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?


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.


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


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 Jun 5 '19 at 21:52

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