any font suggestions for a serif typeface that will display properly on desktop and iOS?

I’m using Scrivener on a MacBook and an iPad. Syncing works great except for fonts. So I bought Suitcase Fusion which enables me to install and use Open Type fonts on my iPad. I’m writing a book in Scrivener and have been using Bembo (serif) for the main type. I use a different display font for chapters. The chapter font displays on the iPad fine but Bembo doesn’t. Suitcase iOS tells me that Bembo is incompatible. OK, so not a big deal, I’m open to using a different font. But every single serif font I have tried to use on the iPad shows up as ‘incompatible with iOS’ in Suitcase.

Any suggestions for a serif typeface that will display on iPad?


I’m not familiar with Suitcase Fusion. The tools I use to work with fonts on my iOS devices are:

  • AnyFont, an iOS app which can install both OpenType fonts and TrueType fonts, and
  •, which I highly recommend both for its selection of free fonts and for its ability to directly install those fonts onto my iOS devices.

Using Fontsquirrel, I’ve installed several fonts on all my devices: my Mac and my iPhone and my iPad. I’m a monospaced font fan, so I have several choices for my writing font installed, as well as some output fonts. My current iOS suite includes Cousine, Ubuntu Mono, Cormorant, Latin Modern Roman, and Courier Prime. Both Cormorant and Latin Modern Roman are serif proportional fonts.

Good luck on your font quest!

It’s also worth mention that you can install fonts directly into Scrivener as well. You do not need third-party tools to expand available fonts. Try AirDropping the Bembo font to your device from the Mac, and open it with Scrivener.

Even when doing that, there are a some fonts here and there that have troubles cross-platform, on account of differences in how the two text engines address them. In some cases you may just have to experiment with a few alternatives before finding a font that you like that also works.

I do use It’s a great resource, as is Since I use Suitcase on desktop I’m going to stick with it on the iPad. But I made a discovery today that solved my problem. On the iPad Suitcase displays a lot of available fonts in Cyrillic so that made me think they wouldn’t display properly but they do. I’m now using Dead Font for headlines and Spectral for text and they both look great. Thanks for the reply.

Spectral Link
Death Font Link

Holy crap! I had no idea. Thanks for the tip!

I too do use Bembo as my “in-house font” on both my Mac and my iPad. Mine is Bembo MT Pro (OpenType).

I installed with AnyFont, because I do not only use it in Scrivener but also in other iPad apps. The installation went absolutely smoothly.

A clone of Bembo, only a better Clone!from scholars

The Cardo Font

4/20/11 Cardo 1.04, a major update, is now out. It includes:
§ All medieval charcters found in the MUFI Recommendation 3.0.
§ Many new characters for Roman epigraphy, including glyph variants accessible through OpenType features as well as the private use codepoints.
§ Retrograde glyphs for the Old Italic characters.
§ A completely rewritten manual and a revised InDesign test document.
§ The first Cardo bold ever; limited character set but functional for many things such as headings.

                 If you haven’t already done so, please check out my recent book Document Preparation for Classical Languages.  The PDF and paperback versions are not expensive and you might learn something useful about fonts and how to use them!  Information about the book is here.  You can download Cardo 1.04 as a zip file from this link.  The InDesign test file is available separately here.  Enjoy!

                 A couple of issues with the Hebrew characters have been brought to my attention by users (thank you!); they will be fixed in the next version.  The Cardo 1.04 zip includes only .ttf versions, not .otf.  In the future I may be able to provide .otf versions also.

4/16/11 Be careful of unauthorized versions of Cardo. I have learned that there are several font sites offering Cardo for download in versions not created or approved by me (in violation of the terms of the Open Font License). These versions offer a very reduced character set, including only the Basic Latin and Latin-1 Supplement ranges of Unicode, with no OpenType features. While I am not aware of anything harmful about these versions, they may confuse some people who have heard that Cardo contains a large glyph complement that is useful for scholars and/or supports high quality typography via OpenType. If these aspects of Cardo are important to you, be sure to get Cardo only from my site and pass this information along to your colleagues.

Text Box: abc2/25/11 The first version of an italic font to accompany Cardo roman is now available. It contains a very large number of Latin characters (only a small percentage of the medievalist characters from the MUFI recommendation are not yet done) plus the usual punctuation and numbers. Greek and the remaining Latin characters will follow as soon as I can. It also contains the following OpenType features: old style numerals, proportional numerals, standard ligatures, discretionary ligatures, historical forms, and historical ligatures.

