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I've been improving with the Fontlab learning curve, and have encountered some issues/questions along the way. These questions might expose my inefficient amateur workflow, so I welcome any suggestions. Especially now, before I get too stuck in my wrong ways. Since I won't bother to bombard the board with multiple posts, I'll just list them out here:

  1. If I move the anchor of, let's say e, how can I get it to automatically update the positioning of é without deleting the glyph (slot still there, but cleared) and double-clicking it again? Also, when I try this with a character that doesn't exist in the current codepage, it deletes the entire glyph and I have to generate it. Any shortcut to that?

  2. Is there any way I can sort my glyphs so that scaron, scommaaccent, sacute, etc are next to each other?

  3. If I kern Nu, can I apply the kerning value automatically to Nú, Nù, Nû etc? If the answer's kerning classes, will I end up making a class for each base composite?

  4. With a few hundred glyphs, is there anyway to quickly check if all my contours are in the right direction?

  5. How come I must decompose each glyph and merge the contours before I generate a font? Why would anyone want to NOT merge/decompose? I'm curious.

  6. Is there an automatic centering feature? e.g. Placing an anchor exactly in the horizontal center of an O without checking with rulers each time.

  7. What does it mean when a glyph slot is bright red?

Hope that's not too overwhelming. Feel free to answer one or just some, I need all the help I can get. Thanks in advance!

I need to insert the Osage alphabet (currently under ballot) here, and I can, but when I do, it doesn't display properly, at least in Apple's Font Book.

Hi all,

I've looked through the FL manual but can't find anything mentioning a autotrace feature, but I was sure that FL had one, am I wrong

I bought a copy of FL's Scan font but I've never been able to get it work. I click the ScanFont icon then click the install button and then accept the license agreement, but then I always get an error window saying - "Installation interrupted - can't create destination folders' tree". I tried contacting FL about this matter but never got a proper response. I'm using a Mac OSX 10.3.9.

If anyone could help with the Scan font problem then I wouldn't need a autotrace in FL and that would be great.


hi, i tried to convert an macintosh truetype font using fontographer (mac) to pc TT.

i imported the font metrics, and generated the font file(s) (i used the same bmp sizes as in the original font).

at small sizes certain letters (a, e,...) looked jagged in freehand, and the kerning was wrong.

i saved the font as a mac version- same problem.
(in the printout, the "jagged" letters were gone, and the kerning was wrong at very small sizes only [< 7]).

please help me, i can

Hello Everyone,

I have a font which is slightly too light for laser printer use and I'm trying to darken it just a tad using FontLab's Transform Bold/Outline feature. Is it best to keep the same values for both horizontal weight and vertical weight or should I just do 1 or 2 units of horizontal and keep the vertical at 0? I'd like to preserve the original proportions as much as possible. Thanks for any help.


okay, maybe there's another forum that deals specificaly with OT development, but i haven't got hooked on it yet... so i'll post this one here untill i find a better place to post such questions.

so my trouble is this... i'm working on a blackletter that incorporates the long s into the design. what are the rules for using the long s? are they really hard and fast or were/are they up to the discression of the scribe/designer. if i understand correctly the only constant is that the small s is used at the end of words, which leads into my problem...

is the best way to incorporate the long s simply to
sub s by longs in the hlig feature? i've tried sub s' @classX by longs where classX is any letter and this seems to work fine, but when there are two s's at the end of a word this doesn't work as it ends in long s followed by an s and it just looks goofy.

anyhow, any help or suggestions would be helpful. thnx in advance.

Hi everyone!

I’ve always used mainly Macs--never had a PC at home--but recently I’ve been thinking about switching to a PC and to Windows (mainly because the hardware is so much cheaper and freely combinable and the support is easier to get).

So I’d like to ask this: which platform is really better for a typophile? I know that graphic designers have traditionally used Macs, but the focus there tends to be in images and color, not typography.

I do plan to do some photo scanning and image editing, but that’s basically as a hobby, at least for now. My planned focus is in book composition with InDesign and, as an auxiliary to this, font editing with FontLab Studio (so I’m neither a real type designer nor a font production kind of guy). I might also use Illustrator e.g. to draw graphs from imported data. (You can’t do that in FL--but are there better programs for this?).

