Recently, on my Ubuntu 18.04 I have noticed that at least on gnome-calculator and chromium browser the fonts are displayed as squares. I have followed instructions here and here, the calculator is fixed, but the problem on chromium still exists when I open a dialog to search for a file.

Not sure if this happens on other applications as well, I haven't checked all my apps, but File managers nemo and nautilus are working fine.

Also, before few months ago, I have included some windows fonts for my libre office shown here. I used the copy (cp) method, not the link (ln -s). But, was working fine until yesterday. Haven't done any major change or update, at least on my Linux partition (dual boot). But, I don't think that this has anything to do with that.

Any idea how can I fix this issue?

browse dialog.

  • 2
  • With this answer the calculator is fixed, but not chromium. Not sure if is only chromium or general issue. I haven't found any other app so far except those two. Also, I don't know what caused this.
    – ioaniatr
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 17:08
  • Following askubuntu.com/questions/841706/… I tried rm -rf ~/.cache/fontconfig; sudo fc-cache -r -v; chromium and it worked. Chromium gave the message [9572:1:0406/185207.504191:ERROR:child_process_sandbox_support_impl_linux.cc(79)] FontService unique font name matching request did not receive a response on startup. But then the next time I started it, it was broken again :(
    – unhammer
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 17:02
  • I just installed the regular version of chromium-browser shown here: askubuntu.com/questions/1075103/…. Regular version is working fine, but not the snap version. Firefox, Opera, Chrome are working fine as well. Does this has to do because was the snap version that I had installed? Can I fix the snap version?
    – ioaniatr
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 19:25

8 Answers 8


I found the solution, was more simple than I thought.

First, you need to update local cache as described here:

rm -rf ~/.cache/fontconfig 
sudo fc-cache -r -v

Then, you need to find fontconfig folder inside snap, since this is the snap version of chromium.

find ~/snap/chromium/ -name 'fontconfig'

Last, remove this folder inside .cache:

rm -rf ~/snap/chromium/common/.cache/fontconfig/

Afterwards, chromium will recreate this folder automatically by using your local updated fontconfig inside ~/.cache/fontconfig.

Restart chromium browser to take this effect.

  • 1
    Also works for Opera. Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 15:54
  • Worked with Opera, also had to remove (from my home): snap/opera/common/.cache/fontconfig snap/opera/115/.config/fontconfig snap/opera/114/.config/fontconfig
    – Fanta
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 7:38
  • Works for remmina as well. Replace "chromium" with "remmina" for all commands. Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 21:12
  • Fixed it for my Chromium Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 11:27
  • For Opera on Ubuntu 20.04 I also had to do: sudo rm -rf /var/snap/opera/common/fontconfig
    – Manuzziman
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 13:30

(The previous answer is the better but just a note for future readers)

Another way the problem described above happens is when ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini becomes corrupted. Make sure to delete any gtk-font-name and/or other incomplete lines from that file. Apparently, if GTK fails to parse it, you get the same problem as the screenshot shown above.


Deleting the fontconfig file inside the postman directory worked for me for Ubuntu 22.04:

rm -rf ./snap/postman/common/.cache/fontconfig
  • this worked for me
    – iamafasha
    Commented Mar 4 at 12:12

I still had the problem on 23.04 with Mate with Ferdium app. I deleted all 3 folders but still have squares instead of letters.

What worked for me was removing the snap package and installing the .deb archive.


I ran into this problem with some Snap Applications under Ubuntu 23.10, specifically MS Teams and Draw.io.

I ended up removing the following line from all files within ~/snap/*/current/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf (e.g. ~/snap/drawio/current/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf:

  <cachedir>/home/$(id -un)/.cache/fontconfig</cachedir>

Where $(id -un) needs to be substituted with your actual account name.

So if your name is some-ubunut-user you'd have to remove that line:


The reasoning here is, that Snap Applications get their own filesystem mountedcd sn and some folders are not readable for all applications, e.g. Draw.io may not access ~/.cache (as well as ~/.local). So it is possible that Applications try to use Fonts, that are not accessible for them. See e.g. Where can Ubuntu snaps write data?


To anyone still experiencing this issue after clearing and rebuilding the font cache, it's worth noting that incorrect permissions could also be a possible cause. Additionally - depending on your application and the content you're opening / reading - it could simply be a case of not having the correct font family / font pack installed for the source content.

To ensure your permissions are correct (related answer):

find /usr/share/fonts -iname '*.ttf' -type f -exec sudo chmod -v 644
find /usr/share/fonts -iname '*.otf' -type f -exec sudo chmod -v 644

Followed by cache refresh -

sudo fc-cache -r -v

As for font packs, it's usually a good idea to install distribution "recommended fonts" packages (most have such packs included in their package managers, and some come preinstalled, so google and distribution-specific docs will be your friend here.

These meta-packages include the most common fonts, and should take care of most compatibility requirements for everyday use. Check your package manager first, a cross-package (like recommended-fonts-ubuntu, or similar, may exist already).

Some examples:

I ran into this issue in ArchLinux, trying to keep my installation as lean as possible. I quickly learnt that, at least when it comes to fonts, installing a few packs with the more common fonts saves a lot of headache down the line - even if it means there a few redundant characters lying about your system :)

A combination of all of the above is what finally solved my problem.


I had the same issue with Brave browser installed on Ubuntu 24.04 LTS.
I had installed through 'Snap' and had the issues. I removed it through 'Snap' and installed it through the following commands.

sudo apt install curl
sudo curl -fsSLo /usr/share/keyrings/brave-browser-archive-keyring.gpg https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/brave-browser-archive-keyring.gpg
echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/brave-browser-archive-keyring.gpg] https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/ stable main"|sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install brave-browser

Started Brave browser now. Bingo - all seem perfect.
I guess the snap distro has some issues in 24.04.


I encountered the same issue with GitKraken on Ubuntu 24.04.

The straightforward solution is to install the .deb version.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .