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Release Notes»

Table of Contents

Release Notes»

FontLab VI version 6.1.1.6879»

2 November 2018

Version 6.1.1.6879 fixes a few issues on top of 6.1.1.6878:

  • All composite glyphs (including those where the source glyphs contain images) now appear in the Font window glyph cells, in the Layers & Masters panel and in the Elements panel. The Element Frame is shown around all components if View > Element Frame is turned on.
  • The checkbox Preferences > Glyph Window > Highlight nodes on alignment zones works correctly now. Previously, the highlight (pale gray rectangle superimposed over a node) appeared regardless of this setting.
  • Scaled image elements retain their scaling in OpenType+CBDT fonts

FontLab VI 6.1.1 adds a few enhancements and some bug fixes on top of our recent 6.1 release. Please check the web version of the Release Notes for details.

In FontLab 6.1, we restarted the free 30-day trial period. If you’ve tried FontLab VI before, and your trial expired, you can download FontLab VI 6.1 and enjoy it again for a month!

Backwards compatibility note: If you save a VFC file in FontLab 6.1.x, you might not be able to open it in 6.0.x (definitely not if it uses Components). You definitely cannot open a VFJ file saved from 6.1.x in 6.0.x. Version 6.1.1 is a highly recommended update, but if you want to keep an older version installed as well, you can always rename the older app before you install 6.1.1.

FontLab VI version 6.1.1.6878»

1 November 2018

New Features / Enhancements»

Alternative view in Glyph window»

You can now quickly switch between a “detailed” (basic) and a “minimalist” (alternative) view of your glyphs inside the Glyph window using the View > Alternative View menu toggle, the Cmd/ (macOS) or Ctrl/ (Windows) keyboard shortcut, or the “A/B” icon in the View panel.

When you open a Glyph window, some aspects or properties of your glyph are shown (visualized), and some are not shown, for example Nodes, Handles, Guides, Ruler etc.

You can turn these so-called View details on and off using the View menu (including the View > Show submenu), the Window > Panels > View panel, or (for some key details) directly in the Toolbar.

Press Cmd/ (macOS) or Ctrl/ (Windows) to turn on the alternative view. Your Glyph window becomes much more “minimalist”—most View details are hidden, so you have a very clean view. Here, you can also change (customize) the View details.

Press Cmd/ / Ctrl/ again to turn off the alternative view. You’re now back to the basic view so you see your Glyph window as it was before you turned alternative view on. Press the shortcut again, you’re in the alternative view again.

Instead of laboriously turning some particular details on or off, you can use Cmd/ / Ctrl/ to quickly switch between the basic view that has some more details (that you can customize), and the alternative view that is more minimalistic (that you can also customize).

The following sections describe how this works in a bit more detail.

Current and default View details»

When you change the View details in any Glyph window, FontLab remembers the them as current View details for the current Glyph window, and as the default View details for any new Glyph window that you create from within a Font window. When you change the current View details, FontLab will not change the View details of other Glyph windows that are already open. When you open a Glyph window from within an existing Glyph window, the new window will have the same View details as the current View details. Each window’s View details are also saved in the VFC or VFJ.

View details in Metrics, Kerning and Text mode»

The Metrics mode (when you activate the Metrics tool), the Kerning mode (when you activate the Kerning tool) and the Text mode (when you activate the Text tool) have View details that are separate from the common View details used in other modes. So when you change the View details in a Metrics window (a Glyph window that is in the Metrics mode), you change the default View details for the Metrics mode only, not the common View details.

Basic and Alternative view»

The common View details, and the View details for the Metrics, Kerning and Text modes, now have two sets of details: basic and alternative. Normally, each window opens in basic view, that is, it uses using a basic set of View details, which you can change in the way described above.

But when you turn on View > Alternative View, or press Cmd/ (macOS) or Ctrl/ (Windows), the window changes to the alternative view, that is, it then uses an alternative set of View details.

The starting point for the basic view is to show more information, while the starting point for the alternative view is more minimalist. But you can customize each as you prefer.

When you switch tools in a Glyph window, FontLab remembers whether you were in the basic or alternative view per mode and stores both the basic set of View details and the alternative set of View details separately for the common mode, the Metrics mode, the Kerning mode and the Text mode.

For example, when you’re in the Contour tool (common mode), you activate the Metrics tool (Metrics mode) and press Cmd/ to turn on Alternative View, the Metrics mode now shows the alternative set of View details. You can change these details (and those will be remembered as the default alternative View details for the Metrics mode). When you then activate the Contour tool, you’re back to the basic view of the common mode.

So effectively, FontLab VI now has eight “default sets” of View details: basic common, alternative common, basic Metrics, alternative Metrics, basic Kerning, alternative Kerning, basic Text and alternative Text. Whenever you’re one of these in a Glyph window and you change the View details, you’re influencing the current details and the default details. But remember: the default details will be used if you open a new Glyph window from a Font window. When you open a Glyph window from an existing window, the current details will be used. One of the eight “default sets” only changes when you actually change some details.

View details when you upgrade FontLab or open a VFC/VFJ»

If you’ve upgraded FontLab VI to 6.1.1 from a previous version, or if you open a previously-saved VFC or VFJ, your basic view won’t change, but the alternative view will be more minimalistic. If you install FontLab VI from scratch or if you reset FontLab’s preferences, the basic view will have some additional details turned on (because we now have the alternative view). But you can always turn the details on or off in each view and mode.

Glyph placeholders»

FontLab renders light placeholder glyphs in the background in the Glyph window for your reference. These are character placeholders or missing glyph placeholders.

Character placeholders»

Character placeholders are rendered in light gray, and are shown when a glyph exists but is blank, lacking any content.

Character placeholders are now on by default, but they will now hide automatically if you draw anything in the glyph. You can completely hide them via View > Character Placeholders, or you can show them even if the glyph has some content by turning off the new Preferences > Editing > Hide character placeholders if layer is not empty setting.

Missing glyph placeholders»

Missing glyph placeholders are rendered in pale blue, and are used if the text of a Glyph window contains some characters or glyph names but the corresponding glyphs do not exist in the font.

New: If you select some empty glyph cells in the Font window (produced by a prospective filter) and then choose Window > New Glyph Tab or New Metrics Tab or New Kerning Tab, or if you click the Contour or Text tool in the Toolbar, a new Glyph window will open, and the window’s text will contain the characters or glyph names for the missing glyphs.

The missing glyph placeholders will be shown. When you navigate through your Text via Text > Next in Text or Previous in Text, FontLab will skip the missing glyphs but if you double-click on any of the missing glyph placeholders, FontLab will create the glyphs. Previously, creating glyphs was only possible in the Font window.

If you turn off Preferences > Editing > Show missing glyph placeholders, you won’t see the missing glyphs placeholders in the Glyph window, and you won’t be able to create them there.

User interface»

Window and tab switching»

Previously, the keyboard shortcut Cmd` was Next Tab or Window and ShiftCmd` was Previous Tab or Window. If you’ve worked with multiple windows and multiple tabs within them, the switching was not very intuitive.

Now, the keyboard shortcuts for switching windows are: Cmd` (Next Window) and ShiftCmd` (Previous Window). This is consistent with other apps. The keyboard shortcuts for switching tabs are:

  • on macOS: AltTab (Next Tab) and ShiftAltTab (Previous Tab). Unfortunately, this is inconsistent with how other apps works, for certain technical reasons. We are working towards improving this.
  • on Windows: CtrlTab (Next Tab) and ShiftCtrlTab (Previous Tab)

Non-English keyboard shortcuts»

Preferences > General now has new Non-English keyboard shortcuts setting. If you turn it on, FontLab will interpret single-key keystrokes (like those for activating tools) as if your active keyboard layout was English even if it actually is something else.

