Font > Generate Glyphs is used for creating new glyphs when any of the following situations apply:
- You want to add a glyph with a custom or arbitrary name.
- You have base Latin glyphs and diacritical marks (accents) and you want the quickly build the combined accented glyphs, and you want more control than is offered by Add Glyphs
- You have two (or more) base glyphs and you want to add a ligature that refers to them.
- You want to create a set of alternates (small caps or some other set of glyphs) for OpenType layout.
- You know the standard glyph name you need, and do not want to search for it in Codepages, Encodings, etc.
If you want to add glyphs that correspond to standard Unicode characters, especially if there are many of them, Add Glyphs may be the right option instead.
There are five tabs under Generate Glyphs: Characters, Ligature, Variants, Precomposed and Custom. The first four tabs work based on a selection in the Font Window or the Glyph Window. The Custom tab allows you to type or paste your own glyph generation recipes using a special syntax.
Selection-based glyph generation»
If you select glyphs or empty glyph cells in the Font Window, or if you select some glyphs or characters (including those that don’t exist in the font yet) in a Glyph Window, you can use Generate Glyphs to build a series of Unicode characters, a ligature, a series of glyph variants or a precomposed glyph. To use the selection-based glyph generation, before you invoke Generate Glyphs:
- If you’re in the Font Window, select some glyph cells in the Font Window. You can include empty (gray) glyph cells in your selection if you have a particular encoding or codepage active in the Font Window.
- If you’re in the Glyph Window, do one of the following:
When the Text tool is active in the Glyph Window, you can optionally select some portion of the text visible in the Glyph Window. If another tool is active, the entire text visible in the Glyph Window will be treated as the selection.
The glyphs or text that you have selected will be treated as the input selection for the Generate Glyphs dialog, and depending on the Generate Glyph tab, FontLab will use different methods to interpret the input selection. When you have a selection, choose Font > Generate Glyphs. Now you can use one of the four tabs in the Generate Glyphs dialog to choose the glyph generation method:
Characters: this method will treat the input selection as a string of Unicode characters, so for every character in your input selection, FontLab will try to generate a new glyph. This method is most useful if you have a pre-existing text that contains various Unicode characters, and you’ve pasted that text into the Glyph Window (remember, you can always select just a portion of the text using the Text tool before invoking Generate Glyphs). Using the Characters tab is a very easy method to generate all glyphs required to render a particular Unicode text. So if your input selection was the text
fön, FontLab will try to generate the glyphs
Ligature: this method will form a ligature. It will generate exactly one glyph which horizontally combines the glyphs from the input selection. The advance width of the resulting glyph will be the sum of the advance widths of the input selection. So if your input selection was the text
fön, FontLab will try to generate the glyph
f_odieresis_n. This method works sensibly if you type in some text in the Glyph Window and then select a few characters using the Text tool.
Variants: this method will generate a series of glyphs that are intended to be variants of the glyphs from the input selection. This method works well if you made your input selection in the Glyph Window or in the Font Window. For each selected glyph, FontLab VI will try to generate a new glyph with identical contents and metrics, but adding a suffix to each glyph’s name. You can specify the suffix in the left portion of the dialog. So if your input selection was the text
fön and you specify the suffix
ss01, FontLab will try to generate the glyphs
Precomposed: this method will generate exactly one glyph which overlays all glyphs from the input selection into one glyph. The advance width of the new glyph will be equal to the width of the first glyph from the input selection. This method will position the overlaid glyphs using Anchors if they are present in the source glyphs.
Custom glyph generation»
The last tab of the Generate Glyphs dialog, Custom, allows you to enter (type or paste) your own glyph generation recipes using a special syntax. If you just enter a glyphname, FontLab will look up its built-in glyph generation database and try to build the glyph from existing glyphs. You can also use the GlyphConstruction syntax to describe the glyph generation recipe.
With the Use legacy (FLS5) code checkbox enabled, the glyph generation syntax from FontLab Studio 5 is used:
[base glyph name] or
[composition recipe]=[result glyph name]
A composition recipe includes one or more base glyph names separated by commands. There are two commands used:
_ (underscore) – appends following glyph to the right.
f_l=fl, f_i=fi, c_t=ct
+ (plus) – appends following glyph as component of the composite glyph.
You may enter more than one name separated by a space or colon. For example:
In the composition recipe, the “+” command may be followed by one or two alignment commands:
^ align component to the uppercase position
~ do not move component vertically
< align component to the left of the base glyph
> align component to the right of the base glyph
| center component horizontally
Add the number after alignment commands to additionally shift the component. For example:
There are five checkbox options at left in the Generate Glyphs dialog:
Use anchors will make use of any Anchors you have created in the source glyphs to position them together. This is usually desirable, and is most commonly used for better positioning of diacritics (accent marks).
Link Elements will create the generated glyphs using References to the Elements in the original glyphs. This too is commonly used for accented glyphs, and sometimes for ligatures as long as no changes are needed to the elements.
Rebuild existing glyphs will cause FontLab to overwrite existing glyphs, if the new glyphs have the same names.
Use legacy (FLS5) code: when enabled, FontLab VI will interpret the glyph generation recipes written using the syntax that was used in the “Generate Glyphs” dialog of FontLab Studio 5. When disabled, FontLab VI will interpret the glyph generation recipes written using a syntax that is largely compatible with the GlyphConstruction syntax.
All masters vs Active master only: choose to generate the glyphs in all masters or only in the current master.
Flag new glyphs (at bottom left) allows you to color-code the cells for your newly-generated glyphs, so you can distinguish them more clearly/easily from others.