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

Author: Joel Mama

I own a Web development company in Portland, OR called Prise Design Group (PDG for short).

29 thoughts on “Using a Mac .dfont on Windows”

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

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

  12. 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,


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

  14. 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.


  15. @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.

  16. 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?

  17. @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.

  18. 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.

  19. @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.

  20. 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.

  21. @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!

  22. 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!

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

  24. 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.

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