So with this option on, if you use a Russian, Arabic or German keyboard layout, the key to the right of the P key will be interpreted as ++LeftBracket++ (the shortcut for Text > Previous in Text), and the top-left letter key will always be interpreted as Q (Scissors tool).

Glyph window zoom»

When you choose View > Zoom > Zoom… or click on the 3rd button in the bottom-right corner of the Glyph window, you get the Free Zoom tool where you can zoom in via click or click-and-drag, and zoom out via Alt-click.

Font window»

  • The Font window got two more increments for a predefined number of columns: 10 and 12.

  • In the Font window Property bar, if you Shift-click on the tiny + and - color flag buttons, the flag’s color value increases or decreases by 10. Simple click still changes the color value by 1. Also, it is now possible to use these buttons on unflagged glyphs (the transparent flag has the numerical value of 0).

  • The “quick look” preview of a glyph that appears when you press Space in the Font window now lists synonym glyph names.

  • The Scripts > Cyrillic section of the Font window sidebar was simplified: it now includes a Basic Cyrillic subsection that includes characters for Belorussian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian and Ukrainian (without localized glyph variants), while the Extended Cyrillic and Historic Cyrillic contain the other Unicode characters for the Cyrillic script.

Other improvements»

Text frames on Sketchboard»

The text frames that you can create on the Sketchboard using the Text tool now include a Features button (“fi” icon). Click the button and turn on the Features checkbox to activate Unicode and OpenType processing of the text. This will activate bidirectional or right-to-left support and will let you turn some features on and off. Previously, bidirectional text did not work in Sketchboard text frames. Note: Use the Fonts panel to switch the font in a Sketchboard text frame.

Paste Special»

The Edit > Paste Special dialog now has a checkbox that lets you paste color flags to all layers/masters of the font (instead of just the current layer).

Opening VFC/VFJ files»

When opening a VFC or VFJ file, FontLab will detect and correct some structural problems.

If the font has multiple glyphs that have the same name, a dialog appears to alert you. When you click OK, FontLab will rename the conflicting glyphs by assigning a unique numeric suffix to all but one, and will print a report in the Output panel.

If the font has multiple separate elements that have the same name, a dialog appears that offers you to Rename the conflicting elements by assigning a unique numeric suffix to all but one, Keep As Is or Clean Up (convert the elements into references if they are identical or rename if they’re not).

If the font contains any element that is referenced across multiple layers, a dialog appears to alert you. When you click OK, FontLab will unlink the problematic references. Currently, referencing elements across layers leads to technical problems — we plan to re-introduce this ability when we’ve ironed these out.

New defaults»

In addition to the new default View settings in the Glyph window, we’ve changed some additional defaults. If you’ve upgraded FontLab, the app will keep your current preferences.

  • FontLab VI on macOS will now by default start with Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration set to Fonts open in windows, glyphs open in tabs.

  • The View > Zoom > Actual Text Size zoom level (Cmd1) which is used if you open a new Metrics tab is now by default 128 rather than 288. This is more appropriate for most spacing workflows.

  • Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is now on by default, so when you create new fonts or open fonts, FontLab will work in all-integer mode.

  • When you create a new font via File > New Font, the Font window will show the Latin Simple encoding as the prospective filter, so you will see 232 glyph cells suitable for a simple Western Latin-script font. You can switch to any other encoding or other prospective filter using the Filter dropdown or the Font window sidebar.

  • When you open an existing TTF, OTF or UFO font, FontLab will not apply any prospective filter, so the Font window will show all glyphs in your font ordered automatically. To change the default prospective filter and glyph ordering for opened TTF, OTF or UFO fonts, change the defaults in Preferences > Font window.

Kerning mode»

In the Kerning mode, numerical kerning values are shown the effective size of 72 points above. Setting the Actual Text Size below 72 or zooming out below that effective size hides numerical kerning values in the Glyph window canvas.

Bug fixes»

  • When exporting variable font instances (other than masters) to OpenType TT and OpenType PS, FontLab no longer loses name table data (including designer URL, trademark and font version).

  • FontLab interpolates and exports PostScript hints correctly, when generating standalone instances from a variable font.

  • No crash when exporting font using kerning classes, to VFB.

  • When exporting to UFO format, FontLab doesn’t rename kerning groups as long as they meet the naming rules required for UFO.

  • When scaling components using the Free Transform operation, FontLab shows contours filled correctly without a shift in the fill.

  • Crash when exporting font with kerning classes to VFB is fixed.

  • After MM vfb file import, Fontlab no longer shows glyphs from the wrong master when typing in Text mode.

  • Keyboard shortcuts for Text > Next Phrase and Previous Phrase commands are now working properly in the Metrics and Kerning modes.

  • In Kerning mode, the Glyph window Property bar correctly updates the current pair when you add a kerning class. Previously the new class was not available immediately.

  • In the Kerning mode, toggling the Ruler off and then on again (CmdR) correctly shows the “spacing” ruler instead of the “drawing” ruler.

  • Changing metrics in the Glyph panel, for a glyph selected in the Font window, can now be undone.

  • Under some circumstances, you could move nodes within a component without going into component editing. This has been fixed.

  • FontLab does not crash when you create a circular component reference (for example, A uses B, but B also uses A). Instead, a corresponding warning appears in the Output panel.

  • The reset x button now works properly in the Search field of the Features panel.

  • Adjusting glyph metrics using Actions > Adjust metrics by percentage works properly now.

  • An issue in Actions > Match Metrics is fixed, so you can copy the advance width from one master to other masters.

  • Node names were sometimes shown regardless of the preferences and view settings. This is fixed now.

  • Under some circumstances, new fonts (or newly opened fonts from formats other than VFC) would not pick up the correct settings for showing sidebearings, metrics, etc. This has been fixed. (See also: Alternative View to quickly toggle between two groups of view settings.)

  • The state of the View > Glyphs Bar menu toggle is now in sync with the Glyphs bar visibility in different Glyph window modes.

  • When exporting to UFO3, FontLab no longer builds unneeded decomposed background layers for composite glyphs.

  • The metrics values in the Metrics Table visually refresh as expected.

FontLab VI version 6.1.0.6871»

25 October 2018

Introduction»

FontLab VI 6.1.0 brings major new features:

and a wealth of other large and small enhancements, as well as bug fixes.

We’ve also reset the free 30-day trial period. If you’ve tried FontLab VI before and your trial has expired, you can download FontLab VI 6.1 and enjoy it again for a month!

Additional Reading»

New Features / Enhancements»

Glyph Drawing»

Length or angle of handles and line segments»

The Glyph window now shows not only the coordinates of a node or a handle but also the length of handles and line segments if they are perfectly horizontal or vertical, or, otherwise, their angle.

  • To see coordinates for only the node that you hover over with your pointer, turn on Preferences > Glyph Window > Show coordinates and turn off View > Show > Coordinates. To also see lengths or angles of adjacent handles and line segments, also turn on Preferences > Glyph Window > Show lengths and angles.
  • To see coordinates and lengths or angles also for all or selected nodes, turn on View > Show > Coordinates, and in Preferences > Glyph Window > Show coordinates, choose all or selected.
  • To hide lengths and angles but still see coordinates, turn off Preferences > Glyph Window > Show lengths and angles.
  • To completely hide coordinates, lengths and angles, turn off Preferences > Glyph Window > Show coordinates.

Free Transform corner scaling»

When you use Free Transform (CmdT) to scale a selection (contours, image, element) by the corner, the scaling is now non-proportional (independent in X and Y). Hold Shift to constrain to proportional scaling.

Previously, scaling was proportional without Shift and non-proportional with Shift. If you prefer that old behavior, turn on Preferences > Editing > Free Transform scaling: non-proportional with Shift, otherwise proportional.

