Java Runtime Environment fonts

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Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki: Information on adding fonts and font recommendations Template:Article summary wiki: Font setup and beautification Template:Article summary wiki: Adding Microsoft fonts and mimicking Windows' font settings Template:Article summary wiki: The core X server font system Template:Article summary end

Some users may find the default Java fonts or the display mode of fonts in Java applications to be unpleasant. Several methods to improve the font display in the Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) are available. These methods may be used separately, but many users will find they achieve better results by combining them.

TrueType fonts appear to be the best supported format for use with Java.


Anti-aliasing of fonts is available with Oracle Java 1.6 on Linux. To do this on a per user basis, add the following line to the user's ~/.bashrc.

export _JAVA_OPTIONS='-Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=setting'


Replace setting with one of the following seven values:

  • off or false or default – No anti-aliasing
  • on – Full anti-aliasing
  • gasp – Use the font's built-in hinting instructions
  • lcd or lcd_hrgb – Anti-aliasing tuned for many popular LCD monitors
  • lcd_hbgr – Alternative LCD monitor setting
  • lcd_vrgb – Alternative LCD monitor setting
  • lcd_vbgr – Alternative LCD monitor setting

The gasp and lcd settings work well in many instances.

Optionally to use GTK look and feel, add the following line to .bashrc instead. Note that the Java options described above and this one only work for applications that draw their GUI in Java, like Jdownloader, and not for applications which utilize Java as backend only, like and Matlab.

export _JAVA_OPTIONS='' 

For the above change to take effect, ~/.bashrc must be sourced as the normal user.

$ source ~/.bashrc

Open a new instance of a Java application to test the changes made.

Font selection

TrueType fonts

Some Java applications may specify use of a particular TrueType font; these applications must be made aware of the directory path to the desired font. TrueType fonts are installed in the directory /usr/share/fonts/TTF. Add the following line to ~/.bashrc to enable these fonts.

export JAVA_FONTS=/usr/share/fonts/TTF

Source ~/.bashrc as the normal user for the change to take effect.

$ source ~/.bashrc

Default fonts

The Lucida fonts distributed with the Sun JRE are the default for Java applications that do not specify a different font's use. The Lucida fonts were designed for low resolution displays and printers; many users will wish to use other fonts. The default Java fonts can be changed on a system-wide basis by the creation or editing of a file named

As root, change directory to /opt/java/jre/lib. Copy to Then, as root, open the new in an editor.

# cd /opt/java/jre/lib
# cp
# nano
Note: Encodings other than Latin-1, or ISO-8859-1, are shown in other*.src files in /opt/java/jre/lib. Some users will find these files to be better sources to use for editing. In all cases the edited file should be saved as

The Java font names in the configuration file are in the form of, for example, serif.plain.latin-1. These generic fonts are mapped to the installed fonts using X logical font description (XLFD) names. The %d, in the example below, is used as a placeholder in the XLFD name for the point size. The Java application replaces %d at runtime.

Tip: The utility, xfontsel, may be used to display fonts and to discover their XLFD names. Xfontsel is part of the xorg-xfontsel package.

Change the Lucida fonts named in the file to your selected fonts using the XLFD names. Below is an excerpt of a file after modifications have been made. The Lucida fonts have been replaced by DejaVu fonts.

# Version -- a version number is required.
# IMPORTANT -- Do not delete the next line. Ever.

# Component Font Mappings
#       -fndry-fmly-wght-slant-sWdth-adstyle-pxlsz-ptSz-resx-resy-spc-avgWdth-rgstry-encdng

serif.plain.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-medium-r-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1
serif.bold.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-bold-r-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1
serif.italic.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-medium-o-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1

After the changes have been saved to, the editor may be closed and the user should drop root privileges. Open a new instance of a Java application to test the changes.