Release Notes»

FontLab VI version 1.0.0.6530»

Note: We’ve changed the numbering system for the public preview builds slightly. The new version numbers follow the model major.minor.patch.build, so this one is called 1.0.0.6530.

Font Info»

  • Font and master switcher are moved to the top.
  • Master list is directly visible in the left-side section so you can easily switch between master-specific font info.
  • More clear distinction between font info that applies to all masters (Font Properties) and font info that applies to a specific master (Master Properties). Note that Master Properties contains Names > Family name and Family Dimensions > Units Per eM that both apply to the entire font. This is done so that the UI stays simple for single-master font handling.
  • Redesigned Names page with numeric entry for OS/2.usWeightClass.
  • In Family Dimensions page, font BBox top and bottom are included for your reference when you set the linespacing values.
  • Stems and Zones pages have new copy/paste buttons for easier transferring info between masters.
  • Experimental Other Values page with entries that control additional dimensions and font export aspects.
  • Creator and Legal pages improved.
  • Axes page has two buttons that enable or disable automatic master matching when variable fonts or instances are generated; if your masters are already perfectly compatible, disable both toggles.

Export Fonts»

  • The general export process has been vastly improved, including exporting instances into OTF and TTF.
  • Some new font export properties are now editable in File > Profiles, though not all of them actually have influence on the export process.

Window menu»

  • Window menu redesigned for more clarity
  • New Window > Workspaces section that allows you to create multiple “Workspaces”, i.e. arrangements of panels. Arrange your panels as you like them for a given task, then save a workspace. Then rearrange panels and save another workspace. Workspaces will appear in that menu. You can also manage your workspaces.

And many bugfixes and other improvements.

FontLab VI version 0.9.422 build 6522»

Drawing»

  • Preferences > Glyph Window > Quick measurement has a new setting everywhere which dynamically displays not just the stem thickness but also the distances in the whitespace when you move your mouse around in the Glyph Window (press Shift to constrain it). This is much faster than using the measurement line or the measuring guidelines!
  • Selection of overlapping nodes (that are on top of each other but belong to different segments or contours) is now easier: FontLab will intelligently select the right node if you “approach” it with the mouse pointer along segment to which it belongs.
  • Contour > Apply Rounding permanently rounds coordinates to integer values (useful after extensive rescaling or modifications). This functionality will be extended. The former Round Coordinates is now called Preview Rounding, since it’s exactly what it does: it stores the coordinates internally as fractions but dynamically rounds them to integers and previews the result. With Apply Rounding, you can make this rounding permanent.

Production»

  • Improvements in importing features from external files, adding OpenType classes dynamically to feature code and generating the kern feature.
  • Font Info now has alignment zones.
  • Font Info > Other Values includes the first implementation of additional font metadata.
  • The defaults in Preferences > Curve Conversion > …tolerance have been changed to 2.0. Please visit the Preferences section and click on the Reset buttons next to the fields if you want more precise conversion from PostScript to TrueType curves!

And many bugfixes and other improvements. We’re working on more extensive documentation.

FontLab VI version 0.9.411 build 6511»

Variations: Axes, Masters, Instances and Interpolation»

With the Font Variations workflow, you can create two or more master designs for your font, and derive additional fonts via linear interpolation between these masters, along design axes. These derived fonts are instances, and represent designs that are intermediates between the masters. For example, if you design a font master with a Light weight and a font master with a Bold weight, you could derive an instance that represents the Medium weight of that design.

Note: The Font Variations workflow supports only fonts where glyphs are made from monochrome editable PostScript or TrueType contours (and some editing tools only reasonably work with PostScript contours, not TrueType contours). Interpolation between color glyphs (made from editable contours) is also possible to some extent. SVG or bitmap glyphs are not supported.

Axis»

The typographic property that changes during interpolation represents a design axis. You can create as many axes as you wish, each representing the change of a different typographic property, for example weight, width, optical size, slant, serif size, contrast, ascender length and so on.

All these axes combined form the design space, an abstract, multi-dimensional space, on which every master has an axis location expressed by numerical axis coordinates, one per axis.

To edit, add and remove design axes, use File > Font Info… > Axes.

In FontLab VI, an axis has a name, a FontLab-internal two-letter code. Optionally, it also has a four-letter OpenType Variation axis tag used by the Variable OpenType font format.

An axis also has a “show/hide in the user interface of end-user apps” toggle that will be written into the Variable OpenType fonts (currently it’s not supported).

Each axis has its axis coordinate range that goes from from a minimum to a maximum value and has a default position. The axis coordinate range controls the range of the sliders and map in the Variations panel for the given axis (change it to allow for larger extrapolations).

Finally, an axis can also define axis instances, which will be discussed later.

Example axes would be:

  • weight, code wt, tag wght, min 1, max 1000, default 400
  • width, code wd, tag wdth, min 70, max 130, default 100

Note: FontLab VI allows you to define masters within the weight and width axes without explicitly declaring them in File > Font Info… > Axes. Declare them explicitly to control the axis coordinate range and define axis instances.

Instance»

An instance is a “snapshot” of the interpolation process at a chosen location within the design space. FontLab VI can generate a “static” (single-master) font from an instance.

To preview interpolation results, you can choose the current instance. This can be a arbitrary instance, if you drag the blue circle around the design space map in the Map mode of the Variations panel, of if you drag the axes sliders in the List mode of the panel. This can also be one of the predefined instances that you can choose from the Instances bottom tab of the List mode of the Variations panel.

To preview some text in the current instance:

  1. Open the Preview panel and click on the top-right button to open the panel’s content sidebar. In the Master dropdown, choose Instance. Then in the Content dropdown, choose what text you’d like to preview. Current displays the selected glyphs if the Font Window is active or the visible text in the Glyph Window if it is active. Custom displays the text that you type into the panel.
  2. Activate the Text tool in the Glyph Window, type any text and choose the instance in the Variations panel.

When you’re choosing a current instance, FontLab VI automatically refreshes the #instance layer for all glyphs. This is a read-only layer that contains the contours of the current instance.

By default, the #instance layer is set to be Service (which means that it doesn’t contribute to the exported final font, to the filled preview or to the interpolation as a master) and Wireframe (which means that whenever FontLab VI renders glyphs, you see the outlines instead of fills). You can change these properties and experiment with various settings in the Layers and Masters panel.

You can declare predefined instances in File > Font Info… > Instances. A predefined instance has a location in the design space (one numerical coordinate per axis). It also has some naming fields. A predefined instance is not a real font — it’s merely a “plan” to create a real font.

When you export a variable OpenType font, predefined instances are stored in the font as “named design space locations”. However, to the end-user, choosing a predefined instance of a variable font (in apps that support variable fonts, such as Adobe Illustrator CC 2018, Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, Apple Keynote or Apple Pages) feels very similar to choosing different styles in an extended font family.

Master»

A font master is a master that contains glyph designs (elements and contours) for all glyphs in a font, as well as advance widths, kerning and other data for that master. A font master represents a complete font for a given axis location, so an instance derived from the axis location of a font master would be identical to the font master itself.

A glyph master is an additional master that contains the design for a particular glyph at a axis location where a font master does not exist. Glyph masters can be used to correct interpolation results for particular glyphs, but they do not contain font-wide information such as kerning.

You need at least two masters for each axis. An example of a design space would be:

  • two axes, weight (abbreviated wt in FontLab VI) and width (wd)
  • four masters:

    • Thin Narrow, with the location wt=200,wd=75
    • Thin Wide, with the location wt=200,wd=120
    • Bold Narrow, with the location wt=700,wd=75
    • Bold Wide, with the location wt=700,wd=120

With such a design space, you could derive (choose) an instance at the location wt=500,wd=100 which would be then interpolated, and would represent a design with Medium weight and Normal width.

If you want to interpolate along an axis, you need at least two masters with different coordinates for that axis. FontLab Studio 5 allowed just two masters per axis (one for the minimal coordinate, one for the maximal coordinate) — and all instances would be interpolated between these extreme coordinates.

In FontLab VI, you may have more than two masters at different coordinates for any given axis. For example, you may choose to design three masters for your weight axis. The axis location of each of those masters would need a different coordinate for the wt axis: for example, your Thin master could have the location wt=200, your Medium master wt=500, and your Bold master wt=700.

If you then choose the Semilight instance to be derived at wt=300, that instance would be interpolated between the Thin and Medium masters in such a way that, design-wise, the instance would be at “⅓ visual distance” between the Thin and the Medium, because (300-200)/(500-200) = 1/3. If you then choose the Semibold instance to be derived at wt=600, the result would be visually half-way between the Medium and Bold master, because (600-500)/(700-500) = 1/2.

To create a font with multiple font masters from existing single-master fonts, open all single-master fonts in FontLab VI and do one of the following:

  • Open the Fonts panel, select all the fonts (using Shift or Alt) and use Font > Merge to Layers. FontLab will create a new font with multiple font masters.
  • Activate the font into which the font masters will be added (choose its Font Window or double-click it in the Fonts panel). This will be the font that will provide names, classes, features and other font-wide (or family-wide) data.

    • Choose Open File > Font Info….
    • Click on the + button on top.
    • Choose the single-master font which will be added as the font master into your font.
    • Repeat the previous step until you’ve added all the fonts as font masters.

Use the Master switcher on top of the Font Info dialog to switch between masters. You can also add new blank font masters or duplicate existing font masters there.

Once you have multiple font masters, assign a unique name to each font master using the Master name field in the Font Info > Names section.

Then, switch to the Font Info > Masters section to choose the default font master (which will be exported as the neutral master into a variable OpenType font), and set the location of each font master on the design space.

Note: FontLab VI currently only supports master at extrema locations of the design space (there, undefined kerning pairs will have the value 0), and simple intermediate masters (undefined kerning pairs will have the interpolated value). FontLab VI does not yet support master switching or intermediate masters with ranges.

You can use the Variations panel to:

  • Add a glyph master for the current glyph or for the selected glyphs, using the contours and location of the current instance. Use the + button. A glyph master encodes the axis location in the name, following the pattern :ax=val,ax=val,.... For example, a correctional master for the e glyph in the Semibold weight would be named :wt=600.
  • Create a font master or a standalone font using the contours and location of the current instance. Use the top-right button. If you choose Font in the flyout menu, a new font will be created from the current instance. You can then export that font.

If you have two or more masters on an axis, you may also extrapolate instances — for example, an instance with an Ultrablack weight could be derived from the design information encoded in your Medium and Bold masters. Edit the axis min/max range in Font Info > Axes to allow for a larger extrapolation range.

To temporarily exclude a font or glyph master from the interpolation process, toggle its Service property in the Layers and Masters panel.

More information about variations»

  1. Watch the videos by Erik van Blokland, Bob Taylor, OpenType working group, Laurence Penney and Adam Twardoch to get an overview of the concept behind variable fonts: axes, masters, instances and interpolation. The video by Thomas Phinney about multiple master support in FontLab Studio 5 also is a useful starting point.

  2. Read the OpenType Font Variations online brochure by The Font Bureau and the posts by John Hudson, Richard Rutter, Tim Brown and Dan Rhatigan for more context.

  3. Consult the Adobe Multiple Master and the OpenType Font Variations documentation for technical details and design recommendations.

Exporting Fonts»

In this build, we have revamped the font export functionality.

  • We removed the Export button in the Fonts panel.
  • We replaced the File > Export Font As submenu with a dedicated dialog box.

Font export is a process that transforms your current source font into one or more target fonts. The current source font is the font that you’re working on in FontLab VI, that is, the font that is currently open and active — either its Font Window or Glyph Window is active, or it is active in the Fonts panel.

To export the current source font, choose File > Export Font As…. This will open the Export Font dialog box, where you can choose the export settings: the profile (the “how”), the content (the “what”) and the destination (the “where”) of the export, and then export the font.

To quickly export the current source font again with the previously chosen export settings, choose File > Export Font. Even if you switch to another source font or open another font, you can still export that source font with the previously chosen export settings using File > Export Font.

Profiles (the “how”)»

FontLab VI has the concept of export profiles. By choosing a profile, you decide how the source font will be transformed into the target font: you decide on the target font format (which can be a save format such as VFC, a development format such as UFO, or a final format such as OTF), and you control some operations that FontLab VI will perform on the way, for example outline conversion, generation of hinting or OpenType Layout tables.

The left-side portion of the Export Font dialog box lists the visible export profiles. Here, you can choose the current profile which will be used for the export. For example, when you want to get TrueType-flavored OpenType (.ttf) fonts, choose the OpenType TT profile.

Customizing profiles»

Note: This functionality isn’t fully implemented yet.