Zoom sub-menu in View menu»

The View menu now has a Zoom sub-menu that lists all the zoom-related entries that were previously listed directly in the View menu.

Scoreboard»

The Scoreboard now displays and updates coordinates of anchors, pins, guidelines, hints, zones, and the measurement line, when you move them with arrow keys.

Components and Elements»

Components»

FontLab VI 6.1 (re-)introduces Components as a standards-compliant way to build glyphs from other glyphs.

Components in FontLab VI 6.1 work very much like components in FontLab Studio 5, UFO or in TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts. Components in FontLab VI 6.1 point to a source glyph and have a transformation (usually shift, optionally also scale, rotation or slant). That’s it. If you’ve used Components any other font editor, you’ll find yourself at home easily.

To start using Components:

  • Open a TTF, VFB or UFO if Preferences > Open Fonts > Use Components is on.
  • Open a VFC or VFJ, select all glyphs in the Font window, and choose Element > Element Reference > References to Components. Repeat this for each master.

In previous versions of FontLab VI, you could use Element References to work with repeatable shapes across a font. Element References work great when you want to re-use a design pieces such as a stem, a serif or other glyph fragments (contours or images) across multiple glyphs in the same layer, and maintain a link between all the places where you’ve placed it. All Element References are equal. There is no source glyph to which they point to — they all link to each other. Element References have no knowledge about glyph metrics or anchors. In a way, they’re very similar to subroutines used in PostScript-flavored (CFF) OpenType fonts.

Previous versions of FontLab VI simulated components using Element References, by locking some references and dynamically finding the best candidate glyph for a component source. But this was never a fully satisfying experience, so we’ve decided to add support for real Components.

Element References are great if you link between pieces of glyphs, or even between pieces within the same glyph. Components are great if you build composite glyphs from other glyphs. So FontLab VI 6.1 has both mechanisms, each to fit its purpose.

You can build composite glyphs from Components in one or all masters — via Generate Glyphs, Add Component, Copy-Paste or Auto Layers. You can mix Components and simple contours in one layer. You can use nested Components that point to glyphs that are made of Components (for example, you can build a dieresiscomb glyph from two dotaccentcomb Components, and then build Adieresis from the Components A and dieresiscomb).

FontLab VI will keep your Component structure when it exports your font to a format that supports components (TTF, VFB, UFO), and will decompose Components as needed when a format does not support components at all, or does not support some aspects such as rotated Components or Components mixed with contours.

Start using Components»

You can decide to use Components or keep using Element References in FontLab VI. For that, in Preferences > Open Fonts > Composite glyphs, choose:

  • Use components and FontLab VI will prefer to use Components.
  • Convert components to element references and FontLab VI will prefer to use Element References.

Opening FontLab VI files (VFC, VFJ)»

When you open a font in the .vfc or .vfj format, FontLab will keep your Element References as Element References, and will keep your Components as Components. If you wish, you can convert Element References to Components at any time (see below).

The exception is Auto Layers, since FontLab builds them dynamically: if Use components is on, FontLab will use Components, and if Convert components to element references is on, FontLab will use Element References to dynamically build your Auto Layers.

Opening font formats that support components»

When you open a font in a format that supports components (.ttf, .vfb, .ufo, .fog, .glyphs, and their derivatives such as .woff):

  • if Use components is on, FontLab will import the Components exactly as they are in the font
  • if Convert components to element references is on, FontLab will convert the components to Element References

Opening font formats that don’t support components»

If you turn on Preferences > Open Fonts > Detect composites and open a font in a format that does not support components (e.g. .otf or Type 1), FontLab will build Element References between repeating contours across the font. If Use components is on, FontLab will then convert Element References to Components (see below).

Converting Element References to Components»

To convert existing Element References to Components, select all (or some) glyphs in the Font window, and choose Element > Element Reference > References to Components. Repeat this for each master.

  • If the font has a glyph where a referenced Element is used by itself, FontLab will use it as the source glyph for the Components, and will convert all other Element References into Components.
  • If the font has is more than one glyph where a referenced Element is used by itself, FontLab will use the glyph as source where the referenced Element is unlocked and is “least transformed”, i.e. it is placed closest to the origin point (0, 0) and has no other transformations applied.
  • If the font does not have a glyph that can be used as the source glyph for the Components, FontLab will keep Element References as they were.

If you’ve created some “helper glyphs” that hold your design parts like serifs or stems, then Element References to those glyphs will be converted to Components.

If you use Element > Element Reference > References to Components in the Glyph window, FontLab will attempt to convert all Element References in the current layer into Components using the just-described mechanism.

Automatically adding components»

If Use components is on, FontLab will use Components:

  • when you use Font > Generate Glyphs
  • when you turn on Glyph > Auto Layer for a glyph layer or turn on the Auto layer button in the Layers & Masters panel
  • when you have Preferences > Operations > New glyphs > fill created glyphs with content when available turned on and you double-click on an empty glyph cell in the Font window
  • when you perform Font > Detect Composites (will use them if it can)

If Convert components to element references is on, FontLab will use Element References instead (and the menu item will be Font > Detect Element References).

Tip: To quickly replace your manually-constructed composite glyph master with an automatically generated glyph master that will use the “correct” components (if it’s in FontLab’s alias.dat database), turn on Glyph > Auto Layer. If you want to correct the placement of the components, turn Glyph > Auto Layer off.

Glyph > Add Component…»

Choose Glyph > Add Component… in the Glyph window (or right-click and choose it from the context menu) to add a component to the current master or all masters of your current glyph. Or use it in the Font window to add the same component to multiple glyphs at once.

In the Add Component dialog, start typing the glyph name of the component you want to add, and you’ll see a list of results. When the Find glyph name synonyms toggle is on, FontLab will also find Decyr if you type in uni0414 or vice-versa. By default, FontLab will insert the first glyph on the list but you can pick a different one.

At the bottom of the dialog, you can decide where to place the inserted component:

  • If you leave the X and Y fields empty, FontLab will:
    • use matching anchors if available (e.g. top in the current glyph and _top in the component glyph)
    • otherwise it will center the inserted component horizontally, and will shift the component upwards by the difference of caps height and x-height if you’re adding a mark component to an uppercase letter, but will do no vertical shift if the mark’s name ends with .case or .cap or if you’re adding a component that isn’t a mark
  • You can enter a numeric value into either X or Y or both, then FontLab will use the value for the specified coordinate, but if a field is blank, FontLab will use the above procedure for that coordinate (so you can enter 0 in Y and leave X blank, and you’ll get a horizontally centered component with no vertical shift)
  • You can enter an anchor name into either field — if the current glyph and the component have several matching anchors, the specified anchor will be used
  • You can also mix anchor-based and absolute positioning, e.g. enter 0 into X and top into Y will place the component at the origin point horizontally but use the specified anchor for vertical positioning

Use the Flip horizontally and Flip vertically buttons to mirror the inserted component.

Choose whether the current glyph should keep its metrics, or whether the advance width should be replaced by the width of the inserted component.

Use the Apply to all masters toggle to insert the component into the current master or to all masters.

Copy-Paste»

In Font window, select one glyph cell and choose Edit > Copy. Then select one or more glyph cells and choose Edit > Paste Components, and FontLab will insert the copied glyph as a component into all selected glyphs in all masters.

In Font window, select more than one glyph cells and choose Edit > Copy. Then select one ore more glyph cells and choose Edit > Paste Components, and then FontLab will insert the first copied glyph as a component into the first selected glyph, the second copied glyph as a component into the second selected glyph, and so on — again, in all masters.