                 I have tested this font on my system, but one never knows what will show up after a font makes its way out into the world.  So it might be best to regard this as an advanced beta version.  If something doesn’t work right for you, or if you see things that don’t look good, please let me know.  As with recent versions of Cardo roman, the italic is released under the Open Font License.

                 You can download Cardo italic from this link. 

                 This zip file contains two versions of Cardo italic.  Both are OpenType fonts; one has TrueType outlines (.ttf) and the other PostScript outlines (.otf).  Characters and OpenType features (ligatures, etc.) are the same in both.  On my Windows system the OTF has a better on-screen appearance, but this may vary depending on your monitor and graphics card.  Don't install both at once!  In the future I may distribute Cardo only as .otf font files, but I am interested in hearing if people need or prefer the .ttf format.

                 Future plans: after a long hiatus away from font development due to book writing projects, I have returned to devoting serious time to Cardo.  Once this italic font is out, I will finish a revision of the roman font, bringing it up to date with Unicode 6.0 and version 3.0 of the MUFI recommendation.  Look for this in March.  During the summer will come either an expanded italic with Greek and the remaining Latin characters, or the first release of Cardo bold; or, dīs maximē faventibus, both.

5/25/10 version .99 of Cardo is posted. This is mainly an update for the license information, as explained on the main page of this site, although a couple of small items are also fixed. The manual is still at version .98; ignore the license information contained in it.

Note: links to download the font are found at the bottom of this page, as is a more detailed update history.

Cardo is a large Unicode font specifically designed for the needs of classicists, Biblical scholars, medievalists, and linguists. Since it may be used to prepare materials for publication, it also contains features that are required for high-quality typography, such as ligatures, text figures (also known as old style numerals), true small capitals and a variety of punctuation and space characters. It may also be used to document and discuss the features of Unicode that are applicable to the these disciplines, as we work to help colleagues understand the value (and limitations) of Unicode.

Cardo is freely available (subject to the terms of use below). I do have one request: if you find Cardo useful, or if you have suggestions for improvement, please email me and tell me about what you are doing with the font. Knowing that people are using Cardo makes the time and effort I put into it worthwhile.

This font is my version of a typeface cut for the Renaissance printer Aldus Manutius and first used to print Pietro Bembo’s book De Aetna. This font has been revived in modern times under several names (Bembo, Aetna, Aldine 401). I chose it mainly because it is a classic book face, suitable for scholarship, and also because it is easier to get various diacritics sized and positioned for legibility with this design than with some others. I added a set of Greek characters designed to harmonize well on the page with the Roman letters as well as many other characters useful to scholars. The Hebrew characters are designed to match those used in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia as closely as possible and so have no claim to originality.

This is a large Unicode font.

For Windows, you need at least Windows 95 and a word processor that can handle Unicode-based documents: either Microsoft Word 97 or more recent, or OpenOffice 1.0 or greater. (For more information about OpenOffice, a full-featured, open-source suite comparable to Microsoft Office, click this link; note however that Open Office does not yet handle characters in the supplementary planes.) You will also need a way to enter the Unicode characters; either Word’s Insert/Symbol, a Unicode editor such as BabelPad (plain text only), or my own keyboard utility. If you want to use Hebrew in true right-to-left fashion, you must have Word 2000 or XP running under Windows 2000 or XP, or OpenOffice 3.2 or more recent.

On the Mac, you need OS X plus a Unicode-aware editor or keyboard utility. Mac Word 2004 and 2008 handle Unicode well; Word 2001 and Office X do not. OpenOffice for OS X works well with Unicode, although it does not yet have the standard Mac interface; you need to use the X11 windowing system. Mellel, a word processor for OS 10.2 or later, is very affordable and handles Unicode and RTL text nicely; it is also the first Mac word processor to support OpenType features. Recent versions of Nisus Writer are Unicode-based. You can also use Apple’s TextEdit (installed as part of a default OS X installation). If you are using an editor or word processor that is designed for Unicode, you can use the Unicode Hex entry method or the Extended Roman keyboard.

For Unix/Linux systems: As far as I know, Cardo works on any Linux system that supports Windows-style TrueType or OpenType fonts.

If you are not clear about what all this means, see my book about word processing issues for scholars, which provides a good introduction to Unicode and other font issues.

Correction: the URL for the home page of the Cardo font is .