You can add customized variants of the export profiles in the File > Profiles… dialog box. In the Profiles dialog box, you can:

  • Click on a profile in the left-side list to choose the current profile. The right-side area will display the profile settings associated with the chosen profile (Note: the profile settings in this build are temporary and not editable; we plan to improve this in the upcoming builds).
  • Click on the + button to make a customized copy of the chosen profile and modify its settings (which will be useful once we make the profile settings editable). To remove a customized profile, click on the button.
  • Enable and disable the toggle box on the left side of each profile. When the toggle box is enabled, the profile will appear in the list of profiles that are available in the Export Font dialog. Then the toggle box is disabled, the profile will not appear in the list. (Note: This isn’t very useful at the moment, but will be useful once we make the profile settings editable — then, you’ll be able to create a number of customized export profiles in the Profiles dialog box, and only see the ones you’re interested in in the Export Font dialog box.)

Font content (the “what”)»

Your source font may have different kinds of font content that you may wish to use when exporting, especially if you work with multiple masters or color fonts — different layers, masters and predefined instances.

Some export profiles are “multi-font” profiles. These include profiles for the FontLab VI native save formats that store the entire source font (.vfc and .vfj), and profiles that store multiple masters and instances in one file (such as the OpenType Variations profile) or package (the DesignSpace + UFO profile). FontLab VI automatically chooses the optimal content for multi-font profiles.

Other font profiles are “single-font” profiles. They are used to export “static” fonts, where each single font represents a single style of a font family. Examples of single-font profiles are: OpenType TT (.ttf), OpenType PS (.otf), UFO Package (.ufo), PostScript Type 1 (.pfb), FontLab Classic (.vfb), and the Web font profiles.

When exporting into single-font profiles, you need to decide what (which font content) should be written into the target fonts. In the top-right portion of the Export Font dialog box, you can choose which content of the current source font will be exported:

  • Current layer
  • Instances
  • Masters

Current layer»

If you choose Current layer as the font content, FontLab VI will export the currently active master or layer of your source font.

  • If your source font is a “single-master design”, that is, if you only have one monochrome outline drawing per glyph and your source font is not a variable or multiple-master font design, you should always choose Current layer.
  • If your font is a color font design, you should choose Current layer.

You may also choose Current layer if your source font has multiple masters or layers. However, before you invoke File > Export Font As…:

  • Choose the current master or layer by using the Layers and Masters panel, the master selector in the top context bar of the active window, or the Masters bottom tab of the List mode of the Variations panel.
  • Or choose the current master or layer by clicking on the appropriate orange rhombus in the Map mode of the Variations panel.
  • Or choose the #instance layer in the Layers and Masters panel (though this method is not recommended).

Note: If your source font has multiple masters or layers:

  • If you’d like to choose a arbitrary instance via extrapolation, open File > Font Info… > Axes and modify the Minimum and Maximum values per each axis. Those values control the range of the axes map and sliders in the Variations panel.
  • If you’re choosing an instance as your Current layer, FontLab VI will attempt to generate the instance via interpolation, and will automatically generate the font names based on a “best guess”. You may want to open the exported font in FontLab VI or OTMaster to customize the font names and review the interpolation results.

Instances»

If your source font has multiple masters, and your masters are interpolable, you will most likely want to choose Instances as the font content. Exporting the Instances content allows you to quickly generate fonts for an entire font family in one step.

The Instances list shows all predefined instances that you have defined in File > Font Info… > Instances. Use the left-side toggles to enable the predefined instances you wish to export (filled toggle), or disable some (unfilled toggle). All enabled instances will be generated via interpolation, and then exported as separate fonts.

Before you invoke File > Export Font As…, you can edit your predefined instances in File > Font Info… > Instances.

Masters»

If your source font has multiple masters, you can choose Masters as the font content.

The Masters list will show all the font masters that you have defined in File > Font Info… > Masters. Use the left-side toggles to enable the font masters you wish to export (filled toggle), or disable some (unfilled toggle). All enabled masters will be exported as separate fonts.

Before you invoke File > Export Font As…, you can define your masters in File > Font Info… > Masters, then use the Master switcher on top of the Font Info dialog box to fill in the appropriate information.

The masters in your source font don’t have to be interpolable. You may work using multiple masters in one source font when you design multiple styles for a family, but you do not intend to interpolate them. Then, exporting the Masters content allows you to quickly generate fonts for your entire font family in one step.

Exporting the Masters content is also useful if you’re creating files in a development formats such as UFO Package (.ufo) or FontLab Classic (.vfb), or if you’re exporting masters in .ttf format but intend to perform interpolation or build a variable font using some other tool.

Destination (the “where”)»

In the lower-right portion of the Export Font dialog, you can choose the destination that is, decide where the target fonts will be written. The destination consists of a base folder and optional subfolders.

Pick Source if you with to export your fonts into the same base folder as your current source font is saved in, or pick Folder and Choose a custom base folder where your fonts will be exported.

You can also enable the Family and/or Profile checkboxes to create a subfolder structure inside the base destination folder, based on the Family name of the source font as defined in File > Font Info… > Names, and the name of the chosen export profile. These options can help you organize your exported fonts.

FontLab VI will automatically construct the filenames of the exported fonts based on “best guesses”. You can use the Existing font files dropdown to decide what should happen if files with the same filename already exist in the destination folders.

Once you’ve chosen your export settings (profile, content and destination), click on Export and FontLab VI will generate the target font files. To quickly export the same or another source font with the same export settings, choose File > Export Font.

FontLab VI version 0.9.384 build 6484»

Variation supports greatly expanded»

  • Font Info
    • the functionality of Font Info is greatly improved though the design is not yet final
    • switch fonts (bottom) and masters (top)
    • bold sections of Font Info are per font, non-bold are per master
    • copyright section has embedding controls
  • New handling of masters
    • Font masters are now much more explicit and slightly different from normal layers
    • The layer names mm.XXXX are no longer used to encode the axis location of the master
    • For font-wide masters that include glyph designs for the entire glyph set:
      • add a master in Font Info (top bar +) with ability to fill added masters with content of other open fonts
      • give the master any name you want (in Font Info > Names), e.g. Semibold
      • specify the axis location in Font Info > Masters (e.g. wt=132)
    • For per-glyph masters:
      • create a layer in the Layer panel named like Semibold:wt=132
  • New handling of axes and instances
    • In Font Info > Axes:
      • add, remove and modify axes
      • define their names, min and max values (that affect how sliders work in Variations panel) the short code (used internally by FLVI) and the OpenType axis tag
    • axes need to be defined explicitly if you want interpolation to work — except width and weight, which are implicit but can be made explicit if defined by the user
    • Axes Instances: predefined coordinates along each axis which can be used to build the contents of the OpenType STAT table and to build a matrix of instances
    • new Instances section which can build instance data from both Masters and Axes (the ordering of the axes in Axes section influences the order of building style names)
    • more info on this soon
  • Variation panel
    • snap sliders to Axes Instances
    • snap map to masters for easier navigation
    • customizable start and end “play” regions on sliders
    • Play button for dynamic (animated) previewing of interpolation
    • buttons to control automatic sorting of contours (also optimizes location of the start point) and check of geometrical compatibility.

Other»

  • Fill tool works with TT curves
  • Import Metrics has new dialog box
  • File > Export supports metrics and features
  • Generate Glyphs improved
  • Round and Sharp actions have been improved to selectively process “inner” and “outer” contours.
  • new Contour > Add Inktraps action which will add inktraps using smart corners (so they are editable).
  • new parameter in Font Info > Font dimensions which controls width of smart corner inktraps.

More detailed release notes will be soon available on forum.fontlab.com

FontLab VI version 0.9.321 build 6434»

Known issues»

We are working on these, but thought we should deliver a new build despite a few new issues.

  • When you enter a single-digit value into any Metrics field by hand (0 to 9), it will be interpreted as “copy the metric value from glyph /one” etc. This is a bug that we’ll address soon. At this point, please use the arrow keys with modifiers (CmdLeft, CmdRight, ++Alt+Left, AltRight) to set the LSB, RSB (left and right sidebearings) or Width into your desired value.
  • The Metrics table sometimes does not update its values correctly.
  • The Preference Spacing > Automatically update linked metrics does not always work for complex expressions. Please update metric linking manually via Font > Update Metrics (AltCmdM).

Improvements»

Drawing Glyphs»

  • Alt+drag on a segment (non-node) temporarily overrides “fixed BCP direction”.
  • Alt+click on a Line segment converts it to “proportional” Curve segment.

User Interface»

Windows, tabs and panels behavior»

The setting Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration controls whether new FontLab VI windows open as: (a) floating windows; (2) docked tabs within the main window. In this build, we’ve also made some changes so this setting controls where you can dock your FontLab VI panels.

The setting has three options:

  • All fonts and glyphs open in tabs
  • Fonts open in windows, glyphs open in tabs
  • Fonts and glyphs open in windows

We’ll call the first setting the “single-window UI model”, while the other two are “multiple-window UI models”.

Starting with this build:

  • In the multiple-window UI models (second and third option of Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration), you can dock panels (and the toolbar) only to the **edges of the screen.

  • In the single-window UI model (first option of Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration), you can dock the panels (and the toolbar) to the edges of the screen (outside the app window) or to the edges of the window (inside the app window).

Multiple-window UI models»

In the multiple-window UI models, each Font Window or even each Glyph Window by default becomes a floating window. You can have many overlapping windows on your screen, and docking panels inside one of the windows wouldn’t be practical, because those panels might not be accessible if you work in a different window. You can dock the panels to the edge of the screen(s).

You can resize the windows independently of each other, close them, move them to different monitors — the toolbar and the panels will stick to the positions you assign to them. Of course you can stack (dock) the panels vertically and horizontally, or group them into panel groups (tabbed panels), or make the panels floating. In the multiple-window UI models, you can still turn windows into tabs, but by default, they’re floating windows.

Single-window UI model»

In the single-window UI model, all Font and Glyph Windows automatically open as new tabs within the main window. You can undock any of them and turn it into a floating window, that you could, for example, move to a second screen — but as a rule, you’ll most likely have one main window that has most of the tabs, and perhaps a handful of extra floating windows. Because we do have a “main window” here, FontLab VI allows you to also dock any panels or the toolbar inside a window. This way, when you resize or move the window, the panels follow. But it’s also possible to dock some panels to the edge of the screen, or on another screen, where they will stay even if you resize or move the main window.

When panels are docked to the edges of the window and FontLab VI starts with no fonts open, there needs to be a window where the panels can be docked — so in this build, the single-window UI model requires the Sketchboard to be open, so if this UI model is chosen, you cannot disable the setting Preferences > General > Open Sketchboard on startup.

Variations»

Variations refers to the same kinds of axis-based design that was referred to as “Multiple Master” in FontLab Studio 5. OpenType Variations export is not yet implemented, and this area is still under development, although well underway.

Switching Masters»

  • Alt, (Glyph > Previous Layer) and Alt. (Glyph > Next Layer) now also work in the Font Window

  • You can switch between Masters quickly in the Font or Glyph Window using the Alt1 to Alt9 keyboard shortcuts (Alt1 activates the 1st Master, Alt2 the 2nd and so on).

Improved Master Matching»

With the recently introduced Glyph > Match Masters, you can automatically make different masters compatible for interpolation. In this build, we’ve greatly improved the automatic masters matching algorithm, especially for glyphs that consist of multiple contours.

Spacing and Kerning»

The advance width visual indicators (horizontal bars below the glyphs) are now less prominent in Kerning mode, so you can see the kerning indicators more clearly.

Metrics linking»

FontLab VI allows you to link glyph metrics. You can use simple expressions, so you can do things such as make the right sidebearing (RSB) of “p” the same as the RSB of “o.” You can also use complex expressions, so you can do things such as define the LSB of a glyph to be the average of the LSB of “n” and the LSB of “o”.

NOTE: See beginning of these release notes for some bugs in metrics linking. We hope to have these ironed out shortly!

In this build, we’ve improved Metrics linking. Here is a summary of the expressions that can be used for Metrics linking. The LSB, RSB and Width fields support the following entries:

Direct numeric input»
  • Negative or positive integer number. Such an expression is immediately converted into a direct result. Example: -20, 20.
  • Negative or positive fractional number. Such an expression is immediately converted into a direct result (and rounded). Example: -20.3, 21.753.
Simple expressions»
  • Two or more numbers concatenated with characters for the basic arithmetic operations (+ for addition, - for subtraction, * for multiplication, / for division), and optionally parantheses (( and )). Such an expression is kept as expression, and its result is calculated. Example: 20*(3+7).
  • Glyph name or Unicode character. Such an expression links the metric field of the current glyph to the corresponding field of the glyph that the name or character refers to. Example: N or two or Ж.
  • Glyph name or Unicode character followed by + (for addition) or (-) for subtraction, followed by a number. Such an expression links the metric field of the current glyph to the corresponding field of the glyph that the name or character refers to, plus or minus the numerical value that follows the mathematical sign. Note: * or / don’t work this way. Example: N+10 or two+7 or Ж-21.
Metrics binding»
  • The equal sign (=) followed by a positive or negative number in the LSB field binds the LSB, i.e. when you modify the contours of the glyph, the glyph will be shifted so that the LSB remains constant as defined. Example: =20.
  • The equal sign (=) followed by a positive or negative number in the RSB field binds the RSB, i.e. when you modify the contours of the glyph, the advance width will be adjusted so that the RSB remains constant as defined. Example: =-23.72.
  • The equal sign (=) followed by a positive or negative number in the Width field binds the Width, i.e. the Width will remain constant as defined even if you try to modify it using the spacing controls. Example: =651.