Using Components»

Components in FontLab VI 6.1 are special Elements which are “glyph filters.” So you can use the Element tool to move components (but you can also use the Contour tool). You can use most of the Element menu and the Elements panel to work with Components. For example:

  • Use the < and > keys to switch between Components in the current glyph.
  • To open the Component’s source glyph for editing next to your current glyph, double-click a Component, or when a Component is active, press CtrlE, or right-click and choose Edit Element, or choose Element > Element Reference > Edit Element.
  • To make a Component “first”, choose Element > Arrange > Send to Back or drag the Component to the bottom of the components list in the Elements panel.
  • Align components and other elements within the glyph layer with the the Element > Align menu items.
  • Use Element > Group if you want to always move several components in a glyph together, and Ungroup them if you don’t.

Replace a Component»

When you use the Contour or the Element tool and a Component is active, the Glyph window property bar will show an underlined C: icon, and a text field that shows the name of the component’s source glyph.

Type a different glyph name (or a synonym) into the text field, or click on the C: icon and type it in the Replace Component dialog, and press Enter — and the current component will be replaced in the current master with a component that points to a different glyph.

You can also replace a component in the current master by typing a new glyph name in the Glyph name field of the Elements panel (use the Show element properties to show the field).

To replace a component in all layers, you need to perform the replacement in each layer.

Decompose»

When a Component is active in the Glyph window, you can click on the Decompose button in the Glyph window property bar on in the Elements panel, and the component will be decomposed in the current layer, i.e. its contours and guidelines will be inserted into the current glyph.

To Decompose all components in the current layer, choose Glyph > Decompose or right-click in the Glyph window and choose Decompose from the context menu. However, if you’re in the Element tool and you Shift-click one or more Components, Glyph > Decompose and Decompose context menu item will decompose only the selected component(s).

When decomposing Components, FontLab will combine the contours of the decomposed Components and contours that pre-existed in the glyph into one single element — unless the source glyphs used different strokes or color fills.

Note:

  • Element > Expand Filters will decompose a Component and remove any other Filters that exist in the source glyphs (for example Power Brush)
  • Glyph > Flatten Glyph will decompose, remove filters and combine the decomposed elements into a single Element if possible
  • Element > Separate Contours to Elements and Element > Optically Separate will also decompose, and then perform the separation

Composite glyphs in the Elements panel»

The Element References section of the Elements panel (when you turn on Show element references button, the section appears at the bottom of the panel) shows glyphs in which the current element is used as a component or as an element reference.

  • Double-click a glyph cell there to open the glyph next to the current glyph in the Glyph window
  • Cmd-double-click a glyph cell there to open the glyph replacing the current glyph in the Glyph window
  • select multiple glyph cells and press Enter to open all selected glyphs in the Glyph window

If you select a component in the Elements panel, then select multiple glyph cells in the Element References section, and then in the Element Properties section you apply an X or Y shift, the component will be shifted in all selected glyphs.

Some fields in the Elements panel change when you are working in a glyph that has Components, for example, the Glyph Name field appears. If the layer is an Auto layer, many properties (such as advance width) become non-editable, because they are built automatically by the Auto layers recipe.

Components/elements in Auto layers»

When viewing a glyph with an Auto layer in Glyph window, you can now double-click a component (or an unlocked element reference that has a “source glyph”) to open that component’s source glyph for editing next to the current glyph.

Contour tool and locked elements»

In a Glyph window, when Edit Across Elements is on, the Contour tool is selected, and the current element is not locked, Edit > Select All (CmdA) now selects all contours of all elements in the current glyph. If the current element is locked, or the Element tool is selected, Edit > Select All (CmdA) selects elements.

Remove Empty Elements action»

Remove Empty Elements is a new command in the Actions dialog, which removes empty Elements and references to them.

Measurements Panel»

The Measurements panel is a table where you can keep track of the most important proportions and numerical values of your design. You can open the panel with View > Panel > Measurements.

The panel’s rows are predefined measurements for uppercase and lowercase letters: vertical and horizontal round and straight stems and their ratios, counters, overshoots, the contrast and some font-wide dimensions. To show/hide some measurements, click the Options button at the bottom.

These measurements are for your reference only, and are independent of the font’s technical values in Font Info. FontLab will save them in your VFC/VFJ, but not write any of those values (e.g. stems or Ascender) into Font Info or the exported font.

If you have multiple masters, the first column shows the measurements for the current master, then values for all masters are shown. To switch the master, double-click the the column heading.

To enter your own value, double-click a cell.

To auto-calculate some measurements, select the cells in the panel and click the Recalculate button at the bottom. This is useful if you’ve added more glyphs to your font or have entered some custom values that you no longer need. Note: auto-calculation uses Latin glyphs from your font.

If you need to note down a custom measurement that is not in the list, use any predefined measurement row to your liking.

Glyph Set»

Font filters and Font window sidebar»

In the Font window, you can use font filters to find certain glyphs in the Font window, and to focus on them by sorting them ahead of (or displaying instead of) other glyphs. Note: Do not confuse font filters with glyph filters in the Glyph window — those are for special effects like Power Brush or Smart Corner.

The Font window in FontLab VI had a Sidebar with the Search History and Bookmarks sections. In FontLab VI 6.1, the Font window Sidebar is much more powerful. It now also has:

  • a Basics section for beginners
  • a Categories section that lets you filter glyphs by their Unicode categories or OpenType glyph class definitions, by some design properties (glyphs that use components, glyph filters or color), and by the layers that each glyph includes
  • a Scripts section that lets you filter glyphs by their Unicode script (writing system)

FontLab VI 6.1 also has an easier way to hide unfiltered glyphs in the Font window and the ability to Search for glyphs using their synonym names or layer names that they contain.

The Font window shows all glyphs that exist in your font, sorted by whatever you choose in the Font window’s property bar Sort dropdown. But if you want to focus on a particular set of glyphs or if you want to create some glyphs that don’t exist in your font yet, you can use a font filter.

Font filters show you the glyphs that exist in your font and match some specific criteria. Font filters differ in how they perform the matching:

  • exact filters only match a glyph if its name, Unicode codepoint or other property exactly matches the criteria,
  • fuzzy filters also match a glyph if it’s a variant or alternate of a glyph that matches the criteria (glyph name suffixes and glyph ligature naming is used to find the alternates),
  • prospective filters also show empty glyph cells, which are placeholders for glyphs that you could add that also match the criteria; prospective filters are exact because they have a maximum possible number of results that is known up front.

Hide unfiltered glyphs»

When a font filter is active, the Font window glyph cells are divided into two groups: the filtered glyph cells (the ones that match the filter) and the unfiltered glyph cells (those that don’t match the filter).

The Font window property bar now has a new toggle button: Hide unfiltered glyphs (in previous FontLab VI version, this toggle was called All glyphs and existed at the bottom of the Font window sidebar).

  • When Hide unfiltered glyphs is off (the default):
    • Filtered glyph cells are shown first at the top of the Font window, and they are highlighted in yellow. You can change the color and intensity of the highlight Preferences > Font Window > Highlight.
    • Unfiltered glyph cells are shown after the filtered glyph cells, and they are not highlighted.
    • The Font window status bar shows (in the bottom-right) how many glyphs are selected, and how many glyphs are there in total.
  • When Hide unfiltered glyphs is on:
    • Only filtered glyph cells are shown in the Font window.
    • Unfiltered glyph cells are hidden.
    • The Font window status bar shows (in the bottom-right) how many glyphs are selected, how many are filtered and how many glyphs are there in total.

So if your font filter is “Uppercase Letter”, the filtered glyph cells will contain uppercase letters and will always be shown. The unfiltered glyph cells that contain all other glyphs in your font will be shown after the filtered glyphs or will be hidden.

Filter dropdown»

The Filter dropdown (located in the property bar between the Cell caption dropdown and the Sort dropdown) produces prospective filters for the following types of criteria: Encodings, Unicode ranges, Codepages, Unicode Categories and Unicode Scripts. The dropdown has two parts: in the first, you choose the type of criteria, in the second, the actual filter.

