This is the first of the four easy steps of this guide. Your computer comes with limited or no support for Cyrillic languages and in this step you will install fonts that contain letters of Cyrillic alphabets (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, etc.) to be able to display and even type Cyrillic text.

Fonts recommended for download (this applies to all other recommended software on this site unless specified otherwise) from this page are free- or shareware. A number of links to commercial Cyrillic fonts are available. Don't forget to check the links to pages with additional information at the bottom of this page!

Mac OS X ships with a few fonts containing Cyrillic alphabet characters. Lucida is among those. These fonts conform to Apple Standard Cyrillic encoding.

Fonts installed in System 9 are automatically made available in Mac OS X, so if you upgraded to OS X from a "russified" System 9, your do not need to reinstall the fonts.

It is still useful to have fonts in other encodings in addition to Apple Standard Cyrillic. I use the "ER" series of fonts available from BRAMA Ukrainian Gateway. For example, here are links to download ER Univers in various encodings:

To install fonts in OS X, place individual font files into /Library/Fonts folder. If an application is running, you need to quit and relaunch it for the newly installed fonts to become available.

The remainder of this page as well as Step 2 is optional reading and is not required - you may peruse it for general and historic information. Proceed directly to Step 3.

System installer for Mac OS 9 allows you install Apple's Cyrillic support software (basically, a bundled Cyrillic Language Kit), which includes Apple Standard Cyrillic fonts and a Cyrillic script. You should be able to run the installer over the already-install System 9 and just add the Cyrillic support files. To install, do the following:
  • On your Mac OS 9 System CD, double click on "Mac OS Install" icon
  • Go through the usual steps in selecting the destination disk, agreeing to license terms, etc. until you get to the last screen before the installation begins (there are buttons "Customize", "Options...", "Go back" and "Start").
  • Click "Customize"
  • Scroll to the bottom of the list, check the box next to "Language Kits" and under pop-up menu on the right select "Customized installation..."
  • In the resulting window, check "Software for the Cyrillic languages" and click "OK"
  • Click "Start" and the installation will proceed

If you're interested in such font encodings as KOI8, CP1251, etc. in addition to Apple Standard Cyrillic, see above.

You will find more supporting information below, although the remainder of this page is optional reading and is not required. After completing Mac OS 9 Cyrillic support installation instructions, you do not need to install a separate script, and therefore can skip Step 2, proceeding directly to Step 3.

In this Step you'll be required to download and install 2 different standards of fonts on your Macintosh: KOI8 and Apple Standard Cyrillic.

KOI8 Fonts

KOI stands for "Kod Obmena Informatsii" or Code of Information Exchange. It is an 8-bit encoding (hence the name KOI8) which includes both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets and is used in Russia predominantly for communication purposes, such as e-mail, USENET, Internet publishing via WWW, Gopher, etc.

There are other standards of character encoding, both Latin and Cyrillic. For example, a standard used in the USA is called ASCII or American National Standard Code for Information Interchange; its most common form is 7-bit encoding which only contains characters of the Latin alphabet. Besides KOI8, there are at least three more methods of encoding Cyrillic text, and while surfing the Internet, you might see the names Apple Standard Cyrillic, Codepage 1251 (MS-Windows ANSI) and Codepage 866 (Alternative PC). Those encodings are more commonly used on Windows and DOS computers, respectively.

A KOI8 font is needed to be able to display KOI8 text; to be able to write in KOI8, an appropriate keyboard layout is also necessary. Among several KOI8 fonts available on the Internet, I would recommend either Dan Chirkov's KOI8-Terminal package or the ER (stands for English-Russian) series of fonts. Note - Dan Chirkov's package is referenced here for historical purposes since those fonts were the first Macintosh KOI8 fonts to become available and as a result probably have larger installed base than the recent ER series.

  1. Daniel Chirkov's package includes fonts (TrueType, Bitmap and Postscript) and a keyboard layout. This package can be found on many Internet sites dealing with Russia and the Russian language, as well as on Info-Mac.

    Download koi8v2.cpt.hqx file; decompress using StuffIt Expander and install it. Note: The file is currently not available. Please scroll down to the section of ER fonts for your KOI8 font needs. 6/10/98

    Since our goal in this step is to install the fonts, it is my recommendation that you install only one suitcase of fonts out of the whole package - it is called "KOI8-Terminal.suit" and can be found in the "TrueType" folder (see illustration above). If you need help with installing the fonts on your Macintosh, follow this link.

    Note: PostScript font KOI8Ter - a part of the package - is broken. I do not recommend installing it. If you do, you will not be able to print KOI8 text to a LaserwriTer printer.

  2. New! The ER Series of Cyrillic Fonts created by Gavin Helf are now available for both Macintosh and Windows operating systems; they were adapted for the Macintosh by Zenon M. Feszczak and L. Jake Jacobson . These fonts are available for the following Cyrillic codings: CP1251, CP866, KOI8, and Apple Standard Cyrillic (Macintosh); and they come in four font styles: Bukinist (a Times-face), Univers (a Helvetica-face), Kurier (a monospaced font) and Architect (a decorative font).

    Download the fonts from BRAMA Ukrainian Gateway at:

    Contributed by the infamous Max Pyziur of BRAMA Ukrainian Gateway server.

    Note: A problem with laser printers resulting in a PostScript error was reported with ER Architect font. Not having access to a laser printer, I can't confirm it. Thanks to Kat Tancock. 8/28/98

Apple Standard Cyrillic Fonts

This section provides instructions on downloading and installing Cyrillic fonts which are a part of Apple's Russian version of System 7.0.1. I am assuming that you're running System 7.x.x and higher. Instructions below are for TrueType fonts, if you're interested in PostScript versions, read these instructions.

  1. Download an image of Fonts 1. If you're having difficulties with this link, go to the mirrors page.
  2. Use StuffIt Expander to decompress the resulting image file.
  3. Use Disk Copy software from Apple to mount the disk image on your desktop by dragging Fonts 1.image file onto Disk Copy icon.
  4. Double-click the floppy icon to open it.
  5. Drag all the font suitcases on top of your closed System folder until it becomes highlighted, and release the mouse button.
  6. Confirm that you would indeed like to install some fonts.
  7. You're done.

ER Apple Standard Cyrillic fonts are also available, they have "Macintosh" in their name. Download these fonts from BRAMA Ukrainian Gateway at:

IMPORTANT - If your goal is to be able to ONLY DISPLAY Cyrillic (WWW Browser, for example) and you're NOT planning to TYPE in Russian (E-Mail, for example), you do not need to follow Steps 2 and 3 - go directly to Step 4 to continue.

Back to Main Page | Step 1 | Go to step 2

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