Note: Obviously binding two sidebearings as well as the advance width might yield unpredictable results.

Complex expressions»

Complex expressions start with the equal sign (=) can be followed by numbers, glyph names or functions, concatenated with arithmetic operation signs (+, -, *, /) and parantheses (( and )).

In the LSB, RSB or Width field, you can refer to other fields of the same glyph with these functions:

  • l() refers to the LSB of the current glyph. It makes most sense if =l() is used in the RSB field.
  • r() refers to the RSB of the current glyph. It makes most sense if =r() is used in the LSB field.
  • w() refers to the Advance Width of the current glyph. Not sure how it could be used effectively.
  • g("G") refers to the horizontal position of a vertical guideline which has the name G and is located within the current glyph.

All the functions can be combined in complex expressions, such as =l()*1.2 or =g("center")*2 or =(n+o)/2.

Bugfixes»

  • FontAudit visualization doesn’t always trigger
  • “Round Coordinates” misbehaves with guidelines, “Snap to Guides” also
  • Other element gets activated on double-click instead of handle in current shape
  • Crash on using Glue Selection for the selected brush stroke
  • Node Anchors should be renamed to Node Links
  • Releasing left mouse button while Ctrl+dragging nodes/handles should remove them like FontLab Studio 5
  • Should be able to paste image like contour in Font window
  • Add Layer should default to “Selected Glyphs”
  • Creating a glyph with double-click doesn’t trigger the “font was changed” flag
  • Ghost guidelines appear in the Glyph Window
  • Undoing font guides remove deletes glyph guides
  • Deleting image in glyph does not update in Font Window
  • Cursor keys don’t move images on Sketchboard
  • Problems with getting elements active
  • State of “Open Panel Automatically” button is ignored in the Output Panel
  • Set encoding to “none” crashes new font
  • Removing Font guides is not reflected immediately
  • Actions:Remove guides doesn’t remove guides
  • Cannot remove element guidelines with menu command
  • Crash when trying to link anchor to guideline
  • Anchors not shown on “normal” caps from existing file
  • Hints should be “behind” contours for selection purposes
  • Clean Up is shown as Simplify in the History
  • The number of References are not updating correctly in the Element and Gallery Panels

FontLab VI version 0.9.321 build 6421»

  • New Window > New Kerning Tab (or Window) operation.
  • New Tools > Remove Element Guides operation.
  • Actions > Power Width is back.
  • The Pencil tool is improved.
  • When using the Text tool, you can Cmd=double-click on a glyph to open it in a new Glyph Window.
  • When using the Metrics tool, you can drag a glyph within its advance width. Use Preferences > Spacing to disable this behavior.
  • New operations in the Transform panel.
  • New design and functionality in Paste Special.
  • Numerous bugfixes

FontLab VI version 0.9.310 build 6410»

The build for macOS (and future versions of FontLab VI) requires Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or newer. It won’t work on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or older.

New features and improvements»

Glyph Design»

Detect node types»

New operations for detecting (correcting) node types in the Contour > Nodes menu.

Detect Smooth converts those corner nodes to smooth nodes for which the handles are collinear. This is equivalent to the FLS5 Correct Connections operation.

Detect Genius converts smooth nodes to Genius nodes (which will maintain G2 smoothness) if the curvature at both sides of the smooth node is nearly identical.

Detect Servant converts secondary nodes to Servant nodes, so you can nudge them when you move the primary nodes around.

These two operations were previously only performed when a font was opened the Preferences > Open and New Fonts > Detect smart nodes setting was enabled.

Clear Genius and Servant will make all nodes “dumb” again, i.e. just sharp, smooth or tangent.

Simplify vs. Clean Up»

The Contour menu now has two operations:

  • Clean Up is a “weaker” (more conservative) operation. It will remove superflous nodes at a minimum tolerance and detect smooth nodes, but will not perform any other optimizations, such as adding nodes on extremes.

  • Simplify is a “stronger” (more aggressive) operation. It combines Clean Up, Nodes at Extremes and some other optimizations, so it will reconfigure your contours a bit more.

More Glyph Editing improvements»

  • Improved: Glyph > Flatten Glyph combines all Elements with same appearance (fill & stroke) that are on the current layer into one element. It will also “flatten” any complex elements that use contour filters such complex Fills, Smart Corners, Glue or Power Brush. This emulates the FLS5 Decompose Glyph operation.

  • Improved: the Transformation panel has three new buttons for horizontal alignment. These buttons perform alignment depending on the active tool. They will align the glyph the advance width when in Metrics mode, will align selected or all elements of the glyph when in Elements mode, and will align nodes in other modes.

Glyph Window»

Local View settings»

In FontLab VI, you can control which View details are visible in the Glyph Window (nodes, handles, curvature, hints, coordinates etc.). This is done via the View panel or the View menu (along with the Show submenu). Each Glyph Window has three combinations of View settings:

  • the Metrics View settings, which are used if the Glyph Window is in Metrics mode (i.e. if it was opened as a Metrics Window or if the Metrics tool is active)
  • the Kerning View settings, which are used if the Glyph Window is in Kerning mode (i.e. if it was opened as a Kerning Window or if the Kerning tool is active)
  • the Main View settings, which are used if any other tool is active (except the Text tool, which doesn’t use any customizable View settings)

In previous builds, each combination of View settings was “global”. Any change to the View settings would affect all currently open Glyph Windows. This build makes the View settings “local”, so each Glyph Window can be configured individually.

This means that when you change the View settings for one existing Glyph Window, the remaining Glyph Windows won’t be affected.

If you create a new Glyph Window, it will inherit the View settings depending on the window that is currently active:

  • If you open a new Glyph Window from within an existing Glyph Window, the new Glyph Window will inherit the View settings that you saw in that Glyph Window.
  • If you open a new Glyph Window from within a Font Window, the new Glyph Window will inherit the last combination of View settings that you’ve customized. In other words, whenever you change the View settings anywhere, that combination of settings becomes the “default View settings combination”, and that set is used when you open a new Glyph Window from within a Font Window.

We think this feature allows you to have much greater flexibility in your workflow. You can use one Glyph Window in a high zoom level, with many View details enabled (such as the grid, FontAudit, coordinates, handles, curvature etc.) and at the same time have a second, much more “minimalistic” Glyph Window open which gives you a more “long-distance” overview of the glyphs you’re working on.

True Fill»

In FontLab VI, you can set the opacity at which the contours are filled using Preferences > Glyph Window > Glyph fill. This works for all editing modes of a Glyph Window except Metrics, Kerning, Text and TTH. Typically, you would have this setting at about 30-40% transparent, which gives you a sense of which areas are filled or unfilled but does not obscure the view.

In this build, we’re introducing the View > True Fill setting (tap ShiftSpace to toggle). True Fill works like View > Show Layers > Fill Outline in FLS5. It will switch from rendering the semitransparent glyph fill to rendering the glyph fill at 100% opacity. All other View details that you’ve enabled (nodes, handles, hints etc.) are still visible.

Note that you can still hold Space or ` to Quick Preview only the fill (all other View details are hidden). You can also open a Metrics Window or use the Preview panel.

More Glyph Window improvements»

  • New: Preferences > Distances > Glyph window default zoom level has a new setting Fit to safe metrics. With this setting, the default zoom level (View > Outlines) vertically fits the glyphs between the Safe Top and Safe Bottom dimensions which you can specify in Font Info > Family Dimensions. Note: Those dimensions are also written as OS/2.WinAscent and OS/2.WinDescent OpenType fields.

  • Improved: More detailed settings in Preferences > Glyph window > Show node coordinates which allow you to customize which node coordinates are displayed if View > Show > Coordinates is enabled.

  • Improved: Preferences > Glyph window > Glow contour selection enables or disables the “glow effect” which appears when a contour is selected. When disabled, the contour is simply colored red.

  • Improved: When View > Show > Glyph Metrics is enabled, the glyph name will be shown above the advance width box near the bottom of the glyph inside the Glyph Window (#844)

  • Improved performance: On newer Macs, the hardware-accelerated OpenGL rendering (which is controlled in Preferences > General) should significantly accelerate the redrawing of the Glyph Window.

Spacing and Kerning»

  • In the Kerning panel, you can now select multiple pairs. Then you can delete them with Del. You can also adjust the values of all the active pair by 1 (with Left and Right) or by 10 (with ShiftLeft and ShiftRight). Note: Adjusting the values for multiple selected pairs doesn’t work yet, and there are some other issues with this functionality, which we’ll address.

  • There are new operations available in the Kerning panel “hamburger menu”: Filter Kerning for removing unwanted pairs (not fully working yet), and Adjust Kerning for changing the kerning values across multiple pairs (no Undo support yet).

Font Editing»

Variations and Layers»

  • New operation: Glyph > Match Masters which will attempt to the masters compatible for interpolation.

  • New: When you use the Variations panel, FontLab VI now builds a virtual .instance layer for all the affected glyphs. That layer is destroyed and updated whenever you navigate through the design space using the Variations panel. We’re still working on this functionality. Preferences > Editing > Live preview controls how often the .instance layer is rebuilt.

  • Improved: Importing MultipleMaster .vfb files and .glyphs files has been greatly improved.

  • Improved: Adding a new master in File > Font Info. This is still work in progress.

  • Relaxed master naming: a Master layer may still follow the mm.xxx=nnn notation (where xxx is the axis tag and nnn is the location), but that’s not required. You may name your Glyph Master layer with the same name as the name of a Font Master, then the Axis settings from the font master will be used (including weight/width). You may also name it using the Typographic Style Name, using one of “known” names for weight and width, then these values are used to position master on weight/width space. Note: We’re working on more documentation about these topics!

More Layers improvements»

  • A wireframe layer will show nodes. This is useful if you want to manually match masters (i.e. make the masters compatible for interpolation).

User Interface»

Elements panel»

We’ve improved the Elements panel.

  • Each contours is now rendered separately within each element.
  • You can drag-and-drop elements and contours within elements to change their stacking order (the first one is on top)

Toolbar»

  • The Toolbar can be now docked to the edges of the screen (rather than just window).

Files»

  • Improved: VFC and VFJ files are now associated with FontLab VI so they should open in the app when you 2x-click on them.

Bugfixes»

Major bugfixes»

  • Improved: Copy, Cut, Paste and Select All commands unavailable, menu problems after Save As (#981, #1051, #1061) — final resolution of this problem is pending

  • Fixed: Very hard to de-select Free Transform box (#1038)

  • Fixed: Glyph color flags disappear on re-open (#1036)

Crashes fixed»

  • Fixed: Noto Sans CJK tc Medium crashes app (#1001)

  • Fixed: Renaming an anchor makes FL crash often (#1017)

  • Fixed: Crash at startup (#1008)

  • Fixed: Crash on removing the kerning pair in the Kerning panel (#987)

  • Fixed: Crash on breaking a contour after joining (#1045)

  • Fixed: Add layer to all glyphs crashes on Win (#1003)

  • Fixed: Image panel: the smart mode of Remove Background crashes (#866)

Glyph Design»

Glyph Editing»

  • Fixed: Round Coordinates misbehaves with guidelines, Snap to Guides also (#1048)

  • Fixed: Measure tool not snapping to all contours and nodes (#788)

  • Fixed: “To Curve” does not work (#1021)

  • Fixed: Slant works incorrectly (#804)

  • Fixed: Rotate has 3x effect (#761)

  • Fixed: Double-click on a curve doesn’t select it (#1004)

Glyph Window»

  • Fixed: Contextual menu on a smooth node shows the option to turn it into a Smart corner (#1065)

  • Fixed: Ctrl-click on a guideline doesn’t give the guideline context menu (#1023)

  • Fixed: Zoom via click-and-drag magnifying glass misbehaves (#992)

  • Fixed: Problematic default zooming (#862)

  • Fixed: Problems with zoom out cursor in the Knife tool (#1052)

  • Fixed: Autoscroll GW on canvas bounds when drawing (#863)

  • Fixed: Can’t turn off mark attachment cloud in Metrics Tab (#951)

  • Fixed: Need way to turn off anchor cloud while kerning (#1015)

  • Fixed: Anchors Cloud is not showing (#1000)

  • Fixed: View > Show Handles has no effect (#1022)

  • Fixed: Quick Preview (Space or `) renders open contours with thickness (#1057)

Advanced Glyph Editing»

  • Fixed: Element Reference - copy/paste (#955)

  • Fixed: Undo problems with Elements (#993, #995)

  • Fixed: Undo kills glyph after element was placed into glyph (#864)

  • Fixed: Fill tool fails (#991)

  • Fixed: The Glyph tab renders elements differently (#986)

TrueType Curves»

  • Fixed: Try to maintain TT curve shape during point deletion (#1016)

  • Fixed: Marquee selection selects nodes but not handles should not affect TT off-curve points (#943)

  • Fixed: TT curves display strangely when unfilled (#1019)

  • Fixed: Scissors interact badly with TrueType curves (#1014)

Spacing and Kerning»

  • Fixed: Changing kerning is not undoable (#663)

Font Editing»

Variations and Layers»

  • Fixed: The Global mask is invisible (#954)

  • Fixed: Function to rearrange contours/Elements per master (#896)

    drag-drop in the elements panel will rearrange elements or contours.