In FontLab VI, we’ve updated the Encoding filters in the “OpenType” group to no longer include empty glyph cells at the beginning of each encoding.

Font window sidebar»

We’ve greatly extended the Font window Sidebar which you can open using the 2nd button in the Font windows’s top property bar.

Previously, the Sidebar included two resizable areas: Search history which lists the filters that you’ve previously applied to the Font window, and Bookmarks where you can save some filters from the Search history section for later re-use.

Now the Sidebar’s first resizable area is a hierarchical list of font filters grouped into three sections:

  • Basics
  • Categories
  • Scripts

You can collapse or expand a section (and any sub-sections) by double-clicking its heading.

Custom font filters»

To quickly create your own exact font filter, select some glyphs in the Font window, press CmdC, click the Search box, press CmdV and in the dropdown list choose Text. This font filter shows just the glyphs that you’ve selected and shows up in the Search History section of the Font window sidebar. You can drag it from Search History to the Bookmarks section for later re-use.

To create and later re-use your own prospective font filter, write a custom Encoding file in a text editor. In FontLab VI 6.1, you can use Preferences > General > User data folder to specify your own location of the User data folder. Then, place your own Encoding files inside the Encoding subfolder of that folder.

Add Glyphs dialog»

In the Font > Add Glyphs dialog that lets you add glyphs for Unicode characters into your font:

  • the Scripts sidebar is divided into “Basic” and “Extended” scripts; both sections are sorted alphabetically
  • the new Ranges tab shows all Unicode ranges (blocks)
  • the new Filter field lets you search for a name of a Unicode category, script or range (depending on the active tab); only matching names will be shown in the left sidebar

Note: In the Font window, glyph cells on white background show the glyphs you have, and glyph cells on gray background show missing glyphs. In the Add Glyphs dialog box, it’s the other way around: the glyphs you have are on gray background and the glyphs you can add are on white background.

Character placeholders»

FontLab has improved use of character placeholders (gray glyphs shown for your visual reference):

  • in prospective filters in the Font window, for glyphs that do not exist in your font but that could be added
  • in the Add Glyphs dialog, for glyphs that do not exist
  • in the Glyph window, for glyphs that do not exist, when Preferences > Editing > Show missing glyph placeholders is turned on
  • in the Glyph window, for any glyphs, when View > Character placeholders is turned on

FontLab VI 6.1 now shows character placeholders using a bundled font derived from Noto, which includes glyphs for nearly 24,000 non-CJK Unicode characters. For characters not supported by the bundled font, it uses system fonts (like previous versions of FontLab VI). To use a different font, choose Preferences > Font window > Placeholder font.

List view of the Font window»

We’ve improved the List view of the Font window. To open the List view, click the List button in the Font window’s property bar (4th button from the left).

  • When you click the column headings to sort the list, an indicator of the sorting direction appears in the heading. Click again to reverse the sort.
  • The column names are more descriptive, and columns that contain values you can edit are underlined.
  • The rendering of the Show columns button (gear icon on the right) is improved.
  • If you reorder the columns in the List view by dragging the column headings, the same order is shown in the Show columns dialog.
  • The Show columns dialog has an option to colorize the background of columns that contains grouped or numerical values.
  • FontLab now remembers your changes to the column widths.
  • FontLab no longer shows entries for non-existent glyphs in the List view (they are still shown in the Table view, as empty glyph cells).

Color flags»

When you assigned a color flag (“mark”) to a glyph in earlier versions of FontLab VI, the flag was assigned to the current glyph layer, and to the glyph (as a fallback flag). In glyph layers with the “transparent” flag (that is, “unflagged layers”), the fallback flag was shown, but if a glyph layer had a layer flag (that is, it was a “flagged layer”), the layer flag was shown. This was confusing.

FontLab VI 6.1 makes a better distinction between layer flags and fallback flags. In a font with more than one layer or master:

  • To completely reassign a new color flag (to all its layers and to the fallback), in other words to replace all layer flags by the new flag:

    • Shift-click any color cell in the color flag picker
    • or click the “down” arrow in the color flag picker and then click “…”, then in the Color Flag dialog, choose a flag, turn off Keep custom layer flags and click All Layers.
  • To assign a new color flag to those layers that are unflagged or that have a flag identical to the glyph flag, and to the fallback, in other words to preserve custom layer flags:

    • Click any color cell in the color flag picker
    • or in the Color Flag dialog, choose a flag, turn on Keep custom layer flags and click All Layers.
  • To assign a new color flag to only to the current layer, in other words to preserve all other layer flags and not change the fallback flag:

    • Alt-click any color cell in the color flag picker
    • or in the Color Flag dialog, choose a flag and click Current Layer.

The fallback flag is now only used as the layer flag when you create new layers or masters in the glyph.

When FontLab VI 6.1 opens an older VFC or VFJ file, it will automatically update your flags so that:

  • If a glyph had a color flag in one layer and no flag in other layers, the flag will be assigned to all layers and as fallback.
  • If there are different flags for different layers of a glyph, they will be preserved as layer flags, but glyphs without a flag will get the fallback flag assigned as their layer flags.

This may sound complicated, but in reality, it’s simple:

  1. If you start a new font or open an existing VFB or a final font format, you can just use the normal “click” to assign flags to all layers at the same time. Just don’t use Alt-click and you’ll have consistent flags across all layers.
  2. If you open an older VFC or VFJ file and wish to get rid of any inconsistent flags, choose your main font master, set the Font window sorting in the property bar to Flag, and for each group of glyphs that are flagged with the same color, select them and Shift-click on a color cell in the color flag picker to “reapply” the color flags while removing any custom layer flags. You only need to do this “cleanup” once, then you can just use normal clicking.

Also, you can now copy-paste color flags using Edit > Paste Special (like in FontLab Studio 5).

Append Glyphs»

With the Append Glyphs command, which is now in the Edit menu and works when you’re in the Font window, you can copy-paste glyphs between fonts without replacing existing glyphs in the destination font.

When you copy some glyphs in the Font window of one font, switch to the Font window of a second font, and use Edit > Append Glyphs, FontLab adds the copied glyphs to the second font, without replacing any existing glyphs. The glyphs will keep their names and Unicodes if possible, but if glyphs with a certain name exist in the first font, FontLab will add a numeric suffix to the names of the appended glyphs.

Remember that in FontLab VI, if a glyph layer has the same name as a font master in Font Info, it is assigned to that font master. The appended glyphs will retain all layers that existed in the first font, but FontLab will not automatically create new font masters in Font Info of the second font. If some layers in the appended glyphs match existing font masters by name, they will be assigned to masters. You can also create empty masters in Font Info in your second font after you’ve appended the glyphs, giving the masters the same name as the layers in the appended glyphs — then those layers will also be assigned to the new masters.

When you copy some contours in the Glyph window of one font, switch to the Font window of a second font, and use Append Glyphs, FontLab creates a new glyph named glyph (with an optional numeric suffix if such glyph already exists) in the second font, and then pastes the clipboard contents into this new glyph.

Layers and Variation»

When you switch layers through Glyph > Previous/Next Layer or Alt, / Alt., FontLab skips any/all mask and service layers.

Matchmaker tool»

We’ve improved the Matchmaker tool (Tools > Tools > Matchmaker) which you can use to make your masters interpolate better.

When you turn on the Show intermediates toggle, Matchmaker will show not just the masters but also a number of intermediate interpolation steps. You can change the number of steps (up to 32), and change the opacity with which the intermediate steps are drawn.

