As I understand we don't have the font Helvetica in Ubuntu. Is there any font that is very similar to it? How can I install it?


4 Answers 4


The PostScript language defines 35 core fonts in PostScript 2. Among them is the Helvetica family. A properly configured system should automatically substitute one of the following fonts, if available:

  • Microsoft commissioned a copy of Helvetica – The well-known Arial. (ttf-mscorefonts-installer)

  • Google commissioned the Croscore fonts, designed to be metrically compatible with Microsoft fonts. The Arial equivalent is Arimo. (fonts-croscore)

  • Red Hat commissioned a set of fonts designed to be metrically compatible with Microsoft fonts. The equivalent of Arial is Liberation Sans. (fonts-liberation2)

  • URW released open-source clones of the 35 Postscript fonts for ghostscript. The Helvetica equivalent is Nimbus Sans. The metrics are slightly different from Arial.

  • GUST TeX Gyre is based on the URW fonts. The Helvetica equivalent is TeX Gyre Heros. The metrics appear to have been adjusted to match Arial. (fonts-texgyre)

  • GNU FreeFont is based on the URW fonts, with the same metrics. The Helvetica equivalent is FreeSans. (fonts-freefont-ttf)


font samples


There are many Alternative Typefaces to Helvetica. Download one and install. For example, Coolvetica.

After downloading a .zip archive, extract it with an archive manager. You may then install fonts using the method Helio describes.


I use Arial:

enter image description here

See Install MS Truetype Fonts system-wide for all users for how to install it.


Try the font 'Phetsarath OT' (at least it shows up in Inkscape; not sure if it is a system-wide font).

LaTeX on Ubuntu advertises having Helvetica as an option, but they actually use the one I mentioned.

  • Phetsarath appears to be a font for the Lao language. Latin characters are likely pulled from the system fallback font.
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 21:52

You must log in to answer this question.

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