Actions and Operations»

  • Fixed: Selecting the section titles (metrics, effects, hinting) references the last sub-section of the preceding section in Actions (#1069)

  • Fixed: Change title of right-hand panel from “Set Fixed Width” to “Set advance width” to match the name in the left-hand list in Metrics Actions (#1070)

  • Fixed: Actions / Metrics / Adjust metrics wrongly includes kerning (#542)

  • Fixed: Generate Glyphs creates glyphs with no Unicode (#857)

  • Fixed: Total glyph count when 2 fonts selected (#937)

  • Fixed: Index actually uses name ordering (#983)

Files and Sketchboard»

  • Fixed: Pref for save font location does not work (#990)

  • Fixed: Fonts panel: the pane for fonts export works incorrectly (#985)

  • Fixed: Place As Glyphs Issues (#1010)

  • Fixed: Priority of Traced Image (#833)

  • Fixed: Adobe Illustrator swatch usage messes up copy/paste of color to FL (#1002)

FontAudit and Hinting»

  • Fixed: F7 Autohint grabs wrong stem values and/or affects wrong glyphs (#814)

  • Fixed: FontAudit visualization doesn’t always trigger (#1075)

  • Fixed: Autohinting (F7) does not Undo (#813)

User Interface»

  • Fixed: Font Window Cascade & Tile functions needed (#883)

  • Fixed: Detaching and re-docking a tab results in cut off content (#560)

  • Fixed: Button in Node Panel that converts a Corner Node to Smart Node should be called “Smart” not corner (#1067)

  • Fixed: Node panel: when handle is selected most of the controls should be disabled (#1033)

  • Fixed: Gallery panel: wrong tool tip for the + button (#1062)

  • Fixed: Pencil Tool Left/Bottom icon needs tool tip adjustment bug (#960)

  • Fixed: After I used the Ellipse tool, the Property bar for Rectangle tool doesn’t appear (#972)

  • Fixed: Selecting the “link sidebearing” buttons in the Glyph Info panel doesn’t reflect in the same buttons in the Property Bar (#1040)

  • Fixed: Output Panel needs a Tool Tip (#964)

  • Fixed: Text Tool Tags icon needs Tool Tip (#959)

  • Fixed: The order of the Window menu items (#517)

  • Fixed: Backspace is not working in the text field in the Content Sidebar (#1026)

  • Fixed: Anchors and Pins panel loses its content (#906)

  • Fixed: Tapping D key activates Fill tool, tapping S key activates Scissors tool (#1006)

  • Fixed: Property Bar doesn’t update on selection (#1044)

  • Fixed: Metrics Table changes metrics mistakenly (#1043)

  • Fixed: Node panel: the update icon next to the Node field is always disabled (#1032)

  • Fixed: Clicking on the lock buttons next to the sidebearings doesn’t do anything (#1035)

  • Fixed: Tools > Edit Mask is not in synch with the layer selection (#698)

  • Fixed: The Element panel becomes empty (#774)

  • Fixed: Adding a Sticker corrupts the preview of MM glyph (#855)

  • Fixed: Font Audit panel needs tool tips bug (#962)

  • Fixed: Brush tool: wrong mode selection is shown (#997)

FontLab VI version 0.9.243 build 6343»

Panels»

When a panel is hidden, Alt-clicking on its name in Window > Panels or on the Panels List bar will “summon” the panel to the current window: the panel will appear and will be docked at the side or bottom of the current window. This is useful when working with detached windows or if a certain panel appears off-screen.

VFJ (FontLab VI JSON format)»

The support for reading and writing the JSON-based VFJ format is ready for testing. We still expect changes, but all or most aspects of a FontLab VI font (including multiple layers and complex elements) should now export correctly into VFJ. You can use File > Export Font As > FontLab VI JSON (VFJ) to save a font into the VFJ format. Then, you can modify the VFJ file outside of FontLab VI (in a plain-text editor or programmatically), and read the changes back into FontLab VI by opening the VFJ file.

Bug fixes»

A few dozen bug fixes regarding geometric operations and other aspects of the app.

FontLab VI version 0.9.214 build 6314»

Build 6314 brings several improvements in handling of zoom as well as metrics and kerning.

Zoom»

In FontLab VI, there are three types of measurement for the zoom level in the Glyph window. The zoom level can be based on:

  • points, with a customizable “actual text size” defined in typographic points
  • pixels, where font units correspond to logical screen pixels
  • percentage, with several zoom levels based on a customizable “100%” setting

In addition, View > Fit On Screen (Cmd0) zooms the Glyph window so that its entire contents is visible.

Point-based zoom»

The Glyph window’s Content sidebar, as well as the Metrics or Kerning tool’s context top bar have a Text size control, where you can select or (in the sidebar) enter a reference size of the Glyph window text, measured in typographic points. Then, View > Actual Text Size (Cmd1) will zoom to your actual text size that you’ve chosen. If you choose the Text size to be 96, then zooming to Actual Text Size will show the glyphs at 96 pt, just as they show in an app where your final font will be used. Since the point-based zoom is mostly useful for previewing and spacing, when you choose Window > New Metrics Tab, a new editing window will be opened with the zoom defaulting to Actual Text Size, and the Metrics tool activated.

Note that you can still zoom in and out, using the Z and X keys, using Cmd+ and Cmd-, and using the Free zoom tool (in the bottom-right corner of the Glyph window or using CmdSpace). Zooming in and out does not change the actual text size. However, the automatic text wrapping in the Glyph window does depend on the actual text size. If you have a long text in your Glyph window and use Text > Wrap > Auto, then the text will automatically wrap (line-break) to multiple lines. The length of the lines will depend on the Text size that you’ve defined. So if you want longer lines, reduce the Text size. If you use Text > Wrap > Manual, the Text size doesn’t really matter because the lines will only break when you press Enter in the Text tool, or enter n in the Content sidebar’s text editing field.

Pixel-based zoom»

The pixel-based zoom is useful when you want a very precise preview of your node coordinates. If you choose View > Zoom 1:1px (Cmd5), then the Glyph window will zoom so that one font unit (UPM unit) corresponds to one logical pixel on your screen. A “logical pixel” means that on a non-Retina screen, it will be really one pixel, but on a Retina screen, it will be two pixels. View > Zoom 2:1px will zoom so that one font unit will correspond to half a logical pixel (i.e. one Retina pixel). Pixel-based zoom makes it easy to work with on-screen measuring apps as xScope or QuickLens.

Percentage-based zoom»

Finally, there is the percentage-based zoom, which is the most flexible system. Choosing View > Zoom 100% (Cmd3) will zoom the Glyph window to a “100%” zoom level, which you can define.

In Preferences > Distances > Glyph window default zoom level you can decide yourself which vertical distance FontLab VI will fit to your window when you choose the “Zoom 100%”: it can be the line height, a text size in points, or a distance between two percentages of the font’s UPM size.

The 2nd setting defaults to 600 pt. You can easily coordinate this with the actual text size that you set in the Content sidebar of the Glyph window. For example, if you keep the setting at 600 pt but set the Glyph window’s actual text size to 150 pt, then Cmd3 will give you 4x the zoom factor of Cmd1.

The 3rd setting defaults to fitting between -40% and 90% of the UPM size. If you set the first number lower (say, -60%), then “Zoom 100%” will include more of the glyph portions that is below the baseline (useful for scripts with long descenders).

In addition to Zoom 100% (Cmd3), there are predefined zoom levels for 50% (Cmd2), 200% (Cmd6) and 400% (Cmd7), which are all relative to the “100%” zoom level.

Font Window»

If you have one or more glyphs selected in the Font Window, then:

  • Enter or double-click will open a Glyph window with the Contour tool active, and the zoom level set to “100%”
  • CmdEnter or Cmddouble-click will open a “Metrics window”, i.e. Glyph window with the Metrics tool active, and the zoom level set to Actual Text Size
  • CmdAltEnter or CmdAltdouble-click will open a “Kerning window”, i.e. Glyph window with the Kerning tool active, and the zoom level set to Actual Text Size

Metrics and Kerning tools»

  1. If you enable Preferences > Editing > Double-click to glyph in Metrics mode opens it for editing, then when you’re in the Metrics or Kerning tool, and you double-click on a glyph, a new Glyph window with just that glyph will open, with the Contour tool active. This emulates the behavior of the Metrics window in FontLab Studio 5.

  2. When the Metrics or Kerning tool is active, the context top bar of the Glyph window has a Show panel button which will open the appropriate panel (Metrics or Kerning) on the side of the window — like in FLS5.

  3. If you use the Kerning tool and have a text in the Glyph window, then, in order to change the kerning value between two glyphs in the text, you need to “activate” that pair first by clicking. This is safer but slower. But if you enable Preferences > Editing > Inactive kerning pairs are editable, any kerning pair between any two glyphs in your Glyph window becomes instantly editable when dragging with your mouse pointer. This is faster but also potentially more error-prone.

  4. When you use the Metrics tool, the context top bar of the Glyph window now has buttons that can “lock” or “unlock” the sidebearings. If you unlock the sidebearings, the glyph width will not change if you edit the contours. If you lock the sidebearings, and you edit the contours (e.g. scale them), the sidebearings will keep their defined value while the glyph width will change.

  5. In the Kerning panel, you can now:

    • Ctrl-click on a class-based pair to populate into the text all combinations of the left class with the right glyph
    • Alt-click on a class-based pair to populate into the text all combinations of the left glyph with the right class
    • CtrlAlt-click on a class-based pair to populate into the text all combinations of the left class and the right class

Other»

Numerous fixes, regarding removing overlaps and crashes on some operations.

FontLab VI version 0.9.202 build 6302»

Build 6302 brings initial support for multi-master (variation) kerning. In previous builds, kerning was only stored for the first master, so if you imported a MM VFB, all masters got the kerning values of the 1st master. It was not possible to define kerning for different masters.

This build changes that: when you open a MM VFB in FontLab VI, kerning will be imported for each master. Then, when you switch the master using the Layers and Masters panel or the context top bar, the correct kerning will be displayed for each master in the Glyph window. When using the Kerning tool, you can edit the kerning for each master separately.

However, note that in this build, the correct kerning will only be saved in the VFC file. If you export a VFJ, or a set of VFB or UFO files, incorrect kerning will be saved. We’re working on this actively.

Also, note that in the Features panel, if you choose Create [kern] feature, a kern feature for the currently-selected master will be generated, and the feature definition for the previously-defined kern feature will be lost. The Features panel currently does not support variation feature definitions. This is similar to how FontLab Studio 5 worked. We intend to improve this.

FontLab VI version 0.9.193 build 6293»

User interface»

Build 6293 brings further improvement in the general user interface, especially in the management of windows and panels. We’ve redesigned the Preferences dialog, most options have more clear labels and are better organized. Some have icons for increased clarity.

The most important change is in Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration. The three choices allow you to work either with all tabs integrated into one window, each font having its own floating window (but all Glyph windows opening as tabs within that window), or all Font and Glyph windows being floating.

Note that you can always turn a tab into a floating window and back, using docking. To undock a tab, move the tab heading out of the window heading. To dock, move the window heading near another window’s heading (Window > Allow docking needs to be enabled). You can also undock all windows from the Window menu.

The major change in the user interface on macOS is that FontLab VI no longer has a main window. This means that you can close the Sketchboard or other windows and closing those windows will not cause the entire app to quit. Also, when you close the Sketchboard (or disallow it from opening on startup in Preferences > General), you won’t see a light gray floating window that has no function. Overall, FontLab VI on macOS now works more similarly to other Mac apps when it comes to window management.

Text menu»

We’ve redesigned the Text menu. If you have a Glyph window open with the text adhesion and the glyph A is active, then Text > Next in Text (] key) will step to the next glyph, i.e. the D glyph, while Glyph > Next Glyph (Cmd] or .) will replace A with the next glyph from the font (possibly B), so the text will be bdhesion.

