Any time I use Evince, it just shows boxes where all the text should be. Instead, it uses the box symbol which I know stands for not being able to find a character. This problem occurs on every menu, and makes it impossible to tell what's going on in any part of the application. I've tried Googling for this problem, but my -fu is weak or it's hard to search for.

Here's a screenshot

I'm pretty tech-literate, and I'm running a fairly stock 10.10 install with GNOME.

  • Did you install Ubuntu in english? What is the output of locale? (edit your post with the output) – djeikyb Feb 22 '11 at 6:52

“Sans” should be the default application font. So, go to - Preferences – Appearance – Fonts, changed the default menu font to "Sans"! - Hopefully it will fix it!

For further info, a walk-through is posted here...

  • Perfect. Thanks! This solves it perfectly. It's really odd that only certain application fonts work. Dejavu Sans, Bitstream, Liberation, etc, etc all seem to work fine. But the one font I use elsewhere - Aller - is totally borked in only that one application. – Philippe Fenderson Feb 22 '11 at 20:15
  • @Philipp - some fonts support an extensive charset, some don't - the unicode fonts support a bigger proportion of the different languages. – palbakulich Feb 23 '11 at 1:33
  • @PhilippeFenderson , would you accept this answer as it is the one that works for you. see askubuntu.com/help/someone-answers – user.dz Jan 26 '16 at 12:12

Generate a custom .font.conf file using this website: http://wenq.org/cloud/fcdesigner.html

You can drag and drop the different fonts to change their priority as the default for serif, sans serif and mono font. After you're done configuring click 'create' and copy and paste the configuration XML into $HOME/.fonts.conf (create the file if it does not exist).


This is old, I know, but I have been having a similar issue each time I update the font cache with my directory of extra fonts. After much trial and error, I found it was related to file ownership. I copied my font directory to /usr/local/share/fonts, which because it was done with sudo, made ownership root:root. Now I have text, not boxes.

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