This might be an exceedingly silly question, but I can't seem to solve it anyway. I want to use GNU's Unifont in xterm, and with the purpose in mind I installed the package xfonts-unifont, but to no avail; I do know I am supposed to use the -fn option for bitmap fonts, and (probably) something like "xterm*font: 7x13" in the .Xresources file, but for that I need to know the NAME of the bitmap font. Using "Unifont" or "unifont" didn't help.

Can anyone please suggest me exactly what I should write in my .Xresources file to make xterm use the bitmap version of Unifont? I don't want to use ttfs, not for xterm anyway. Thanks in advance. By the way, I'm using Ubuntu Gnome 14.04.

2 Answers 2


First, I'd recommend using an xterm alternative instead of customizing it.

But since you asked, there is this utility called xfontsel (in the x11-utils package) that gives you the font names for font resources. In this case, the font name you are looking for is -gnu-unifont-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

You can test it on the command line using:

xterm -font '-gnu-unifont-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*'

So to answer your question, your .Xresources would contain this line

xterm*font: -gnu-unifont-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

and don't forget to reload it with xrdb -merge .Xresources

  • Thanks! What I got wrong the first time is a reboot is needed for xfontsel to take effect.
    – nos_feratu
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:31

I had the same problem. I never was able to find the name with * in it. However, when I placed the following in my ~/.Xresources:

xterm*faceName: Unifont:style=Regular
xterm*boldFaceName: Unifont:style=Regular

After that, at the main terminal, I ran

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources

After restarting the system (I don't know if that was necessary, but I did it), my xterm text was displayed in Unifont.

By the way, I was never able to get Unifont displayed when I used xterm*font. For example, it didn't work with xterm*font: unifont, xterm*font: Unifont, nor with xterm*font: Unifont:style=Regular. I don't see any -*-*-unifont-*-*-... when I run xterm -report-fonts.

I realize that you've accepted an answer that uses a different procedure from your accepted answer. I wasn't able to get things working with that answer, which might be because I did things wrong. I think that the actual reason might be that I installed the font using

$ cd /usr/share/fonts
$ mkdir -p unifont-fonts
$ cd unifont-fonts
$ wget -q https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/unifont/unifont-14.0.01/unifont-14.0.01.ttf

Then, to rebuild the font cache:

fc-cache -f -v

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