If your text in the Glyph window is multi-line, you can use the Text menu navigate to the next/previous line. Text > Wrap allows you to change how the Glyph window presents the glyphs. If you choose Text > Wrap > Manual, then the text you enter using the Text tool or into the Glyph window’s Content sidebar will be shown as one long line, unless you manually enter line breaks using Enter, or, in the Content sidebar, using the special code n. With Text > Wrap > Auto, the Glyph window becomes a “frame” with a fixed width. The text will automatically wrap to form multi-line text. The length of each line depends on the font size that you can set in the Content sidebar or, when using the Metrics or Kerning tools, in the context top bar. Finally, Text > Wrap > Table presents the Glyph window’s text as a table of individual glyph cells, which will be useful if you’re designing overlapping or zero-width glyphs.

Sketchboard text frames»

In addition to using Glyph tabs or windows, you can work on the Sketchboard to do your glyph design. Use the Text tool on the Sketchboard to place multiple text frames, and use the Fonts panel to switch the font shown in the frame. Each Sketchboard frame is a mini Glyph window. You can use all the Toolbar tools within each Sketchboard frame to draw or edit glyphs and perform spacing or kerning. But you can also arrange multiple text frames on the Sketchboard, from different fonts, with different texts, and in different sizes. With the Text > Frames submenu, you can arrange multiple frames on the Sketchboard and perform additional operations.

Other changes»

The VFC files open faster.

The Pencil tool now uses just one universal algorithm. Previously, we had two different algorithms and allowed you to switch between them using Shift. But after user feedback, we decided to only keep the one which users considered better.

FontLab VI version 0.9.183 build 6283»

Window management»

Build 6283 improves management of Font and Glyph tabs vs. windows. There is a new option in Preferences / General.

If you choose Fonts open in windows, glyphs open in tabs, each font that you open will have its own floating window. When you select and open some glyphs, the Glyph windows will open as docked tabs next to its Font window, but Glyph windows from different fonts will not be mixed as docked tabs in the same floating window. You can still undock a Glyph tab from one floating window and move it to another document window.

The setting All fonts and glyphs open in windows simulates the working environment of FontLab Studio 5, where all Font and Glyph windows open as floating windows instead of docked tabs. The setting All fonts and glyphs open as tabs represents the previous default behavior of FontLab VI, where you have one main floating window and all Font windows and their Glyph windows open a docked tabs.

This build also introduces new commands in the Windows menu: Tile Windows and Cascade Windows, which automatically arrange the floating windows. In this menu, you can also undock an active Font or Glyph tab by disabling Allow Docking, and you can turn all Font or Glyph docked tabs into floating windows using the commands from the Undock submenu.

The FontLab VI build 6283 for Microsoft Windows has a more native windows management, with one common application frame and all floating windows gathering within it — just as you would expect from a native Windows app.

In this build, panels and toolbars still don’t behave perfectly — sometimes they appear docked to one particular floating window, or the Sketchboard, while you may need them in another window. If you prefer to work with floating windows, you can undock the toolbars and panels and stick them to the edges of the screen. You can also disallow docking of the panels by clicking on the small rectangle in the top-right corner of a panel heading. This is something we’re still working on to improve.

Also, on macOS, FontLab VI still has an “main app window”, which contains either the Sketchboard or is just a gray window. If you close that main window, the entire application will close. We’re working on eliminating that “main app window” so FontLab VI for Mac behaves fully like a native macOS app.

Other changes»

Build 6283 includes numerous other fixes and improvements. A more complete list will be provided.

FontLab VI version 0.9.168 build 6268»

Elements»

  • New Element context bar (at the top of a Glyph Window).
  • Elements panel now shows the transformation (slant, rotation) of the element, you can edit these properties there (previously it was possible to edit them in the Transform panel).
  • In the Elements panel, you can now copy the metrics from the base glyph to glyphs selected there.
  • New command Element / Link Element Reference is the reverse of Unlink References. With an unlink element selected, it will look for identical elements in the font and, if found, build a link, i.e. convert the current element into a reference.

Glyph drawing»

  • Node context bar has new button to set position of a Handle relatively to the Node.
  • Selected handles will show angle of the control vector.
  • Glyph context bar shows width and height (in addition to bottom-left and top-right points).
  • Glyph context bar has a Flatten Glyph button.

Glyph management»

  • Rename Glyph command will rename glyph in features, classes and kerning.
  • When Font Window is sorted by Index, drag-drop will reorder glyphs like in FLS5.

Kerning classes»

  • FontLab VI now reads kerning group flag (mark) color from UFO.
  • If 1st or 2nd kerning class is selected as caption in Font Window, glyph cells will show kerning class flag instead of glyph flag.
  • When you create a new kerning class, it is named after the first selected glyph.

Other»

  • Transform panel is now “write-only” — it always applies the transformation to contours, not elements.
  • Behavior of Pins is improved.
  • Many other fixes.

FontLab VI version 0.9.154 build 6254»

Shapes are now “Elements”»

In FontLab VI, glyphs are constructed from flexible building blocks that in earlier Public Preview released were called “Shapes”. With build 6254, we’re introducing a new name that should better communicate their function: Elements.

In FontLab VI, each font includes a collection of elements that are used in the design process. In FontLab VI, each glyph (except empty ones without any content) consists of one or more layers, and each layer can hold one or more elements. In FontLab Studio 5, the predecessor of elements was components, which were modeled after the components in the TrueType font format. In FontLab VI, elements are partly inspired by the CFF font format, where each glyph can refer to one or more subroutines. These elements are more flexible than components were.

Elements are “boxes” which have some “contents”. An element has the “outside” (the “shell”) and the “inside” (the contents, which can be contours, images or some more complex objects). FontLab VI elements are a bit magical: multiple elements can refer to the same contents, elements can contain references to other elements, and can form more complex elements.

Element types»

  • Contour element contains one or more closed or open contours built from PostScript or TrueType segments. It can also contain some alignment objects: element guides and pins. The “inside” i.e. the existing contents of a contour element can be modified using the Contour, Eraser, Knife, Scissors tools, and new contours can be added to an element using the Brush, Pencil, Rapid, Pen, Ellipse and Rectangle tools.
  • Image element contains a bitmap image or an SVG image. You can apply some image filters to bitmap images inside FontLab VI, but detailed editing of SVG and bitmap images needs to be done in dedicated apps outside FontLab VI. You can convert SVG image elements into editable contour elements within FontLab VI, but more complex SVG effects like gradients will be lost. You can also convert bitmap image elements into contour elements via autotracing.
  • Complex element contains one or more contour elements and a contour filter that adds advanced, live (non-destructive) contour effects to the contours: Fill makes open contours and complex fill effects, Smart Corner makes rounded or inktrap corners, Glue can fluently stick an open contour to another contour, and Power Brush creates skeleton-based calligraphic strokes.
  • Element group consists of two or more elements grouped together, so that they can be moved, transformed etc. together.
  • Sticker is a special element that can be used to create “sticky notes” with arrows inside glyphs.

Element references (components)»

Any element can be referenced in multiple glyphs. Each element reference shares the same contours, element guides and pins, but has its own transformation (position, scale, rotation, slant) as well as, for color fonts, its own fill color and stroke color and thickness.

Element references can work like traditional components: you place an unlocked reference to an element in a primary glyph (such as A). There, you can edit the contours.

Then, you place locked references to the same element in other glyphs (e.g. Aacute, Adieresis). When you try to edit the contents of a locked reference, FontLab VI will open the primary glyph where you can modify the contours, and the changes will propagate to all the locked references. So locked references behave like TrueType, UFO or VFB components.

However, you can always unlock some or all of the locked references. Then, you can also edit the contours in-place in each unlocked reference, and the changes of the element contents will propagate to all references including the one in the primary glyph. So in fact, the primary glyph is just one of the glyphs that contains a reference to a given element where that reference is unlocked.

If a reference is unlocked only in one primary glyph, FontLab VI will use that glyph as the contour glyph when generating fonts in formats that support components (TrueType-flavored OpenType, VFB or UFO), while all the other references will be exported as components. If you unlock more than one reference, FontLab VI will automatically pick the best contour glyph.

Element transformation»

With the Element tool and the Elements panel, you edit the “outside” of elements — the “shells” of the “boxes”. The difference is most evident with contour elements:

  • If you scale, rotate, slant or mirror the contours in an element using the Contour tool (or the Transform panel when the Contour tool is active), you’re editing the contents of the element, so the point coordinates change permanently and the change is visible in all references.
  • If you scale, rotate, slant or mirror an element using the Element tool (or the Transform panel when the Element tool is active), the change is “live” and applies only to the active element. The contents of the element (and of all references to the element) stays unchanged. Only the “shell” of the particular element is scaled, which is similar to how scaled or rotated TrueType components work.

Exclusive Editing»

When Edit > Exclusive Editing is enabled, the contour modification tools (Contour, Eraser, Knife and Scissors) work only on contours in the active element of the current glyph. When Edit > Exclusive Editing is disabled, tools like Pencil or Pen will draw in the active element of the current glyph, but the contour modification tools work on contours in all elements of all glyphs visible in the Glyph Window.

Element menu»

In build 6254, we have replaced the Element menu with the Element menu and rearranged it a bit. The structure of the Element menu is as follows:

  • New Element creates a new element in the active glyph. The new element has no contents but you can start adding contours using any of the drawing tools, or paste some contours from the clipboard. Since this is a new element, you can use a new contour filters with new settings, for example a Power Brush, or assign a new stroke and fill color to the element.
  • Add Element Reference… works like Add Component… in FontLab Studio 5 — it allows you to insert a reference to all elements from a glyph that you can specify by name. If the specified glyph has more than one element, those elements will be added as a group. When you generate a TTF, such a group will be exported as a “nested component”.
  • Component-centric commands that work on elements selected in the Glyph Window, or on all elements of a glyph in the Font Window. They correspond to the behavior of components in FontLab Studio 5: you can lock/unlock the elements, edit their contents, unlink a reference (i.e. decompose) and place the selected element into their own dedicated glyph, which will become the primary glyph for references for that element.
  • Submenus to Arrange and Align the selected elements (or all elements in the current glyph).
  • Group and Ungroup selected elements (or all elements in the current glyph).
  • Optically Separate splits an element consisting of multiple non-overlapping contours into single elements.
  • Next/Previous activate different elements within a glyph.
  • Combine Contours to Element works best with Exclusive Editing disabled. Then, you can select contours from multiple elements and create one single element from them. This is different from a group: if you group elements, each element keeps its filter, stroke and fill settings. If you combine contours into an element, the contours get the same filter, stroke and fill settings.
  • Separate Contours to Elements creates a separate element from each selected contour.
  • Glue Selection is a contour filter that allows you to fluently attach and open contour onto another contour.
  • Make Power Brush is a contour filter that takes the contours of the active element as a skeleton and applies a live calligraphic stroke that you can control using the Brush panel.
  • Expand Transformation will permanently convert an element transformation (scale, slant, rotation) into a contour transformation if the element has no references.
  • Expand Filters converts complex contour filters such as Fill, Smart Corner, Glue and Power Brush into simple contours.
  • Expand Stroke converts the stroke defined in the Stroke panel into simple contours.
  • The Image submenu contains a number of operations specific to bitmap and SVG image elements.
  • New Pin adds a pin to the active element.
  • New Sticker adds a new sticker to the current glyph.

Other changes in 6254»

Color Flags»

In the Font Window, the Color Flag selector now has small +/– buttons which allows you to set the flag values of all selected glyphs higher or lower by 1, or with Shift by 10. This way, if you have glyphs flagged with different colors and you select some of them, you can change their existing flag colors while keeping them distinct, rather than giving them all a completely new flag color.

Glyph editing»

  • Page Up/Page Down node or element navigation [Mac-6189] #742 — if a glyph only contains locked elements (components), the Page Up/Page Down keys will navigate between them, otherwise they’ll navigate between the contour points of the active element (like in FLS5)

Bugfixes in 6254»

Contour editing»

  • Contour / Simplify should not deselect contour [Mac-6224] #836
  • Contour selection should disable Tunni line control [Mac-6224] #825
  • BCPs jump strangely while moving contour [Mac-6241-2] #870

Fill»

  • Copy Paste in FW Destroys Fill [6241-2] #873
  • Fill tool misbehaves [Mac-6189] #745

Transform»

  • Rotate and flip are damaging contours [Mac-6249] #884
  • Various Transform panel problems [Mac-6224] #819
  • Want to free transform partial contour [Mac-6241-2] #871
  • Rotate 90 does a 180 instead [Mac-6224] #834

Copy-paste»

  • Copy/paste big problems [Mac-6224] #826
  • Improve paste from Sketchboard to Glyph window [Mac-6224] #837
  • Paste+Move+Undo undoes Paste [Mac-6224] #811
  • Copy-paste of elements [Mac-6224] #818

Elements»

  • App keeps reverting to Element tool! [Mac-6224] #827
  • Moving element using the Transform panel crashes or removes the element [Mac-6224] #822
  • Switching between glyphs should remember which element was selected using V tool [Mac-6224] #817
  • Visualization of active locked element vs. unlocked element [Mac-6189] #743
  • Element and Contours selection visual feedback confusing [Mac-6189] #741
  • Glue Selection crashes if applied to selected elements [Mac-6249] #881
  • “Expand” of Power Brush crashes [FL6M-6193] #752
  • Smart Corners removes guidelines [Mac-6224] #809

Glyphs»

  • Added Glyphs don’t get friendly names [Mac-6241-2] #876
  • Need easy way to Append glyph [Mac-6239] #843
  • Copy + Append Glyph creates linked ref [Mac-6241-2] #877
  • Legacy FL5 code doesn’t work in Generate Glyphs dialog [Mac-59XX-6224] #808
  • Anchor display is erratic, often missing [Mac-6241-2] #879

Color fonts»

  • Interpret SVG: elements preview get mirrored in the Elements panel [Mac-6224] #829
  • Color fonts not exported [FL6M-6193-2] #755

Other»

  • Stickers cannot be resized on the Sketchboard [Mac-6241] #867
  • Right click on Glyph cell in Font window crashes [Mac-6241] #845
  • Hangs on vfb open [Mac-6238] #838
  • Kerning edit crashes FL [Mac-6224] #810
  • Vertical guides type isn’t changed [Mac-6224] #805

FontLab VI version 0.9.124 build 6224»

VFJ, experimental JSON-based save format»

This build adds experimental support for VFJ, FontLab’s new JSON-based save format. The current version of the VFJ format is very early and it will change, so fonts saved in the JSON format today will likely not open in future builds of FontLab VI. However, we’re interested in your feedback on VFJ.

