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How to fix font issues in Sketch

Last updated on 25 Aug 2022
6 min read

This article lists the most common issues related to fonts reported by our community

If you can’t find the right answer or the problem persists, please contact us and include as many details as possible. If you choose to contact us, please consider sharing your Documents, as this will help find the cause of the font problems you are experiencing.

What causes missing fonts in Sketch Documents?

Sketch needs you to either have the font installed on your Mac or embedded in the document you are working with to display a document’s fonts Documents.

A missing font notification on the Mac app toolbar or in the Web app will display when you open an Artboard if those conditions are not met.

Missing font notification in the Mac app:

Missing font notification in the Mac app

Missing font notification on the Web app:

Missing font notification in the Web app

The Fonts tab in the Mac app’s Document Settings panel lists missing fonts:

Font panel listing missing local

Please note that fonts can be used in different settings that will produce different missing font scenarios:

  • Text layers and Symbols - if a font is used in a Text layer, but not embedded in a document, anyone else who opens the document but doesn’t have the font installed will see a missing font notification. The text can be part of a Symbol to.
  • Libraries - if an external library you use contains fonts which you do not have installed, your document will try to use the font through the components you add. Sketch will tell you the font is missing in a Library. You must embed the fonts in the Library file when this happens, not in your Sketch Document.
  • Text styles - a missing font can also come from a text style in your document or a library. If you have a missing font notification, check your library symbols and text styles for missing fonts.

How to fix missing fonts in your Sketch document

Fix missing fonts in Text layers and Symbols

You’ll need to have access to the font and install it on your Mac or ask the person who used it to embed it in the document if you don’t have access to the font files. If the font was embedded in the document, you’ll need to select it in the Document Settings panel:

  • Open the Document and embed the fonts by selecting File > Document Settings > Fonts
  • Click on the checkbox for each font you want to embed
  • Save and close the Document. The embedding won’t take effect until you save and close the Document.

Fix missing fonts from Libraries

You can easily tell a missing font is coming from a library because a message will display, “ Replace missing font in its Library, ” and the replace button will be disabled.

Missing library fonts where the replace button is

To replace the missing fonts in a Library, you’ll need edit permissions to the Library file.

  1. Open the Library file, and embed or replaced the fonts. Then save and close the file.
  2. Open the Document that uses the Library and update the Library when you see the notification

If you can’t replace the missing font in a Library, disconnect from the Library file.

  1. Sometimes your Library can contain symbols from Libraries that you no longer need or do not have permission to edit. If this is the case, you can disconnect the Library from your Document. Disconnecting will allow you to replace the missing fonts in the actual Document.
  2. You can use a plugin like Library Unlinker to disconnect the Library from the Document.
  3. Once the Library is disconnected, any Symbols from it will be local, and you can replace the fonts there.

Fix missing fonts in text styles

After searching your Library Layers and Symbols, if you haven’t found any fonts missing or that need embedding but you are still seeing a missing font notification, check the text styles.

At least one style is likely to use a font marked as missing or needing embedding. Once you’ve located the missing font, you can embed it or replace it. Remember to save and close the Document for the embedding to take effect.

Why can’t I replace a missing font in my document?

If you see that the Replace button is disabled (gray) in the Document Settings panel, the missing font is most likely coming from an external Library. You’ll need to replace or embed it in the Library. See the above question about Fix Missing fonts from libraries.

Why do variable fonts appear as missing when I have the font installed?

If you use variable fonts, you may have missed font notifications when using variable font options like dynamically changing the font-weight. Some issues need adjustments, and we’re aware of them. We’re working with Apple, as Sketch relies on macOS to support variable fonts.

The missing fonts won’t appear on all variable fonts since every type designer can ship typefaces with different settings. The best option to avoid the missing fonts notification is to stick to pre-defined, traditional font weights (light, regular, bold, etc.) instead of custom weights and styles.

What are duplicate fonts and how to fix them?

Duplicate fonts are present when two or more font weights of the same typeface are present in your Sketch Document. You can spot duplicate fonts when selecting a Text Layer and clicking the font dropdown; you’ll see two or more repeated font weights there, like in the image below:

An example of duplicate fonts

What causes duplicate fonts?

Installing static and variable versions of the same typeface

This commonly happens when working with a team: one person has installed the static version and someone else installed the variable version. The same font- weight was used in the Document and embedded, resulting in a duplicate font.

When installing different versions of the same typeface

Fonts are software and get updates, so there can be differences between font versions. If you or a colleague have different versions of one typeface used in Sketch Documents, it can produce duplicate fonts.

Having different versions of the same font can be hard to notice because the names are often the same or very much alike, but to your Mac, they are two different fonts, and you can start mixing them in your Documents and see them duplicated.

How to fix duplicate fonts

If fonts are embedded in your Documents

  • Open the Document and un-embed the fonts affected by duplicates.
  • Save and close the Document.
  • Quit Sketch. Sketch keeps fonts in memory until it is completely quit.
  • Check your locally installed fonts, and resolve any duplicates, like installed static and variable versions of the same typeface.
  • Embed the fonts again, save and close the Document.
  • Ensure everyone in your team has solved their local font installs to prevent future duplicates.

If duplicates come from different typeface versions

  • Check your local installation for different font versions.
  • Check with your team to identify the version of fonts you want to use.
  • Have everyone on your team install the same font version on their Macs.

How to prevent duplicate fonts

As we’ve seen, duplicate fonts are common when sharing files with colleagues or teammates. A general good practice is to agree on a process for installing, updating, and adding fonts.