How to Rebuild a Font Cache

If your fonts aren't appearing properly in your programs' font lists, or if fonts look garbled in your documents, you may need to rebuild your font cache. The font cache is a file or set of files used by your computer's operating system to manage and display the fonts that are installed on your computer. The font cache may become corrupted for a variety of reasons, including disk errors and viruses. You can repair a corrupted font cache by deleting it, causing the operating system to rebuild it on the next restart.

Successful female entrepreneur with a new business
credit: UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

Step

Press and hold the "Windows" key (located between the left "Ctrl" and "Alt" keys), then tap the "E" key to open Windows Explorer.

Step

Double-click on your local hard drive, where the operating system is installed in the left pane, then double-click to expand the "Windows" directory. Double-click on the "System32" folder.

Step

Right-click on "Fntcache.dat" in the right pane of the Windows Explorer window and choose "Delete." Click the "Yes" button to confirm the deletion.

Step

Close the Windows Explorer window and restart your computer.

Mac OS X

Step

Shut down the computer.

Step

Press the "Power" button. When you hear the start-up tone, immediately press and hold down the "Shift" key on the keyboard.

Step

Release the "Shift" key after the operating system logo and progress indicator bar have disappeared from the screen. This method allows the computer to perform a "safe boot," which automatically clears the font cache.

Step

Restart the computer normally.