One aspect of typography is text display on screen. Windows has ClearType, but I have the impression that it doesn’t affect the way InDesign and other Adobe apps display text. Am I right?

There seem to be differences in OS-level OpenType support as well, but how much does that really matter for InDesign/Illustrator composition?

Also, from my experience with Windows XP it seems that the look of that OS is more freely customizable (I dislike the unnecessarily complicated look of Tiger, where everything is transparent and shaded). If I remember correctly, you can change the font, and most importantly the font size, of menus etc. It seems stupid that you can’t use the full resolution of your display (OK, my current one is quite bad anyway) because you’d then be unable to read any text and symbols outside the document/image window itself.

Of course, the comparison might be a little difficult or unfair at the moment because Mac OS X Leopard hasn’t been released yet; on the Windows side, I’d presumably use Vista (which I haven’t even seen “live” yet).

(I also know that doing serious font production, you’d have to use both platforms, if only for testing. But as I said, that is not really my field.)

I may be a little naive here, but I don’t want to start another platform war. I would just like to hear rational arguments for and against each platform. As you can probably tell form the above, I’m not very tech-savvy myself, and I would therefore appreciate your insights.

I must also say that the switch doesn’t seem quite as real an option for me now as it did when I first thought about starting this thread. One reason is the difficulty of cross-platform software switches/upgrades. (FontLab for one said they could only offer me a 30% second-copy discount. I haven’t asked Adobe yet.) Another reason is simple familiarity; and then there is the virus situation, of course, as I’ve known all along … But my hardware (and thus platform) situation is basically still open--and I thought this would be a fun thread to start anyway, in an open-minded spirit!



I have been working for the past few months in Illustrator on a display family with lots of alternate glyphs and ligatures and would like to begin the process of creating a fully functioning OT font in FontLab 5.0.2. (on Mac X)

I have never used FontLab before and this business of a UPM value of 1000 throws me already off. The number 1000 seems such a unyielding beast regarding it's compatibility with other numbers. It cannot be cleanly divided by 3 to start with. Could I use 1080, for instance? (With the exception of 7, it is divisible by any number between 1 and 10 and by 12, 15, 18, etc.)

Or is s there a way to get around those rounding errors by choosing a number lower than 1000? In my case, the number 864 would allow all points in all weights to fall precisely on the grid. (the design has a few decorative elements, like seamless patterns for each weight, for instance, which I would like to remain seamless)

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated!


What is the status of the T and t comma (021A & 021B)
versus the T and t cedilla (0162 and 0163) for Romanian?

In the Latin Extended A Unicode Doc it mentions the comma
being "preferred" over the cedilla. Adobe seems to be going
with the comma. Has the cedilla version fallen out of use and
or been replaced?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

The best I can come up with is ordinals, but I can't find an common unicode naming convention for these particular chracters. Let's see, they're four glyphs comprised of two superior capital characters with a large undescore... and I still don't know how to name them.

Can someone help me include them into my typeface properly?


(I am refering to the black segments of the image--the gray is to show intended usage)

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For some reason FontExplorer X's AutoLoad keeps popping up in my System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items. Unfortenately this causes my Mac to hang during the startup process and forces me to start up in Safe Mode, remove the AutoLoad from the Login items and start up in normal mode again.
Even thought I disabled all auto-activation functionality in FontExplorer X's preferences the damned thing keeps showing up.

Any thoughts?



I am a web developer who is new to the technical world of fonts. I have been playing around with font-embedding on web pages and how they render on the variety of browsers and operating systems available. Two questions have been left unanswered in my research, and it was recommended to me by a member of your community to pose them here. Forgive their newbie-ish slant, but I have tried to find answers, and can't seem to find them.

1) I have noticed that some fonts (like Microsoft's Consolas) look *horrible* on a computer screen without any anti-aliasing technologies turned on. Is there some way to use FontForge to improve the hinting on these fonts so they look good when not anti-aliased? Consolas is a bad example since it is not a font that has a license to allow editing or remixing, but there are other fonts (like Graublau Web) where this happens as well. How easy is it to do this?