The intermediate steps help you see how your interpolation works. The steps do not correspond to your font’s instances, because Matchmaker does not use the masters’ axis locations. Instead, it orders all masters in the same sequence as your Layers & Masters panel and shows the interpolation across one “ad hoc” axis. You can change the masters order by drag-and-drop in Font Info > Masters.

Note: Currently, Glyph > Match Masters and the Matchmaker Match masters operations decompose any composite glyph. You should use these operations only in simple contour glyphs.

Keep in mind that the Sort contours and start nodes and Check masters geometry toggles in Font Info > Axes and in the Layers & Masters panel influence the way the Match masters operations work.

Kink detection in Font Audit»

FontLab VI 6.1 has a new Kink in variation FontAudit test that checks if interpolated instances will have a visible “kink.” Specifically, if you have a smooth node in all matching masters, FontAudit will show the “Kink in variation” problem if the proportions of the handles across masters differ by more than 5%, and if the angles of the handles differ by more than 3°. In those cases, even if the nodes are smooth in the masters, they will form slight corners (“kinks”) in the interpolated instances.

To see FontAudit tests, choose View > Show > FontAudit. You may also want to open Window > Panels > FontAudit and in the panel’s options, make sure the Kink in variation test is turned on.

To spot how the kinks occur, open Window > Panels > Preview and in its sidebar, set Outline to Thin and turn on Show nodes. Then explore your design space using the map or the sliders in the Variations panel, and watch how the green round smooth nodes in the Preview panel sometimes turn into red square corner nodes. You may also switch to Text tool in the Glyph window and navigate the design space in the Variations panel.

Unlike other FontAudit tests, “Kink in variation” does not have a “fix” function. You need to reconfigure the nodes yourself to avoid the kinks.

Hinting and Smart Rounding»

When generating or exporting instances as static fonts, FontLab uses the “PostScript” Hints defined in the font’s main master. Use the blue circle in Font Info > Masters to decide which master is your main master.

If have hints in your main master’s glyphs (that you’ve added via Tools > Autohint or Tools > Add (…) Hint), and if you turn on Preferences > Variation > Smart rounding, FontLab will use the hints to regularize stem thicknesses in instances that you export via File > Export Font As… > Instances tab or generate via Font > Generate Instance.

Smart rounding eliminates “off by one” rounding errors that are inherent to any interpolation. If any glyphs had equal stems in PS-hinted masters, they will have equal stems in any instance.

Smart rounding works even if you export instances as OpenType TT (.ttf) static fonts, but works only if “PostScript” hints exist in your main master. If you don’t have hints in your source font, or if you only have TrueType Hinting (TTH) commands, and you export instances into final fonts, FontLab will first interpolate the instances (without smart rounding) and will only then autohint unhinted glyphs if needed.

Note: Smart rounding has no influence on the export of OpenType Variation fonts.

Custom Family name for predefined instances»

You can now expand the lower section of Font Info > Instances using the expansion triangle. The expanded section reveals additional properties of the instances that will be used when you export instances as static fonts (those properties will be ignored when you export an OpenType Variations font).

In addition to the Style group and Style link entries (that existed there before), the section now has a new field Family Name. You can use it to set a different Family name (typographic, or “preferred” family name) for any instance. If the field is empty, it shows the font’s Family name specified in the Names section. You can enter another Family name for some instances, which allows you to divide your exported instances into multiple families.

Other Variation improvements»

  • The Generate Instance dialog box now has an Add Instance button. This adds a new instance to the list of predefined instances using the current coordinates specified in the Variations panel.

  • The bundled fontTools library is now version 3.29.0 instead of 3.24.3, which brings a number of improvements to export of variable fonts.

Merging layers (color fonts)»

When you click the Merge Visible Layers button in the bottom-right of the Layers and Masters panel, all layers which are set to “visible” using the eye icon in the panel are merged into one layer, that is, all elements, contours etc. of all visible layers are placed on top of each other in one layer.

This is particularly useful when you design color fonts. You can define each layer as a font master in Font Info (and make the masters non-variable by turning off the AAA icons in Font Info > Masters). Then, you can export each master into any font format via Font > Export Fonts As…, choosing the Masters tab. But afterwards, you can merge the visible layers and export the font as a series of static color font (in SVG, COLR, CBDT and sbix variants).

The “Merge Visible Layers” operation now works better:

  • When you click the Merge Visible Layers button, a popup will ask you which glyphs should be merged.
  • The layer order after merging reflects the order in the Layers and Masters panel.
  • If the current layer is a font master, the result will have the font data (glyph metrics, classes, kerning, Font Info data etc.) of the current master.
  • If the current layer is not a font master, the result will have the font data of the main master that is indicated by the blue circle in Font Info > Masters.

Metrics (Spacing)»

Nonspacing components and elements»

FontLab VI now lets you declare some components or elements as nonspacing. Nonspacing components/elements don’t change the advance width of the glyph, but they change the way FontLab calculates and shows sidebearing values inside the app.

Unicode has a concept of “nonspacing characters” and OpenType fonts have “nonspacing glyphs.” During typesetting, nonspacing glyphs don’t contribute to the metrics of a line. They are positioned in relation to the preceding glyphs (the spacing glyphs) but their own metrics are ignored — so in the typesetting process, nonspacing glyphs have “invisible” metrics.

FontLab’s new Nonspacing components and elements perform a similar function when you build a glyph: they are visible, they are exported into the final font, and they don’t change the advance width of the glyph in any way, but inside FontLab VI they are “invisible” to the metrics engine. FontLab will ignore the Nonspacing components or elements when it shows the numerical values for the width and the sidebearings, when you copy metrics across glyphs using Paste Special, or when linked metrics are calculated using metrics expressions.

FontLab has a special guide called the “Measurement Line.” When you turn on View > Measurement Line, FontLab shows sidebearing values calculated at the intersection of the Measurement Line and glyph’s “ink.” This still works the same way. When you turn the Measurement Line off, the sidebearing values are calculated based on the bounding box of the entire glyph layer. With Nonspacing elements, you can exclude certain elements or components from that bounding box for the purposes of calculating the sidebearings. Of course when you export your font into a final format, FontLab will write the correct “absolute” metrics into the font.

Example: in the “ī” (imacron) glyph, you can make the macron component Nonspacing and then set the LSB and RSB to =dotlessi. The macron component will be ignored when the final imacron sidebearings are calculated, so it’s easier to link the imacron metrics to those of dotlessi.

Using Nonspacing components and elements»

When you click a component using the Contour or Element tool in the Glyph window, or you click an element using the Element tool, a Nonspacing toggle appears in the Property bar. Use that toggle to set or unset the Nonspacing property of a component or element, or use the toggles in the Nonspacing column in the Elements panel.

When you turn on Preferences > Open Fonts > Automatically assign nonspacing property to accent components and you open any font, FontLab will assign the Nonspacing property to those components where their source glyph or its default variant (without glyph name suffix):

  • has the glyph name circumflex or caron,
  • or has the Unicode U+02B9–02BD, U+02C6–02CF, U+02EC,
  • or is in the Unicode “Nonspacing Mark” or “Modifier Symbol” category,
  • or has the OT Glyph Definition Class “Mark”

When this preference is on, FontLab will also use the above method to assign the Nonspacing property to components in Auto layers.

When you use Element > Nonspacing > Detect Nonspacing in the Font window, FontLab will use the above method to assign the Nonspacing property to components in the current layer of the selected glyphs. To do it for all layers, use Tools > Actions > Metrics > Nonspacing > Detect nonspacing.

If you use Element > Nonspacing > Detect Nonspacing in the glyph window, FontLab will use the above method to assign the Nonspacing property to the current element or to selected elements (so only the components that fit the criteria will become Nonspacing).

To unset the Nonspacing property in all masters, i.e. make all components and elements spacing, use Tools > Actions > Metrics > Nonspacing > Clear nonspacing. To do it in current layer only, use Element > Nonspacing > Clear Nonspacing.

