Ever tried to write music on your computer?  It’s damned near impossible unless you want to shell out big money (or big effort) to buy or use the appropriate software.

Sometimes, I just want to be able to insert an example of a quarter note (etc) in a handout, and for that, I really don’t need all Sibelius.  There has to be an easier answer right?  Well, if you are like me, your copy of Word doesn’t include free music notation fonts, but fear not, there are solutions available.

This website, for one, provides several free music fonts.  The best of the bunch, in my opinion, is the MusiQwik font, which is available for personal and commercial use.  I also tested out the dvmarticulations font and musicsync, but the DVM one didn’t work on my Mac (running OSX 10.6.8) and my copy of Word didn’t like MusicSync, although it works with some finagling.

Harvard band forming music notes on field, Har...
Harvard band forming music notes on field, Harvard vs. Brown (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

In case you don’t know how to install fonts on your computer (I didn’t), here are some instructions from about.com

How to install

For Mac users, it is exceptionally easy.  Just open the file (its a .zip file), go to the particular file that is a .ttf and open it.  A window will appear that asks you if you’d like to install it – click on Install.  Restart computer and voila, the font will be available in Word.  For you Windows users, I’m sorry, the process is more complicated and that’s about all I know about it.  Good luck!


  1. Hi,

    It’s really not that big a deal to install fonts on Windows systems. IN newer versions of Windows you just right click on the font name, and select “install” from the menu that appears, and you’re done.

    In older versions, you go the the “Control Panel” and click on the “Fonts Application” from the File menu, select “Install Font”. Browse to the font name, click on it, and click “OK”.

    That’s all there is to it.

    Dr H

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