2) When converting fonts to one format to another using FontForge (e.g. .otf to .eot) the converted fonts have subtle (and sometime not so subtle) errors in them. I understand that this has to do with the spline algorithms the different formats use. Are there any tips you can give to somehow minimize the errors in conversion?

I would like to point out I am only looking at doing conversions for fonts in which the license allows font-embedding.

Thanks in advance,

Hello! I am a student studying type in a few of my classes.

I am an InDesign user. I find that it is way more user-friendly than Quark is, and it is more efficent to use all Adobe programs.

However, my school only uses Quark. In the past, I've been using InDesign in the developing stages, before doing the final work on Quark. Yes, that's how much I can't stand Quark!

As the workload is increasing (this is my junior year), it's getting to be too cumbersome to hop between the two programs.

Is there a way to export documents out of InDesign so Quark can open them? Or vice versa? I've tried to figure out a way, but unsuccessfully. I was wondering if anyone could shed light on this.


For those who still produce PostScript Type 1 fonts we made available as a free download a small utility that has been in use for many years now at the Dutch Type Library. DTL IconDropper is a drag & drop program that makes it very easy to change the icons, filetype and creator of PS Type 1 fonts. This can be done in batch by simply dropping multiple fonts on the program. DTL IconDropper can be downloaded from:

Something elegant.
The card will be embossed and UV spotted.
Kindly share your knowledge on sexy paper types

Dear readers,

I am trying to do metrics for my italic serif-face Canapé, but I'm stuck right at the beginning...

For upright designs, I usually would space the "o" symmetrically, assigning (for example) 40em/1000 on each side of it. For "n" I would do similar.
When testing the settings with "nnnnn" and "ooooo", this looks ok, and when typing "nonon", it's even as well. But not for italics obviously...

When doing the same thing here, the "nonon"-combination looks very uneven. It would only help to assign asymmetrical space on the "n" (i.e. 10 left, 50 right instead of 30 on both sides), shifting it into the right place, but this is not very practical. Even more, the "o" has to stay symmetrically spaced, otherwise the effect is cancelled. So this is very inconsistent and will lead to problems I assume.

Can anybody tell me how to do this right? At the moment I just don't get where the problem is...

Thanks for your help

I have a big problem with type 1 fonts and OS X 10.3.x (Panther). These are fonts I use already for a long time. I had modified them with Fontographer (Euro glyph added for example; changed some glyphs a little). The Fontographer generated fonts already had this problems (only with Panther, nbot before) and I bought FontLab some weeks ago with the hope to solve this problem ... but it doesn't work.

OK - what happens? The fonts look ok on the screen, but when printing on any postscript printer (I tried several ones - original postscript level 2 printers, harlequin level 3 imagesetter RIP and so on) - kerning/spacing is quite wrong; usually the lines get longer (word spacing is increased and at the same time charakter spacing seems to be decreased.
Even the same character pairs differ in different lines!!! Some are OK, some not (all "wrong" ones are wrong in the same way).

This happens with any software (I tried Freehand MX 11.02, Illustrator CS, InDesign CS, QuarkXPress 6.1 and so on), but only under Panther. With Jaguar, everything is OK!!!

And another strange thing: when making a PDF by distilling a PS-file with these fonts, everything is also OK and the PDF even prints correctly.

The only thing I didn't try is if it also happens with non-former-Fontographer-fonts.

And: the same font as TrueType also works, but looks horrible on screen, specially in small sizes (no TrueType hinting?).
I use now the TrueType version, but I would prefer the type 1 version because of the screen appearance. But I also want to know where this problem comes from - and I would like to be able to generate type 1 fonts which work also in Panther!

And I also tried a lot of different settings when generating the font from FontLab 4.6 - nothing helps. It is also not an issue of one Mac - I tried it on 3 different Macs - everywhere the same.

Has anyone an idea or is this a known problem with type 1 and panther? (I couldn't find a thread here with this probem.)

Hello. Total newbie here.

I've been making my own fonts for quite some time now using Font Creator Program (I hear groaning). One visitor to my site, a Mac user, downloaded my Tin Doghouse and Tin Birdhouse fonts, but found that the Mac versions lagged behind the current versions.

I've lost my contact for converting to Mac, so I'm stuck doing it myself. Fortunately, I do have complete access to a Mac, and the person I'm trying to help has a conversion program, TTConverter. The trouble is that things have gotten weird.

