For a specific task I want to select a decent font. For that I want to compare the text “E G PM” for all my installed fonts (or even more). Especially the bold face of a font (if it has any) will more likely match my requirements.

A quick visual viewing will probably sort 90% out already, so I was thinking of seeing a list of my string in the different font faces available on my system.

The font viewer/manager I tried are not up for the task. Which app could help me here or how can I quickly solve my problem otherwise?

The apps I tried are:

  • fontmatrix (binary from trusty sources installed on bionic)
    • version 0.6.0+svn20110930 (0.9.99)
    • a bug hinders your configured text to be shown (font name is always shown)
    • it does not show the bold face of a font in the list (just regular)
  • gnome-specimen (also from trusty)
    • you have to add each font face individually (2-3 clicks) to seem them
    • you see substituted fonts (if glyph is not in font) without being warned/told
  • fontypython crashes at startup
  • fontmanager.app is unusable in i3
  • gwaterfall
    • text is fixed to “Lazy dog...”
    • needs each font selected individually (4 clicks at least)
  • font-manager
    • has a great browse mode, but in that mode it doesn’t show your own text (only font name)
  • gnome-font-viewer can’t set text
  • typecatcher
    • custom text, yes
    • shows just regular type face for each font (i.e. not bold or others)
    • requires 1 click to see the font
    • doesn’t show system fonts(?), only a big selection of downloadables
  • Opcion
    • horrible user interface
    • doesn’t show bold type face (and others) in the list
  • FontViewer
    • makes fonts look ugly (doesn’t antialias or whatnot)
    • no list, no bold face
  • kfontview
    • doesn’t find system fonts itself (select font with “Open...” on a font file)
    • doesn’t do lists of fonts
  • FontBase
    • is the best one so far...
    • shows “google fonts” (so many; chances high to find something useable?)
    • adding /usr/share as font directory turns the program slow
    • shows custom text for all font faces; easy to scroll
    • (clicking the wrong button activates all fonts with no way to return to your selection from before → not a good mechanism to mark fonts for future reference)

2 Answers 2


There is gnome-terminal when you select Edit -> Profile Preferences -> Custom Font:

terminal fonts.png

However on my system it doesn't display the "E G PM" even though it head fakes you into thinking it will.

  • 2
    The gnome font selector... On my system gnome-terminal restricts the selection to mono space fonts. I found the same selector in gnome-tweaks (there are more examples). The sample string is applied to the sample string input box itself (only). Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 22:18
  • @RobertSiemer It certainly isn't the greatest display of fonts. But I like it better than LibreOffice Writer (another default application in Ubuntu) which I found surprisingly awkward. I think a nifty app would be to loop through every font family and print a sample sentence / string to your printer. Sometimes printed copies aren't faithful to what you see on the screen (WYSIWYG) Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 23:02

here below is a small macro for libreoffice which will ask you a sample sentence, and generate an exemple file with that sentence printed with all the fonts installed in your system, with the fonts name. Pretty usefull !

Just copy and run it as a macro in an empty LibreOffice Writer document. Regards.

'Copyright (C) 2003 Laurent Godard - adaptation légère P. Quaglia 2021
'[email protected]

'This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
'modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
'License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
'version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

'This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
'but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
'Lesser General Public License for more details.

'You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
'License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software
'Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA

Sub ListingPolicesSystem()

'**Sub Macro1 

phrase=InputBox("phrase de test :","Liste des polices","Voix ambiguë d'un cœur qui, au zéphyr, préfère les jattes de kiwis.") 

oCursor = oText.createTextCursor() 

'Liste des fontes 

Dim oToolkit As Object 
oToolkit = CreateUnoService("com.sun.star.awt.Toolkit") 
Dim oDevice as Variant 
oDevice = oToolkit.createScreenCompatibleDevice(0, 0) 
Dim oFontDescriptors As Variant 
oFontDescriptors = oDevice.FontDescriptors 
Dim oFontDescriptor As Object 

oCursor.string="Liste des polices installées sur le système"+chr(10)+chr(10)
for i= LBound(oFontDescriptors) to UBound(oFontDescriptors) 
    oCursor.string=cstr(i)+". "+oFontDescriptors(i).Name+"  : " 
next i 

End Sub 
  • I think this is a neat idea (and did not downvote), but it failed when I tried it - with an error BASIC runtime error. Property or method not found: getText.
    – davidgo
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 2:17
  • When I use Version: (X86_64) / LibreOffice Community Build ID: 60(Build:1) on Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic, the macro works perfectly (It took a while to process +1700 fonts but that seems to be expected).
    – Cie6ohpa
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 5:48

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