upon this page with the same problem!

  7. Cynthia said,

    May 9, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

    I need to convert a couple of dfonts for use in Windows. I’ve downloaded Fondu, but I’m not used to using Terminal. I have placed LucidaGrande.dfont and Optima.dfont on my desktop. Can you please tell me exactly how to type the correct commands into Terminal? Thanks!!

  8. Joel Mama said,

    May 11, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

    @Cynthia: Here is a step-by-step list of what to do after you’ve installed Fondu:

    1. Launch Terminal from: Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
    2. When the terminal window appears, type cd Desktop/ then hit enter
    3. Now type fondu LucidiaGrande.dfont and hit enter
    4. A TTF font should now appear on your Desktop
  9. Cynthia said,

    May 12, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

    Thanks Joel. I’m having problems, though. I installed fondu successfully (at least according to the installer) and typed in the correct commands. This is what I get:

    Cynthias-PowerBook:~ Cynthia$ cd Desktop/
    Cynthias-PowerBook:~/Desktop Cynthia$ fondu LucidaGrande.dfont
    -bash: fondu: command not found

  10. Joel Mama said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

    @Cynthia: Try prepending /usr/local/bin/ to the command. So the entire command would look like this:
    /usr/local/bin/fondu LucidiaGrande.dfont

    I’ve updated my post to reflect the need for this path, thanks!

  11. Cynthia said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Perfect!! Worked like a charm. You’re a life-saver, Joel!

  12. Greg said,

    June 24, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

    Do you know what to do if I get the error “Can’t open temporary file for truetype output.”?

  13. Waynie G said,

    June 26, 2009 @ 4:38 am

    Just followed the steps and it worked great. Never thought i would be able to do it.

    Thanks for the help and all the best,


  14. Joel Mama said,

    July 1, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

    @Greg: Sorry Greg, I haven’t a clue. Fondu has worked error-free for me.

  15. Sam K said,

    July 2, 2009 @ 9:32 am

    Wow! Thank You sooo much! I have been wanting Zapfino for windows for the longest time! Thanks again!

  16. andrew said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

    I’m a command line retard. I followed the instructions above and resulted in a series of .bdf files on the desktop instead of .ttf?

    I’m trying to convert a AkzidenzGrotesk.dfont.


  17. Joel Mama said,

    July 14, 2009 @ 9:48 am

    @andrew: I’m far, far, (far!) from being a font expert, but some quick Googling shows that BDF is an Adobe “Glyph Bitmap Distribution Format“. Wikipedia says “BDF … is a file format for storing bitmap fonts.” Hmm, ok, now let’s read a little about bitmap fonts. Wikipedia says “Bitmap fonts are simply collections of raster images …”.

    Assuming that the fondu program knows what it’s doing, sounds like your original font is not a vector font, but a bitmap font. Wikipedia says: “TrueType glyphs are described with quadratic Bezier curves…” which in turn would exclude your bitmap font from being able to be converted into TTF format. Hope that helps.

  18. Breck said,

    August 4, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    I’m trying to convert the Futura font. I ran the command lines fine and came out with 4 truetype font files. When trying to install them via windows/control panel/fonts it tells me to contact my font vendor as there is an error. Copy protected?

  19. Joel Mama said,

    August 4, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    @Breck: I gave it a shot and experienced the same error as you. Strange that the TTFs seem to work on the Mac side. I don’t have an answer, but at least I offer another failure to corroborate yours! 😉 If you do figure out a solution, please come back and post it for future readers. Best of luck.

  20. Breck said,

    August 5, 2009 @ 7:40 am

    Thanks for the effort Joel Mama – I opened the TTF in notepad and got the developers website. Just emailed them asking for an extended font license/some kind of cheaper then purchasing the whole family help.

  21. Si said,

    August 6, 2009 @ 2:42 am

    Thanks for this! Wanted to use Monaco. Great fixed width font.

  22. Matt W. said,

    September 28, 2009 @ 10:43 am

    @Greg: I got this error when I was trying to convert a font in the System Library, after I moved the file to my desktop the command worked perfectly.

  23. Kelly said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

    Sorry, I have read and re-read this thread and I cannot tell, is there a way to convert this font (zapfino) from dfont to a font usable in windows? I only have the dfont file, I do not have access to a mac and the fondu site is not terribly helpful to this idiot. Any help is appreciated.

  24. Joel Mama said,

    October 15, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    @Kelly: fondu is a *nix-only application. This means it only runs on Mac OS X, linux, and unix. You could run fondu under linux if you have access to a linux box, linux virtual machine, or a linux live CD. To the best of my knowledge, you won’t be able to use fondu natively on windows 🙁 I’ve updated my post to clarify that this is a *nix-only program. Take care and good luck!

  25. Katy said,

    November 25, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

    I have been struggling on a project for school for weeks- I have Helvetica and a Mac and the school has neither! Going back and forth has been a pain… I just wanted to say thanks to Joel Mama- I had never used the Terminal before and your instructions were awesome!

  26. Ricardo said,

    January 7, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    You have saved my sanity! One of the perils of working cross-platform has been solved! Thank you Thank you Thank yoU!!

  27. Momo the Monster said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Just what I needed, thanks for the post!

  28. Skorry1 said,

    September 13, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    If you get the “can’t open temporary file” error, it’s because you are trying to open a suitcase with a space in the name. Make a copy of it and rename it.

  29. Matt T said,

    November 11, 2010 @ 7:49 am

    For anyone looking for converting on a windows platform use this:

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