If you do not want to use Nonspacing components or elements, use Tools > Actions > Metrics > Nonspacing > Clear nonspacing on All Masters and entire font, and turn off Preferences > Open Fonts > Automatically assign nonspacing property to accent components.

Metrics expressions (linked metrics)»

FontLab VI 6.1 brings several improvements to metrics expressions that you can use to link glyph metrics across different glyphs and layers. Updating linked metrics is now much faster, metrics expressions consistently take precedence over static numerical values, you can link metrics to other glyphs on other font masters, and you can use additional functions (and straight quotes) in metrics expressions.

Faster updating of linked metrics»

FontLab now updates expressions much faster, so Preferences > Spacing > Automatically update linked metrics is now on by default. If you have a font with thousands of glyphs that use linked metrics, you may want to turn it off, and instead trigger Font > Update Metrics manually.

Metrics expressions take precedence»

The interaction between expressions and explicit numerical values in the three metrics fields (left sidebearing (LSB), right sidebearing (RSB), advance width) is now more logical: expressions take precedence over simple number values; and for conflicting expressions, the last expression you entered takes precedence.

  • If you use just one expression in any of the three fields, the other fields will adjust. So if you enter i into the RSB field of “j” and change the RSB of “i”, the spacing of “j” will update correctly.
  • If you use expressions in any two of the fields, the third field will adjust. So if you link the RSB and the width of “j” to i, the LSB of “j” will adjust.
  • If you use expressions in all three fields (a bad idea, which will likely lead to future problems/inconsistencies), the last expression you enter will take precedence, and one of the others will be adjusted by adding a constant.

Additional notation and functions in metrics expressions»

Whenever you specify a glyph in a metrics expression, you can use the glyph name (e.g. aogonek) to refer to the current layer of that glyph. This works inside functions, in simple expressions and as a constant in extended expressions.

In addition, you can specify a glyph and layer using the following methods (but these won’t work as constants in extended expressions):

  • ą: a single Unicode character. Specifies the current layer of the glyph that has the Unicode codepoint of that character.
  • :Thin: the layer name after a colon, without a glyph name. Specifies a different layer of the current glyph
  • ą:Bold or aogonek:Regular: the layer name after a colon, following a character or glyph name. Specifies a different layer of that glyph

The following table lists FontLab-specific functions that you can use inside expressions. Note: glyphspec portion stands for a glyph and/or layer specified as above. New: You can now surround glyphspec and guidename with single quotes ('), or, as previously, with double quotes (").

Function Description
l() LSB of the current glyph and layer
r() RSB of the current glyph and layer
b() new: bounding box width of the current glyph and layer
w() advance width of the current glyph and layer (l()+b()+r())
lsb("glyphspec") LSB of the specified glyph and/or layer
rsb("glyphspec") RSB of the specified glyph and/or layer
width("glyphspec") advance width of the specified glyph and/or layer
g("guidename") x position of a vertical guideline named guidename within the current glyph and layer

For example, if you enter :Regular+10 or =width(':Regular') + 10 into the advance width field of the space glyph in the Bold layer, the width will be 10 units larger than the width of the same glyph’s Regular layer.

In addition, you can use all built-in functions and operators built into the muParser library that FontLab VI uses. This includes:

  • conditional expressions that use the syntax (condition) ? value_if_true : value_if_false. If you enter =(d>0) ? d : o into the LSB field of “q”, then its LSB will be equal to LSB of “d” if the LSB of “d” is larger than 0, but if the LSB of “d” is 0 (which would be the case if it has no contours), the LSB of “q” will be equal to LSB of “o”.
  • statistical expressions such as =max(i, w, m) or =avg(width(':Thin'), width(':Bold'))

Other improvements in linked metrics»

  • Metrics resulting from expressions are now always rounded to integers. For example, when H has the width 100, and I has the width expression = H / 3, it results in 33, and when K has the width expression = I * 2, it results in 66. Inside expressions, fractional values are still used, so an expression like = H / 3 + 0.18 will result in 34.

  • When you use an expression in a metrics field of a glyph and then manually adjust that glyph’s metrics (by using Ctrl or ++Alt+ with the arrow keys, or by dragging the spacing controls), your adjustment modifies the expression (by adding or subtracting the value). So when you enter i into the RSB field of “j” and then drag the RSB control of “j” by 10 units to the right, the RSB field will have the expression i+10. Previously, any manual edits caused the expression to be replaced by an explicit numerical value.

X-Ray view in Preview panel»

The Preview panel now has a new view filter called X-Ray. The “X-Ray” view offers you a “bird’s eye” view on your text. It allows you to see the visual rhythm of your text more clearly, so stems and counters are immediately visible. X-Ray can help you to achieve more balanced spacing and kerning.

To use X-Ray, click the sidebar toggle in the top-right corner of the Preview panel, in the Content dropdown, choose Current (to see the same text as is shown in the current Glyph window), Custom (to type in your own text) or any other entry except the waterfalls.

Now click the Filter > X-Ray view button in the sidebar, and instead of the text rendered with your actual glyphs, you’ll see the “X-Ray” rendering of your text. What looks a bit like grayscale barcodes is a one-dimensional projection of the visual density (grayness or “typographic color”) of the text (your glyphs) along the X-direction.

Imagine a tiny machine that slides at the bottom of your glyphs along your text in the X-direction, and emits a pixel-sized ray that gets captured by a tiny one-pixel camera at the top of your glyphs. The more “obstacles” (“ink”) the ray has met while traveling from bottom to top, the darker the image will be at that point. FontLab then shows you the “X-Ray” image by stretching the captured pixels to the font’s x-height. So whenever the X-Ray bar is very dark, there is a vertical stem, if it’s white, there is whitespace, when it’s very light, there is a counter. Glyphs like = or are uniform gray, but = is darker than .

For italic fonts, FontLab shows upright X-Ray bars based on glyphs backslanted using the font’s italic angle. When glyph boxes overlap (via Kerning or through calligraphic connections), the X-Ray will be darker. If the Outline dropdown in the Preview panel’s sidebar is set to None, only the X-Ray preview is shown, but you can choose to show the outline of the original glyphs (in three thicknesses) behind the X-Ray preview. You can combine X-Ray with other Preview panel settings (Invert, Blur, Flip, Slant, Tracking, Color etc.)

Kerning»

Match Kerning»

When you work with variations, each font master in FontLab has its own kerning classes, and the kerning in each master is fully independent, so each master has its own list of pairs, some pairs are class-based, other pairs are glyph-based. This is sensible during the design stage.

When FontLab exports instances or a variable font, it needs to “match” the kerning so that it is structurally compatible in each master. In previous versions, this was done automatically during export. Now, you can perform the matching yourself, and review the results: the Match Kerning operation is now accessible in the “hamburger menu” at the bottom right of the Kerning panel.

Match Kerning first expands all class-based kerning pairs in each master. Then it replaces the kerning classes in all masters with the classes defined in the default master. you can choose which master is default using the blue circle in File > Font Info > Masters.

Once the kerning classes are identical, FontLab makes the “flat” number of kerning pairs in all font masters equal: it keeps existing kerning pairs and their values, but adds kerning pairs that exist in other masters. When a master is at the edge of the design space, the added kerning pairs get the value 0, if the master is intermediate, the pairs get the interpolated kerning value.

Finally, FontLab compresses kerning pairs into class-based kerning with exceptions, using the new kerning classes. As a result, all masters have the same number of pairs, and each pair has the same structure (class-to-class, class-to-glyph, glyph-to-class or glyph-to-glyph), but of course the kerning value of each pair is the same as in your original kerning before matching. (Some values may be zero to keep the pairs matching.)