Photoshop doesn't seem to recognize the Italic version of the font at all. Outlook Express does recognize the font, but won't do "special characters". (He's from France, so he may mean accented characters.) InDesign works in a way:

"If i select a text yet typed and change the font to one of the tins, it works. But i can type anything, even spaces display always the same odd character. The special charcters function of InDesign works perfectly, but it's not very quick."

Anybody have any idea what's going on here?

The originals can be downloaded at:

I can post what I got when I tried converting to Mac if that would help.

Anyone know of a rounded corners python script for Fontlab, similar to Xtream Path for Illustrator?

I recently received an email from Filip inviting me to look at his intriguing online project.

Filip says:
"I have finally created the first public on-line version of the Diacritics project. Its aim is to build a free on-line database of knowledge and experience - how to design correct diacritics (what size, shape and position an accent should have). Text concerning the history, use, languages, and also some technical information is related to each diacritical mark. The project is on-line at

I would be very happy if you could check it and if you would like to edit the text, simply Register and Login - every page can be edited, corrected or enhanced with pictures by anyone (Wikipedia model)."

I think Filip has done a commendable job and thought many of you would like to see his work. Take a look at his site at

Chris Lozos

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I've recently learned how to use Fontlab Studio 5, and I also learned how to script ligatures. But I noticed Illustrator for example has more buttons in the type tool section: Standard Ligatures, Contextual Ligatures, Discretionary Ligatures, Swash, Stylistic Alternates, Titling Alternates, Ordinals and Fractions.

So out of that list, I only know how to script the standard ligatures. Does anyone know how to script the others, or do you know a source to learn about it? Most font families contain all the ligatures and swash letters as seperate fonts rather than putting it into a single font (OpenType). Is there a reason for doing this?

I'm a little bit confused and really don't know what happened the last two weeks.
I didn't open Fontlab since december 16th and yesterday i wanted to work again on a multiple master font which i created 2 months ago. Everything is working fine until the point where i want to adjust the kerning. When i change a figure in the kerning table, fontlag suddenly crashes.
This is just happening with MM-files, when i want to open a normal .vfb FontLab still works fine.

Does anyone know this Problem.

On my system there was just one change. The Installer wanted to update Java for Mac OsX.
I'm working with MaxOS 10.5.8.

I really don't know what happened the last two weeks.

A long time coming, Proxima has finally responded to the call for a solid font manager for Windows users, including auto-activation for Adobe InDesign CS2. I've only just downloaded the trial (it was released only a few days ago), but from what I've seen so far, it looks great, and the auto-activation is working without a hitch.

The interface is fully customizable, and the configuration I've put together has a pane for my source font files, a pane for my customized groups, a live sample of each font name, a full character map, font info pane, and a good sized pane for sample text (granted, I'm running a 1680x1050 display, so I have the necessary real estate for such a comprehensive workspace - screenshot attached).

But the real gravy is the auto-activation. Even better, a license is only $59US.

While I know Linotype will (maybe, eventually, some day) be releasing a version of FX for Windows (for free), quite frankly I'm tired of waiting, and if nothing else I want to support Proxima for getting there first, finally.

For full release details try the Proxima website.

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Hi, I am new to making fonts and would like some help to a few questions I have. Helping me clearing these up would be much appreciated. :)

The image below show what is supposed to be a sci-fi all caps font.

1) How do I set the EM/point size for the entire font?

I worry that by making one glyph taller or lower than the others, that it will override any default or even preset value. I am concerned that if I can't keep the point size consistent, that the edges then will become fuzzy on accident as the plines are shifted.

2) How can I make sure that the glyphs end up looking the best at they possibly can, without them looking inconsistent?

For example, with left side looking fuzzy on an all caps "i" character, but with right side looking sharp?

3) What are the basic requirement for finishing a font with FontForge, if only having completed drawing up all the glyphs?

I worry that by omitting something in the settings I accidentally have the font look bad, or even cause issues with usability.
For example, if typing text with my font in an image editor, when typing non-caps, the image editor switches fonts. Therefore I put some x glyph into those lower case letters in FontForge, to avoid having my image editing software switch fonts as I accidentally type stuff in non caps.