The default native (lossless) save format of FontLab VI is VFC, which is a compact binary representation of all the internal data structures. We’ve also wanted to support a human-readable lossless save format. After having experimented with XML-based formats, we’ve now decided to adopt a JSON-based format. JSON is a modern open-standard format which was popularized through its use in JavaScript but is now increasingly popular in other scenarios. It’s quite similar to Python lists and dictionaries, and is much more lightweight than XML.

When you save a font in FontLab VI using File / Save Font or File / Save Font As…, FontLab will save the font in the VFC format. However, in Preferences / Save Fonts, you can enable additional formats in which the font will be saved. Saving fonts in UFO and VFB is lossy, i.e. not all structures will be saved. The XFO format (our extended variant of UFO) will be phased out. You can also export to any of these formats using File / Export Fonts or File / Export Fonts As.

In this build, you can also choose File / Export Fonts As / FontLab VI JSON (VFJ). Keep in mind that currently, the support for VFJ is unfinished, so use the VFJ saving for experiments only. VFC is the only format that we currently fully support. Also: in Preferences / Save Fonts, there is a setting for saving the fonts as VFJ, but this setting does not work yet. To test VFJ, please use File / Export Fonts As.

Bugfixes»

This build also fixes numerous bugs reported on the forum, including

  • Guideline lock state is not saved in VFC [Mac-6204] bug #783
  • Families from PostScript name works incorrectly [Mac-6204] bug #798
  • Open VFB then save causes crash [Mac-6204] BAD bug #795
  • “Save Changes” dialog circles endless [Mac-5997] bug #456
  • Sidebearings not draggable when they should be [Mac-6204] bug wish (feature/UI from FLS 5) #784
  • Sidebearing measurements don’t update while dragging sidebearing [Mac-6204] bug #785
  • “Back to the future” issue [Mac-6203] BAD bug #780
  • The export destination link stopped working [Mac-6193] bug #767
  • Crash on closing several fonts [Mac-6224] bug #802
  • Next and Prev Layer commands are reversed [Mac-6204] bug #801
  • Can’t always select points of unfilled contour area [Mac-6204] bug #787
  • Measure tool not snapping to all contours and nodes [Mac-6204] bug #788
  • Brush panel: the Set button is inactive [Mac-6204] bug #776
  • The Gallery panel doesn’t show new clones [Mac-6166] bug #705
  • Copy-paste of outlines removes overlap (shouldn’t) [Mac-6193] bug #762
  • Rotate messes up existing bucket fills [Mac-6193] bug #763
  • Particular SVG font won’t open [Mac-6204]bug #797
  • Bucket fills are changed by sidebearing changes [Mac-6224] bug #803
  • Use .vfj as the JSON document file extension Feature #713
  • Selected outline is not red [Mac-6204] bug #775

Important for Windows users»

Some keyboard shortcuts in the menus are marked with a Meta modifier key. They are not accessible. The Mac has three modifier keys: Ctrl, Alt and Cmd, while Windows computers only have two that can be used by app developers: Ctrl and Alt. We’re working hard on providing sensible keyboard shortcuts for our Windows users, but this will take a while!

Important for Mac users»

If you launch the app for the first time, right-click or Ctrl-click on FontLab.app and choose Open. If you experience problems launching this new build on Mac OS X, remove the FontLab VI Preferences file ~/Library/Preferences/com.FontLab.FontLabVI.plist. To do that:

  • In Finder choose Go / Go to Folder…
  • In the dialog box, paste ~/Library/Preferences/
  • Locate the com.FontLab.FontLabVI.plist file and delete it.

FontLab VI version 0.9.104 build 6204»

App stability»

We believe we fixed a 3rd-party library that caused some 50% of the FontLab VI crashes, so this build should be much more stable.

Tracking and leading»

The tracking and leading controls are now in the content sidebar of the Glyph Window, and in the context bar of the Spacing tools (Metrics and Kerning). You can apply “virtual” tracking and leading using those controls. The tracking and leading is only visible in the Glyph Window, and does not affect how the font is exported.

The horizontal tracking is measured in ‰ (1/1000) of the em size. Half of the selected value is added on each side of the glyph.

The vertical leading is measured as a percentage of the line height (baseline-to-baseline distance), where 100% equals the sum of the font’s typo ascender, descender and line gap.

Classes panel (was Groups panel)»

By popular demand, we’ve renamed the Groups panel back to Classes panel, as it was called in FLS5.

You can now flag classes using colors.

Sorting of classes in the panel is disabled by default, but you still can sort by clicking on the column header.

If a class definition contains glyphs that are not present in the current font, they will no longer disappear. Instead, FLVI will show them as “empty cells” in the cell view of the Classes panel, and will show how many glyphs you actually have

Glyph drawing»

If Edit > Exclusive Editing is off, you can still connect different elements with the Pen tool.

The Pen tool is improved.

Quite a few problems with rounding should be fixed.

FontAudit»

The FontAudit test for disproportional curves is off by default. Iff it is on, it will detect only very disproportional curves.

View panel»

The View panel now has icons for many more View details, so its contents corresponds to the contents of the View menu (including the View > Show submenu).

Text and Pair Phrases»

In the Spacing tools (Metrics, Kerning) context bar, the “…” button will open a dropdown box where you can now more comfortably edit the Pair Phrases or the Text Phrases. You can navigate through those phrases using the Pairs and Phrases panel.

Important for Windows users»

Some keyboard shortcuts in the menus are marked with a Meta modifier key. They are not accessible. The Mac has three modifier keys: Ctrl, Alt and Cmd, while Windows computers only have two that can be used by app developers: Ctrl and Alt. We’re working hard on providing sensible keyboard shortcuts for our Windows users, but this will take a while!

Important for Mac users»

If you launch the app for the first time, right-click or Ctrl-click on FontLab.app and choose Open. If you experience problems launching this new build on Mac OS X, remove the FontLab VI Preferences file ~/Library/Preferences/com.FontLab.FontLabVI.plist. To do that:

  • In Finder choose Go / Go to Folder…
  • In the dialog box, paste ~/Library/Preferences/
  • Locate the com.FontLab.FontLabVI.plist file and delete it.

FontLab VI version 0.9.93 build 6193»

Known issues»

There are some issues with handling of color fonts (OpenType+SVG, TrueType+sbix). We’ll be fixing it in the next release.

Contour editing»

Power Nudge is now controlled differently: to toggle it permanently on or off, tap ShiftC (previously, it was just C). But to activate it temporarily, press and hold C.

Contour / Round Coordinates now works differently. In previous builds, editing and drawing was always done in fractional coordinates while the rounding was done on the fly. Now, when rounding is enabled, editing with Contour tool, drawing with Pen, Rapid, Ellipse, Rectangle always create fully rounded coordinates.

Nodes will no longer snap to invisible guidelines.

Flipping and other transformations of partially selected contours is now correct.

Direct segment editing»

When you click on a segment, you can now edit it using the cursor keys like in FLS5. With Preferences > Editing > Click to curve makes it selected you can revert to the previous behavior which selects the segment you click on.

Direct segment editing (dragging on a “blue diamond” that appears when your pointer approaches the segment) will not snap to guidelines but will snap to its original location. Holding Ctrl prevents snapping to the original location. Also, the blue diamond will turn red if your pointer approaches a selected segment.

Open contours»

Ends of an open contour are now rendered differently.

Contour > Break on a node will only select one node so you can move it from the other node using cursor keys.

Keyboard shortcuts for tools»

  • The Eraser tool now has only one keyboard shortuct: 2 (previously it was 2 and Q).
  • The Scissors tool now has a new keyboard shortuct: Q (previously it was K).
  • The Kerning tool now has a new keyboard shortuct: K.
  • The = key activates the marquee zoom tool until you click or click-and-drag, same as CmdSpace.
  • The - key sets the zoom level to View / Outlines zoom, same as Cmd3.

Ellipse and Rectange tools»

When the Ellipse or Rectange tool is active and you click in the Glyph Window, a dialog box will appear that lets you add the object by specifying the numeric dimensions.

Pen tool»

While drawing with the Pen tool, you can click on the last node (that you’ve just drawn) multiple times. The first click will remove the outgoing handle, the second click will remove the incoming handle, the third click will remove the node. We’ve also fixed other issued with the Pen tool.

Brush tool»

The Brush panel now has new buttons: Set/Remove to apply and remove the Power Brush to the current Element, and Expand to expand a Power Brush into flat outlines. The Brush tool context bar also has the Remove and Expand buttons that work analogically.

Metrics and Kerning tools»

The context bar for the Metrics and Kerning tools now have controls for Tracking and Leading, which affect the text rendering in the current window (in all tools). This allows you to preview how your font will behave when end-users apply different tracking (letter-spacing) and leading (line-height).

In Metrics and Kerning tools, when you disable Show metrics (2nd button from the left in the context bar), the + glyph metric marks no longer appear, so you have a completely clean view of your text.

The Kerning tool now has a new keyboard shortcut: K.

In Kerning tool, it’s now possible to click very thin glyphs with your pointer.

FontLab VI will read class-based AAT kerning from an Apple-style kern table.

FontLab VI will now keep original kerning group names when opening a VFB.

Text and Pair Phrases»

Text Phrases and Pair Phrases are separate. You can edit them by clicking on the button in the context bar of the Metrics or Kerning tool.

The built-in Text Phrases and Pair Phrases are improved.

You can choose which content to show in the Pairs and Phrases panel using the selector at the bottom of the panel. Pairs will always show the pair phrases (used for kerning), Texts will always show the text phrases (used for spacing), and Auto will toggle between the two depending on the active tool.

The Pair Phrases mode of the panel allows multi-selection. You can press the diamond button to autokern the selected pairs.

Browse phrases in Metrics or Kerning tool with Up++/++Down cursor keys or with CmdPage Up/CmdPage Down (CmdFnUp/CmdFnDown). If your current Text is multi-line, it will first step through the lines, then go to the next phrase.

Elements / Components»

The Element Frame will not appear if it is not needed i.e. when you have only one element in the glyph without any references or transformations.

The bottom-left corner of the Element Frame shows the element transformation (scale, rotate, slant).

The Elements panel now has a Table that you can open using the 2nd button on the top of the panel. In Glyph Window, the Elements table shows all glyphs in the font which reference the active element. In Font Window, it shows all glyphs in the font which reference any element of the active glyph. Double-click the cell in Elements table to navigate to the glyph in the Glyph or Font Window.

When you add composite glyph is added as a component (Element), it will be added as a grouped Element, so it is much easier to move/scale it.

Transformation of contours is more logical: FLVI will not apply transformation (done using actions, for example) to elements if it is not necessary, e.g if an element is not shared. In simple cases, transformations will be applied to contours.

There is a new preference Editing > Keep visual appearance of the contour when paste to another element. It affects situation when you Copy-Paste contours between different elements, especially if those elements have a transformation applied. When the preference is enabled, the point coordinates of the pasted contour will be adjusted to keep the same appearance. When it’s disabled, the coordinates will be kept the same so the pasted element will follow the transformation of the target element.

Elements placed into a font using Element > Place Element are scaled using the “thick guidelines”, the same way as with Place Named Elements.

Element > Add Element is the new name of “Insert Element”. It will respect the glyph anchors when placing the element.

Glyph input»

In any of the dialog boxes for entering glyphs into text, you can press AltEnter or CmdEnter to insert the glyph next to the current one rather than replace it.

Font Window»

The rendering of a glyph Note in the Font Window is updated: it can be hidden using preferences, its color matches color of the note dialog box, and the Note’s first line is rendered directly in glyph cell in larger zoom levels (this can be disabled in preferences)

New Font > Generate Unicode command, works with glyphs selected in the Font Window just like Generate Names.

