Question about fonts and where they live

I am soon going to do a full-install of Windows 7. I have several fonts installed within my Windows Vista that I’d like to move onto an always-connected external drive where they can live forever.

So, anticipating this, I’ve already copied them to drive L (they’re currently on both C and L). Once I format C, they’ll be gone from there.

I assume my Microsoft Office programs - which will also be newly installed - will not know to look for my fonts on the L drive. I know Office will install many fonts into the C/fonts directory automatically.

My main question is this: How can I tell Office to install its fonts onto L? And how can I tell it to forevermore look to the L drive for all my fontal needs?

Or, should I just, once Office is installed, drag them all from L back to C? Why or why not?


You’ll click on the fonts and tell them to install. Then your system will install them where they need to be, and they’ll still exist in their original form on the L drive.

I guess I could have been more clear: I want the fonts on the L drive only. I want to know if I can tell Office to look for them there.


I believe what he’s saying is, you can’t.

In a bit more detail …

Windows itself manages all the fonts on the system. When Office is running, it just uses whatever fonts Windows happens to provide. As does every other program on your box, whether from Microsoft or somebody else. There is no ability for any program to look anywhere else to see fonts.

To be seen by Windows and therefore made available to other programs, a font must be installed by, well, installing it. Which places them in a special folder under the Windows install folder. As you point out, when Office installs itself, it also installs some fonts into Windows. Which are also available to all other non-Office programs.

If you want to keep additional copies of an un-installed font file elsewhere for backup, help yourself. But that’s all you’re doing. Given that a typical font file is about 1 ten-millionth the size of a typical hard drive, having two copies is hardly a meaningful waste of a precious resource.

Thanks, LSL; that makes perfect sense.