update-fonts-dir Man page

update-fonts-dir(8) System Manager’s Manual update-fonts-dir(8)


update-fonts-dir – compile fonts.dir files


update-fonts-dir [OPTION] directory …


update-fonts-dir creates a fonts.dir file in an X font directory by
invoking mkfontdir(1x) with the appropriate arguments. It is typically
invoked only from the post-installation and post-removal scripts of a
package containing fonts for the X Window System, but may be invoked at
any time to reconstruct fonts.dir files. For each directory, which is
simply the last component of its path (such as ‘75dpi’ or ‘misc’),
update-fonts-dir will generate either /usr/lib/X11/fonts/direc‐
tory/fonts.dir or /usr/share/fonts/X11/directory/fonts.dir from the
fonts.scale and font files found within it.

This enables multiple packages to provide names for fonts in the same
directory. No font package actually provides the fonts.dir file in the
X font directory itself, so there is no danger of overwriting one pack‐
age’s font names with those of another.

For instance, the two packages ‘xfonts-base’ (real) and ‘xfonts-nifty’
(hypothetical) may both install fonts into the directory
/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc, and update-fonts-dir will ensure that the
fonts.dir file in that directory contains information about the font
files provided by both packages.

The format of fonts.dir files is described in the mkfontdir(1x) manual

An example of how to use update-fonts-dir in package maintainer scripts
is provided in the Debian Policy Manual.


-h, –help displays a brief usage message and exits.

-7, –x11r7-layout switches the font layout to the one introduced in
X11R7: fonts in /usr/share/fonts/X11/directory (default is: fonts in

update-fonts-dir takes one or more X font directory names to operate on
as operands. Only the final path component of the directory name
should be specified; e.g.,
update-fonts-dir 75dpi
is correct, while ‘update-fonts-dir /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi’ and
‘update-fonts-dir /usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi’ are not.

indicates the width of the terminal device in character cells.
This value is used for formatting diagnostic messages. If not
set, the terminal is queried using stty to determine its
width. If that fails, a value of ‘80’ is assumed.

usage error: one or more font directories must be provided
update-fonts-dir was invoked without operands. Supply one or
more X font directory names to operate on.

usage error: unrecognized option
update-fonts-dir was invoked with an unrecognized option argu‐
ment. Use only the options documented in “OPTIONS”, above.

fatal error: path to X font directory must be used
A directory name was supplied that was not an X font directory
name. Supply X font directory names only.

warning: absolute path directory was provided
Usage of absolute paths is deprecated. Use only the final com‐
ponent of the X font directory name for directory.

warning: directory does not exist or is not a directory
The supplied directory was invalid. update-fonts-dir skipped

0 update-fonts-dir ran successfully.

1 update-fonts-dir experienced a fatal error; see the section on
diagnostic messages above.

2 update-fonts-dir was invoked with invalid arguments.


See the Debian Bug Tracking System ⟨http://bugs.debian.org/
xfonts-utils⟩. If you wish to report a bug in update-fonts-dir, please
see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1) com‐


update-fonts-dir was written by Branden Robinson.



Debian Project 2004-11-11 update-fonts-dir(8)