Detecting Element References»

An element reference is a linked copy of a contour element. It shares the same outlines, element guides and pins as the original, but can have its own unique transformations applied to it, as well as it own fill color, stroke color and stroke thickness. For instance, the element a can be used in the glyph a, and its references can be used in the glyphs adieresis, aacute and acaron. If you later change the outlines of the element a, the changes will be reflected in all the glyphs.

To view element references in the Glyph Window, turn on View > Show > Element References or use the View Panel. Element references and their links are shown like this:

When FontLab VI imports a font, it can detect identical elements and automatically build references. To detect element references during font import, go to Preferences > Open and New Fonts and turn on the Detect element references on import option. For large fonts, this process of detecting element references can be quite long; you can interrupt this process if you wish.

Element references can also be detected after the font has been imported. To detect element references in an open font, use the Font > Detect Element References menu command.

The Detect Element References operation analyzes every contour in the font and finds identical elements (separate contours or groups of contours). Identical elements get links and become referenced elements. The resulting glyphs become composite glyphs You can then open the Elements panel and name the referenced elements. Only named referenced elements appear in the Gallery panel, where they can be easily reused in other glyphs.

In addition or alternatively to this process, you can convert any composite glyph into an auto glyph. FontLab will replace the content of the glyph with new content generated according to predefined rules.