Font technology»

The built-in standard.nam file includes more development glyph names.

Opening large VFC fonts is faster, many operations on large fonts are faster.

SVG files are now slightly minified when an SVG image is imported or an OpenType+SVG font is opened.

FontLab VI version 0.9.78 build 6178»

Template font»

We changed the behavior of template glyphs that appear in the background when you create new glyphs. In previous builds, FontLab generated a blue bitmap into the Background layer which stayed there even if you were drawing your own contours, and had to be removed manually. In this build, we have a new system of Template fonts.

You can assign any installed font as a Template in Preferences / Font Window / Template. The Template can be shown or hidden via View / Ghosts.

When you create a new glyph which is not built as a composite, the new glyph takes will take advance width from the Template font. The Template renders in Text mode if glyph has no body, and renders all Unicode characters plus some variant glyphs based on glyph name suffixes such as .smcp.

Elements»

Edit / Paste Element will paste a reference to the Element, so you can copy any element, then paste it to other glyphs or other places in the same glyph, and the elements will be linked (cloned).

Glyph drawing»

  • You can activate the previous/next Point in the current contour via PgUp/PgDn (fn+Up/fn+Down).
  • New: Contour / Nodes at Extremes. This will be improved in future.
  • Dynamic rounding of coordinates (Contour / Round Coordinates) has been improved and works in more places.
  • Improved: Contour / Remove Overlap. However, it still works on all contours in the Element, not selection. We plan to improve this.
  • Improved: When you change point coordinates by entering them in-place, Contour / Power Nudge will have effect if enabled.
  • Improved: FontAudit now respects rounded coordinates and will detect non-horizontal/non-vertical errors for Handles (BCVs).

Guides»

  • New Contour / Snap to Guides operation.
  • Improved automatic naming of font guides: FontLab will assign names topXXX for guides that you create at the top of the glyph and botXX for font guides at the bottom of the glyph.

Anchors»

  • You can now repeatedly invoke Glyph / Add Anchor to add anchors named top, bottom, right, left in default locations.
  • If you have a font guide with a name that starts with top, the top anchor will be placed vertically on that guide. Same for the bottom anchor if the font guide has a name starting with bot.
  • For glyphs that represent marks, the names of the added anchors are prefixed with _ and their location is reversed.
  • With the Guide tool, you can Ctrl-click to add anchors and have them named automatically. FontLab will automatically pick the name top, bottom, right, left or center depending on where in the glyph area you Ctrl-clicked.

Hinting»

  • You can add a Link, which is a PostScript-style Hint that behaves like a Link in FLS5: select two points and press Ctrl+X to add a horizontal Hint or Ctrl+Y for a vertical Hint.
  • You can convert all Hints to Links via Tools / Hints to Links

Font Window / Glyph set»

  • Improved: In Font Window, if you Copy and Paste a glyph, all smart contour elements (fill etc will be copied).
  • Improved: Glyph / Generate Glyphs, Glyph / Add Glyphs and creating a glyph by double-clicking on an empty glyph cell in Font Window. FontLab will now correctly build composite glyphs including anchors.
  • Element / Image operations will work on all glyphs selected in the Font Window.

Importing artwork / ScanFont»

When you import or paste bitmap or vector artwork (images, SVGs) into the Sketchboard and run Element / Optically Separate, you can use thick guidelines to determine how the measurements of your artwork relates to the font canvas:

  1. Drag a horizontal guide from the Ruler to the location of the Sketchboard where you want the baseline. If your artwork is multi-line, drag the guide to the first baseline.

  2. On the right edge of the guide, change the name of the guide. The name needs to start with a specific string depending on which vertical dimension it will represent: the name should start with x if the guideline will represent the x-Height, with a for Ascender, with d for Descender. Use the format uNNN if the guide will represent an arbitrary vertical dimension where NNN is the number expressed in font units. Start the name with any other letter if the guide will represent the Caps Height.

  3. Shift-drag the guide upwards or downwards to define its thickness. The thickness that you define here will correspond to the font’s vertical dimension defined by the guide name. When you place your artwork into a font, FontLab will scale your artwork so that the thickness of the guide will correspond to the required vertical dimension.

  4. Alt-drag the guide (the edge which represents the baseline) to duplicate it, and place the duplicates on other lines of your artwork if it is multi-line.

  5. If your artwork is an SVG that represents multiple glyphs, switch to the Element tool, click on the artwork and choose Element / Image / Interpret SVG. Note that gradients and other complex contour effects will be lost. If you don’t want that, import or paste the artwork for each glyph one-by-one!

  6. Click on the artwork with the Element tool, choose Element / Optically Separate or, if it’s bitmap, Element / Image / Separate and Trace. FontLab will split the artwork into single elements, or, for multi-color vector artwork, element groups, each representing one glyph.

  7. Choose Edit / Select All and choose Element / Place Named Elements. This will actually place all selected elements, whether they have a name or not, into the font that is active in the Fonts panel.

Other improvements»

  • Improved import of some SVG drawings that caused a crash.
  • New context menus on Sketchboard (separate for Element tool and for all other tools)
  • Selected elements are highlighted.
  • Other stability fixes

FontLab VI version 0.9.62 build 6162»

  • Improved: Alignment works on entire contours as well as individual points.
  • Improved Guides tool.
  • Improved stability when working with Pairs and Phrases panel.
  • Fixed: New Metrics Tab command doesn’t work after restart.
  • Fixed: The “Delete Layer” confirmation dialog hides behind panels.
  • Fixed: View panel: clicking on the Mask link sometimes moves the panel down.
  • Fixed: Selecting multiple Smart Corners behaves strangely.
  • Fixed: Wrong text wrapping in the Preview panel with OT features applied.
  • Other stability fixes.

FontLab VI version 0.9.57 build 6157»

  • Improved export of OpenType+SVG color fonts with better compatibility with existing implementations.
  • Working context bar for Kerning tool.
  • Other stability fixes.

FontLab VI version 0.9.48 build 6148»

Variations: masters and layers»

Numerous improvements have been done to how FontLab VI handles Variations (Multiple masters).

  • In the Glyph/Metrics window, the layers switcher in the top-left of the context bar allows for direct access to masters and renders their preview directly in the bar when there no more than 4 masters in the font. Alt-click for the full list of layers.
  • You can easily switch between masters using Alt, and Alt..
  • The metrics are stored now per master.
  • The Font Info dialog has ability to edit per-master data (unfinished).
  • Opening .vfb or .glyphs MM fonts and OpenType / GX Variation fonts has been improved.

Spacing and kerning»

This build introduces a brand-new spacing and kerning workflow that we have been working for a long time.

This workflow is not yet entirely finished, but we are very eager to hear your opinion!

Separate Metrics and Kerning tools»

We have separate Metrics and Kerning tools, accessible from the Toolbar. They are, in principle, similar to the Metrics and Kerning modes in FontLab Studio 5, yet far more flexible.

Pairs & Phrases panel»

We have a brand-new Pairs & Phrases panel accessible through Window / Panels. This panel can hold your “to-do” lists of words (or short phrases) and kerning pairs.

Note: the Metrics panel displays metrics for all glyphs in your font. The Kerning panel displays all kerning pairs defined in your font. The Pairs & Phrases panel is more of a “to-do” list and an intelligent text samples browser which you can walk through when defining Metrics and Kerning.

Text Phrases with the Metrics tool

When the Metrics tool is active, the Pairs & Phrases panel displays a list of Text Phrases which you can easily walk through using the Up and Down arrow keys. If your current Text is multi-line, you can walk in it using Up and Down arrow keys, and the Text will switch to the previous/next Text Phrase once you walk past the first or the last line of your current Text (we may change this behavior in future). In the panel, you can select multiple Text Phrases to be displayed, using Shift.

Use the Filter field to enter one character (not glyphname) that will subset the phrases list to phrases containing that character (you cannot use glyphnames at this point). If you choose a phrase when the panel is filtered, the filtered character will become active in the window.

The + button at the bottom right of the panel can open a Phrases file, which is a list of words or phrases, one per line, using glyphtext (UTF-8 text with /glyphname or uCODE inserts).

Pair Phrases with the Kerning tool

When the Kerning tool is active, the Pairs & Phrases panel displays a list of kerning Pair Phrases, i.e. text samples that include pairs of characters or glyphnames suitable for kerning, optionally surrounded by context, i.e. related glyphs or a word.

The Pair Phrases can include kerning pairs that you have already kerned as well as those you wish to kern. With the Up and Down arrow keys, you can go to the previous/next Pair Phrase in the list. In the panel, you can select multiple Pair Phrases to be displayed, using Shift.

If the Pair Phrase in the panel corresponds to a kerning pair already defined in your font, the panel will show its value. The panel has a group kerning toggle. When on, FontLab VI compares your existing font kerning, your kerning groups and your Pairs Phrases, and shows group-based pairs when appropriate. When the toggle is off, the Pair Phrases are shown as simple pairs, but you will still be editing group-based pairs if the corresponding glyphs are in kerning groups.

Use the Filter field to enter two space-separated glyphnames such as A V to find all Pair Phrases that refer to those glyphs. You can use the * wildcard to match the glyphs only on one side, e.g. A * or * V.

The + button at the bottom right of the panel can open a Pairs file in a number of formats. The easiest format is a newline-separated list of pairs and contexts that uses glyphtext, where the kerning pair is indicated with with the pipe (|) character:

aggr|oupment
sav|vy
c/aacute rbohy|drate
bir|ds
emplo|tment

Other formats, such as .afm or a simple list of single-character pairs without context are also supported:

A' AC AG AO AQ AT AU AV AW AY
BA BE BL BP BR BU BV BW BY
CA CO CR

Spacing with the Metrics tool»

When you select some glyphs in the Font Window and choose the Metrics tool or choose Window / New Metrics Tab, a new Metrics Window (or tab) will open in Metrics mode, similar to how it worked in FontLab Studio 5.

Use the top context bar or the left content sidebar to control the point size at which the font is displayed at the 100% zoom level (Cmd+1).

You can enable/disable the shown details using the context bar:

  • The Metrics button on the top-left of the context bar shows/hides the numeric glyph metrics display.
  • The Kerning button on the top-left of the context bar displays the current Text kerned or unkerned (so you can adjust the metrics while seeing your kerning).
  • The 3-line menu button on the top-right of the context bar provides more control over the displayed details. If you enable Center on Glyph there, the focus of the window will follow the active glyph.

The vertical Metrics panel (unfinished) provides an overview over the Width, LSB and RSB of all glyphs in the font, and can be filtered to only show a subset of the glyph set.

The horizontal Metrics table can now be docked at the top or bottom of the Metrics Window, and can display glyphs for just the current line of Text or for all Text in the Window.

To edit the glyph metrics, use the follwing keyboard shortcuts. Note: The adjustments of “1” and “10” are by default 1 and 10 font units but are customizable in Preferences / Distances.

Navigation in Metrics tool

  • Up///Down: walk to previous/next line in Text, or previous/next Text Phrase defined in Pairs & Phrases panel
  • [/] or Left/Right: walk to previous/next glyph in Text
  • ,/. or CmdLeft/CmdRight: replace active glyph with previous/next glyph in Font
  • /: enter glyph by name
  • ;: auto-calculate metrics for active glyph

Metrics editing (spacing)

  • CtrlLeft/CtrlRight: decrease/increase LSB by “1” (with Shift by “10”)
  • AltLeft/AltRight: increase/decrease RSB by “1” (with Shift by “10”)
  • CtrlAltLeft/CtrlAltRight: move glyph within the current width by “1” (with Shift by “10”)
  • -/+ or CtrlAltDown/CtrlAltUp: decrease/increase both LSB and RSB (with Shift by “10”)
  • The Cmd modifier will decrease/increase the value by 100 units, and ShiftCmd will decrease/increase it by a true 1 unit, regardless of the setting in Preferences / Distances.

Kerning with the Kerning tool»

When you select some glyphs in the Font Window and choose the Kerning tool, a new Metrics Window (or tab) will open in Kerning mode, similar to how it worked in FontLab Studio 5.

Control the point size, enable/disable shown details, as in the Metrics tool. The Metrics button shows/hides the numeric glyph metrics display, while the Kerning button is always active, since you want to view the kerning as you’re editing it.

Group kerning (class-based kerning)

The vertical Kerning panel provides an overview over the Font’s existing kerning pairs, and the Groups panel assigns glyphs to kerning groups (classes). You can also assign a glyph to a different kerning group using the Glyph Info panel.

In FontLab VI, group-based pairs are assigned directly to groups like in UFO or OpenType, not to key glyphs. The priority in which kerning pairs are applied is:

  1. glyph-to-glyph (two-side exception)
  2. glyph-to-group (1st-side exception)
  3. group-to-glyph (2nd-side exception)
  4. group-to-group

When editing kerning in the Metrics window with the Kerning tool active, FontLab VI will display representative glyphs from groups to render the pair, and will display a semi-transparent Kerning Groups cloud (that you can turn off in the View menu).

