pfb & pfm fonts?

Advocation's picture

I have fairly recently switched from PC to Mac. Last night I tried to transfer a folder of fonts that I had on my pc over to my mac, but they are all in the format pfb and pfm..

I googled it and found out that I needed the program Adobe Type Manager Light, so I went and downloaded that, but it has come in a weird format that wont open.. (the full filename for it is "atm462.sit.hqx")..

Do you guys know what I need to do to get these fonts? From what I can gather, pfb and pfm are sort of zip formats.. Please correct me if i'm wrong!

Happy Christmas also!

marcox's picture

Advo, the short answer is that you won't be able to use those fonts on your Mac. PFB and PFM files combine to make Postscript fonts on the PC. That format isn't supported by Mac OSX.

You're not completely out of luck -- PC TrueType (.ttf) and OpenType (.otf) files should work on your Mac simply by dragging them into one of the many Font folders.

Lots of useful info on Mac fonts, including which types are supported (and which folders you can use to make fonts active)

.hqx is the extension for BinHex files, a format that turns files into ASCII for easier transmission on the internet.

.sit is the extension for StuffIt, a compression format that's popular on the Mac.

blank's picture

You’re not completely out of luck — PC TrueType (.ttf) and OpenType (.otf) files should work on your Mac simply by dragging them into one of the many Font folders.

Don't install many fonts this way! OS X can't deal well with a lot of fonts on its own before stability problems start popping up. Since it comes with hundreds (almost 500 in the newest factory-installs!) to begin with, it's important to use a font management tool to handle your fonts, Linotype's FontExplorer X is free, seems to be the most stable app out there, and has some useful cleanup tools for when fonts go bad. Stay away from ATM—it's old and being phased out, so when bad stuff happens with it you're just sort of screwed.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

You can use your pfb/pfm-fonts at least in Indesign on osX, if you install them to the Fonts-Folder in your Indesign-Folder.
Indesign should be able to use them, even if osX is not.

marcox's picture

Good call, Sebastian. I'd forgotten all about that.

Advocation's picture

awsum, thanks for the help guys :)

Its a shame that I cant use them in OSX..

Is there any way to use them in Photoshop or Illustrator? These are the apps that I use most often, Photoshop being the main one, so these would be the most usefull to have them in!!

William Berkson's picture

IIRC, the Adobe EULA allows to convert their fonts from PC to Mac format, which you can do using Transtype.

k.l.'s picture

Do you have the Creative Suite? Then putting your fonts into
Users / [your user folder] / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Fonts
or into
Library / Application Support / Adobe / Fonts
should make them available to all CS applications.

Advocation's picture

Thanks k.l - thats worked a treat!!

vandenb's picture


I have the same problem: switched to a mac and wanting to use a few pfm/pfb-fonts. I did what k.l. suggested, but no luck.

I'm running leopard, I have the CS3 master collection, and I tried putting my fonts in
Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts
and that didn't work, so I put them in
Users/vandenb/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts
(The last folder didn't exist, so I created it.)

I put the fonts in the Indesign font-folder and that worked, but, obviously, only for Indesign, and I really like them working for Fireworks...

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

marcox's picture

Vandenb, I think CS3 may have different preferred/special font locations than previous versions, based on this post in Thomas Phinney's blog (he's a font bigwig at Adobe):

"(One change we made in CS3 was to have the shared installer put the fonts in a standard system location instead of an Adobe-specific location.)"

You might check the Adobe online help or user forums for more info.

emilianovaldes's picture

Hi everyone,

I have CS and have tried placing both files (_CB_____.PFB and _C_____.PFM, for example) in the "Applications">"Adobe InDesign CS">"Fonts" folder and I still don't get the font in the drop-down menu in InDesign. Anyone any clues os to why this could be? I'm on OSX 10.5.2?

Thomas Phinney's picture

In the example you give, "CB_____.PFB and _C_____.PFM" you are describing a PFB for one font and a PFM for a different font. They should have identical file names except for the extension.

That aside, you have a more basic problem. The private Adobe fonts folder only enables fonts for applications that use the shared Adobe font engine. This includes InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and AfterEffects (among others), but Fireworks is not part of that group. At least, not in the CS3 version.

I don't know of any way, short of converting the font, to enable a Windows Type 1 font to work with Fireworks on Mac OS.



EK's picture

IIRC, the Adobe EULA allows to convert their fonts from PC to Mac format.

Amazing. Sad.

emilianovaldes's picture

Thanks for your comments.

The names are identical though, it was a typo, sorry. Thus the files are: _CB_____.PFB and _CB_____.PFM

I don't want to use the font in Fireworks but in InDesign which according to other entries on this thread is indeed possible when placed in the above mentioned folder. Though I don't get the font in ANY of the CS applications (not even in InDesign when both files are placed within its own fonts folder) and I was wondering if there's any other reason for which they might not (e. g. they have to be of a certain "version", etc.).

I'll look into the IIRC.

Thanks again,


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