Note: you will see two glyphs next to each other when kerning, but you’ll be actually editing either glyph-based or group-based pairs, depending on whether the visible glyphs in the active pair are in kerning groups.

To edit the kerning, use the follwing keyboard shortcuts. Note: the adjustments of “1” and “10” are customizable in Preferences / Distances.

Navigation in the Kerning tool

  • Up/Down: walk to previous/next line in Text, or previous/next Pair Phrase defined in Pairs & Phrases panel
  • [/]: walk to previous/next glyph in Text. Note: Left/Right are used for editing of the kerning value!
  • ,/. or CmdLeft/CmdRight: replace active pair’s 2nd glyph with previous/next glyph in Font
  • /: enter glyph by name
  • CtrlUp/CtrlDown: if the 1st glyph in the active pair belongs to a kerning group, replace it with previous/next glyph from the same group (the kerning you edit will still apply to the same group in the 1st position)
  • AltUp/AltDown: if the 2nd glyph belongs to a group, replace it with previous/next glyph from the same group

Kerning editing

  • ;: auto-calculate kerning for the active pair
  • -/+ or Left/Right: decrease/increase the kerning value for the active pair by “1” (with Shift by “10”)
  • CtrlLeft/CtrlRight: if the 1st glyph in the active pair is in a kerning group, define an glyph-to-group exception pair and decrease/increase that exception by “1” (with Shift by “10”). Note: Once an exception has been defined, you can use the Left/Right keys without modifiers.
  • AltLeft/AltRight: if the 2nd glyph in the active pair is in a kerning group, define an group-to-glyph exception pair and decrease/increase that exception by “1” (with Shift by “10”)
  • CtrlAltLeft/CtrlAltRight: define a glyph-to-glyph exception and decrease/increase
  • Backspace: Delete the current pair. If it’s an exception, the higher-level pair will kick in, from glyph-to-glyph, to glyph-to-group, to group-to-glyph, to group-to-group, so you may to hit Backspace several times to completely remove kerning.
  • The Cmd modifier will decrease/increase the value by 100 units, and ShiftCmd will decrease/increase it by a true 1 unit, regardless of the setting in Preferences / Distances.

Other»

  • Numerous bugfixes and improvements since build 6129

FontLab VI version 0.9.5 build 6129»

Preferences»

  • The Preferences dialog box now has a menu which allows to open, save, and reset preferences.
  • Search works in the Preferences dialog box.

Variations»

  1. glyphs format import is improved to better handle MM fonts.
  2. same for VFB
  3. it is now possible to copy outline + guidelines. if outline is linked to guideline (aka powerguides), it also is copied.
  4. GW sidebar now can automatically close after certain amount of inactivity (customized in preferences > general)
  5. place element is improved
  6. few bugs related to bucket fill fixed
  7. many more bug fixes (incl. 2 crash-bugs).

FontLab VI version 0.9.5 build 6117»

Release notes

User interface»

  • When a panel is undocked, it now has a rectangular toggle in its title bar. This toggle controls whether the panel is dockable or not dockable. If the panel is not dockable, it will not automatically docked to other panels or the edges of the window when moved around.

  • When panels are docked together in a group, each panel has an icon on the label on the bottom.

Variations (Multiple Master, Interpolation)»

  • Additional fixes for handling Variations, including better support for opening VFB MM fonts and OpenType Variations / GX Variations .ttf fonts. This functionality is still under development.

Working with Metrics»

  • New: customizable text point size in the Metrics tool, that can be changed in the top context bar or in the left sidebar of the Metrics Window. The point size refers to the Zoom level Actual Text Size (Cmd+1).

  • Improved Font / Link Glyph Metrics operation that allows you to create metrics formulas (more powerful Metrics Classes) in a flexible way. It can link LSB and RSB of dependent glyphs to some key glyphs fully automatically, including a customizable precision (so for example, the D glyph can have the LSB set to H and the RSB set to O+2). You can also specify the key glyphs yourself, then FontLab VI will pick the closest glyph from the key glyphs list when linking sidebearings.

Working with Overlaps»

  • New Contour / Make Overlap operation that creates an overlap for a group of selected nodes.

  • New Glyph / Create Overlaps operation that tries to automatically create overlaps for a glyph or selected glyphs (it will create overlaps on vertical and horizontal stem connections).

  • Note: Contour / Remove Overlaps currently only works on the entire element, not selected nodes.

Other»

  • New Glyph / Create Bubbles operation that automatically creates bubbles for bubble-based kerning (experimental).

  • Numerous bugfixes and improvements since build 6082

FontLab VI version 0.9.3 build 6082»

Release notes

User interface»

  • Brand-new Window / Panels List toolbar that allows quick access to all the app’s panels.

Variations (Variable Fonts, Multiple Master, Interpolation)»

This build introduces preliminary support for Variations (i.e. interpolation, a successor to FontLab Studio’s Multiple Master model). Many aspects are not finalized yet, including some functionality, the user interface, and interpolation of certain parameters such as kerning.

The Variations model in FontLab VI is compatible with OpenType Variable Fonts, MutatorMath, Superpolator and GX Variations. It allows for an arbitrary number of axes and arbitrary number of masters (including intermediate masters in the middle of an axis). It is much more flexible that the FLS5 Multiple Master approach, but still backwards-compatible with MM.

FLVI Variations work across fonts and across layers within each font. If Preferences / Open Fonts / Separate masters imported… is on, multi-axis fonts will be opened as separate fonts, if it’s off, they’ll be opened as layers within one font.

  • This build includes a new Window / Panels / Variations panel and a new File / Font Info / Variations section that allows you to perform interpolation.
  • File / Font Info / Variations, you can specify the font’s axes. By default, each font has predefined weight and width axes, but you can add additional axes. The default scale of each axis is 0–1000. You can also specify non-linear interpolation along each axis, for X and Y separately.
  • In the Window / Panels / Layers panel, you can add, remove or edit layers which act as masters. For example, the layer named mm.wt=900 specifies that the layer acts as a master at the position 900 of the wt (weight) axis. You can also specify additional masters for just specific glyphs! (Note: this is not finalized yet.)
  • In the Window / Panels / Variations panel, you can select an instance that will be visible in the Preview panel, using a Map or List view. In the List view, you can also tune anisotropic interpolation for X and Y (specifying the multiplier between 0x and 2x). There, you can also create a new layer or a new font for a given instance.

Glyph management»

  • Glyph / Generate Glyphs / Custom now supports the RoboFont GlyphConstruction notation
  • Glyph / Add Glyphs allows you to easily add placeholder glyphs for various Unicode scripts and categories

Composite glyphs»

  • If Preferences / Operations / Detect clones / Lock references to the core element is on, FLVI will not allow editing components inside composite glyphs directly. Instead, the element that represents a component inside a composite glyph will be locked. If you double-click on such a locked element, its “parent glyph” will open for editing. This simulates how components are edited in FontLab Studio 5 and other font editors.

Importing artwork / ScanFont»

  • If you import an SVG graphic, FLVI will now store the original SVG, retain all the advanced effects such as gradients, and only allow you to move or scale it, but not edit its contents. If you choose Element / Image / Interpret SVG, only then FLVI will convert the imported SVG into a group of FontLab elements. Some advanced effects such as gradients may get lost, but you will be able to precisely edit the contours of the imported artwork.
  • ScanFont functionality: If you paste or import a bitmap or outline-based alphabet or word into the Sketchboard, you can then choose Element / Optically Separate the artwork into separate elements. FLVI will even perform OCR (controlled via Preferences / Operations) and try to assign meaningful names to the elements that represent letters or digits. Or you can assign names to the elements using the Elements panel. Then choose Element / Place Named Elements to quickly add all the named elements into the currently open font, or choose Element / Place Element… to add the currently selected element individually.

Other»

  • Numerous bugfixes and improvements since build 6046

FontLab VI version 0.9.2 build 6046»

Release notes

Glyph management»

  • The top-right corner of the Glyph window has a new Note popup
  • Notes and Stickers now use Markdown so you can add formatting to your notes and stickers
  • Generally improved Copy-Paste
  • New: Edit / Copy Layer, works in both Font and Glyph window. Allows duplicating a layer, copying a layer from one font to another, etc.
  • You can now copy an element from the Glyph window and then paste it to many glyphs in the Font window.

Glyph editing»

  • Improved Eraser tool in smart mode (with Shift, removes only non-essential nodes)
  • Improved View / Suggest Stems
  • Improved Tools / Transform / Free transform (Cmd+T), now snaps to guidelines etc.
  • New View / Ghosts shows or hides subtle rendering of font metrics, zones and PS hints (full rendering can still be enabled using the individual View / Show entries or the Window / View panel)
  • Improved Fill tool, will no longer unnecessarily produce compound elements
  • Fixed problems with Contour / Join
  • Fixed Knife tool, the Ctrl and Alt modifiers work correctly now
  • New context bar for guidelines, PS hints and zones that allows changing their color or type

TrueType hinting (TTH) tools»

  • When the TTH tool is active, the popups for editing stem, zone and other font-wide TTH info in the context bar now work correctly, and can be closed via CmdEnter.
  • TTH stems, zones and points are all now referenced by their names in the TTH programs, so they are much more portable, especially when copy-pasting the TTH program using the right section of the TTH panel. If you rename a stem or zone, a dialog box will allow you to update the name in all TTH programs.

User interface»

  • Fixed behavior of the context bar (the property bar on top of the Glyph window)
  • Improved automatic window resizing when you undock a Font/Glyph tab

Other»

  • File / Font Info: editing of stems now works, some bug fixes
  • New cell captions in the Font Window: Character (shows “3” for the three glyph, “3.sups” for three.sups and the glyph name for unrecognized glyphs) and Cell index (shows the running number of the cell in the current view)
  • Improved reading/saving of stem info and the Font Info Curve tension and Corner tension parameters in VFC format
  • Improved reading of the .glyphs format
  • Numerous other bugfixes and improvements

Still to do»

There are three major areas in which this build does not yet have the planned functionality. We’re still hard at work on them:

  1. Multiple master designs: interpolation/superpolation
  2. Composite glyphs: more “native” handling of traditional components, as found in TTF, VFB and UFO, including their TT hinting
  3. User interface: improved handling of panels and multiple windows

In other areas, we’re working of course on improvements, and are keen to receive your feedback on our FontLab Forum!

FontLab VI version 0.9.1 build 6025»

Release notes

TrueType hinting (TTH) tools»

  • Completely new TrueType hinting (TTH) tool, backwards-compatible with the FontLab Studio 5 manual TrueType hinting but with numerous improvements
  • Brand-new, superbly legible UI for TTH
  • Not fully functional yet, but good for community feedback regarding UI and functionality
  • Integrated true Microsoft ClearType rasterization preview, even in the Mac OS X version of FontLab VI
  • Ability to edit existing commands (move them to different points), so no need to delete old command and and add a new one if you make a mistake
  • Ability to apply TTH commands to PostScript outlines (no need to keep separate PS and TT versions of source files)
  • TTH commands survive operations such as removing and restoring overlaps
  • TTH commands are applied to points using point names, so they survive adding or removing points
  • Ability to show/hide off-curve points
  • Hinting suggestions: automatic highlighting of most important points that need to be hinted
  • Zones and stems are subject to glyph tags (experimental), so they may appear only in certain glyphs such as lowercase-only or uppercase-only (much better automatic selection of stems for link commands)
  • New TTH program panel with editable plain-text FL TTH sources (great for copy-pasting)
  • Intelligent Paste Special which will smartly transfer TTH commands between different fonts or different glyphs within a font
  • New Hinting commands in Tools / Actions
  • New TrueType Autohinting section in Preferences
  • Currently, the generated TT instructions bytecode is fully compatible with FLS5. We’re working on introducing ClearType- and DirectWrite-savvy branching and other improvements.

User interface»

  • Brand-new Edit / Paste Special command (currently works for metrics and TrueType hinting)
  • Window / “New Glyph Tab” and “New Metrics Tab” open tabs in different preconfigured arrangements, similar to FLS5 “New Glyph Window” and “New Metrics Window”
  • The toolbar commands work in the Font Window: select multiple glyphs, and click on one of the Toolbar icons to open a new window with that tool applied (e.g. Contour, Metrics, Text or TrueType hinting)
  • New Preferences section: Font window / Caption content is editable (if off, it’s not possible to accidentally rename a glyph in the Font Window)

Metrics»

  • New Window / Metrics panel, similar to the Metrics list in FLS5 Metrics Window
  • New Preferences section: Editing / Automatically update linked metrics (experimental, may be slow; with this option enabled, all metrics formulas are instantly recalculated upon any change)
  • Countless minor improvements in metrics editing (we are working on a comprehensive tutorial)

Other»

  • More than a hundred bugfixes and improvements since build 5974