You may use Match kerning as an audit tool — once kerning is matched, it’s easier to spot odd pairs or pairs that you may have forgotten to kern.

Remember: Before you Match kerning, your intermediate masters may omit some pairs that you have in your edge masters. When you change any of the pairs in one edge master (before Match kerning), FontLab re-interpolates the intermediate values on export. But after you Match kerning, the interpolated values are added as real pairs into your intermediate master. So after Match kerning, when you change kerning in an edge master, the values will no longer be automatically interpolated for the intermediate master—you will now have to adjust intermediate masters manually.

Other Kerning improvements»

  • The Kerning panel lists exceptions as sub-entries of their “superior” class pair. You can show and hide the exceptions in the list using the expand/collapse triangles. In 6.1, all exceptions are now shown by default, so you can easily see, select and copy all pairs.

  • Kerning no longer may have fractional values, it is always rounded to integers. When you open an older VFC that has fractional kerning, FontLab rounds your kerning values to integers.

  • The display of kerning class members in the Classes panel is now sorted by glyph index, and the “representative” glyph shown in the Glyph window when you click a class-based pair in the Kerning panel is always the one with the earliest glyph ID. Use Font > Sort Glyphs or drag-and-drop while in the Font window “Index” Filter mode to change the order of glyphs in your font and influence the representative glyph this way.

  • In the Kerning panel, CtrlAlt-click on the grey rectangle next to either of the classes shown, will do the same thing as Alt-clicking the rectangle: the Glyph window will show all glyphs from the 1st class kerned against class kerned against all glyphs from the 2nd class.

TrueType Hinting»

In the TrueType Hinting tool, the popover dialog boxes TTH Stems, TTH Zones and Other TTH Settings have been improved.

All three dialogs have the Cancel button that cancels any changes you perform in the dialog, the Apply button that applies changes and does not close the dialog (but you can preview the results), and an OK that applies changes and closes the dialog. Clicking outside the dialog has the same effect as clicking OK.

TTH Stems dialog»

  • If your font has multiple masters, and you have TTH stems with the same name in several masters, you can edit the values for all masters directly in the dialog: use the expand/collapse triangle to show the values for other masters.
  • The dialog is now resizable.

TTH Zones dialog»

  • If your font has multiple masters, and you have TTH zones with the same name in several masters, you can edit the values for all masters directly in the dialog: use the expand/collapse triangle to show the values for other masters.
  • If you select a zone, the bottom section of the dialog will show a table of deltas for that zone. The columns of the table are PPMs, the rows are masters. Click on any cell to apply a +8 (one pixel up) delta for the PPM and master, click again to apply a –8 (one pixel down) delta, click again to remove the delta. If you’ve set a zone delta with a different value in the Glyph window, the “n/8” delta value will be shown in the cell.
  • The dialog is now resizable.

VFJ File Format and Source Panel»

VFJ file format»

FontLab VI saves your fonts in its own VFC format, which is FontLab’s native, compact file format that represents all of FontLab VI data inside a font, including data about all glyphs, layers, all elements (simple and compound), Font Info, kerning, classes, OpenType feature definitions and so on.

FontLab VI also allows you to save or export your font in the FontLab VI JSON (.vfj) format, or VFJ. VFJ is a FontLab’s own text-based, lossless, human-readable equivalent of VFC. VFJ uses JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) to represent the font data.

When you turn on Preferences > Save Fonts > VFJ, then whenever you save your font, FontLab will save the VFC file and in the same folder it will also save the VFJ file. You can also use File > Export Font As… > FontLab VI JSON (.vfj) to export the VFJ into a different folder.

You can save or export VFJ files in two forms: “pretty-printed” or “compact.” The “pretty-printed” form is more human-readable, as it uses newlines and indentation, so it’s easier to see and follow the structure in a text editor. The “compact” form is smaller, but visually harder to analyze for a human. Other than that, the content of both forms is identical. When you turn on Preferences > Save Fonts > Add indentation and spaces…, FontLab will save or export VFJ in the “pretty-printed” form.

When you have saved or exported a VFJ file, you can open it in a plain-text editor such as Sublime Text or Atom, perform some changes (for example search-replace) and open the font back in FontLab VI, or you can use programming languages such as Python or JavaScript to modify VFJ files outside of FontLab.

Source panel»

The Source panel shows the VFJ source code of the current glyph and all its layers. While editing the entire VFJ in a text editor is handy, it may also be a bit intimidating because there is no visual link between the code and the graphical representation.

The Source panel gives you that visual link. It provides a fast, immediate access to the VFJ source of the current glyph.

To select whether you want to see the source code of the current glyph, layer or element, use the toggle at the top-left of the panel.

When you edit a glyph in the Glyph window, the Source panel updates to reflect your changes. When you turn on Preferences > Editing > Live preview, the update will be instant and immediate as you move your mouse pointer; when you turn the preference off, the panel will update once you release the mouse pointer.

When you edit source text in the Source panel, the Apply button will be enabled, which means that the data in the panel is more recent than what you see in the Glyph window. To apply the changes you have made to the code, click on Apply. The Source panel will notify you if you’ve entered some code that is invalid.

To revert to back your changes before you’ve applied them (so the panel will again reflect what you see in the Glyph window), click on the Revert button next to the Apply button.

Remarks»

  • In FontLab VI 6.1, we have updated both the VFC and the VFJ format. The VFC and VFJ files that you save in FontLab VI 6.1 may not open in FLVI 6.0.x.
  • We may change VFJ or VFC again in future. We intend to allow newer versions of FontLab to open older files, but probably not the other way around.
  • The Source panel currently does not give you access to data that is not “inside” any particular glyph, for example classes, kerning or Font Info. To edit that data in text form, save or export the font as VFJ and use a text editor.
  • We have not yet published a specification or documentation for the VFJ format. We intend to do so, but this is a time-consuming task since FontLab VI is a very complex app.
  • As with any software functionality intended for developers, keep in mind that “you need to know what you’re doing” when you use VFJ and the Source panel.

Features Panel»

Go to glyph or class at cursor»

The Features panel now has a Go to glyph or class at cursor button. When editing your features in the Features panel, you can position your text cursor inside or at:

  • a glyph name: then click the button or press CmdL, and your Font window or Glyph window will show the glyph; you can also choose Go to Glyph from the context menu
  • a class name: then click the button or press CmdL, and the Classes panel will open and will show the class; you can also choose Go to Class from the context menu

“include” statement»

FontLab VI 6.1 improves the support for the include statement inside your FEA feature definitions in the Features panel.

  • When you use the include statement with just a file name, for example include(filename.fea), FontLab checks the folder in which the current font is saved, if it doesn’t find the file, it checks the Features folder inside the FontLab VI user data folder, and if it still doesn’t find the file, it checks the Features folder inside the FontLab internal data folder.
  • When you use the include statement with a relative path, for example include(../filename.fea), FontLab uses the folder in which the font is saved as the base for the relative path.
  • You can also use the include statement with an absolute path.

Other Enhancements»

Custom FontLab VI user data folder location»

The FontLab VI user data folder is the folder where you can place Encoding files (Encoding/*.enc), recipes for Generate Glyphs and Auto layers (Data/alias.dat), Feature definitions to use with the include(filename.fea); statement (Features) or Python scripts (Scripts).

Previously, the FontLab VI user data folder was located in ~/Library/Application Support/FontLab/FontLab VI on macOS and in C:\Users\YOURNAME\AppData\Roaming\Fontlab\FontLab VI on Windows.

Now, you can change that location using Preferences > General > User data folder (restarting FontLab is required). If you collaborate with other FontLab VI users, you can point the User data folder setting to a folder that is on Dropbox, Google Drive or a network drive, so all users who have access to that folder can share the same custom encoding files or Python scripts.

Note: When you point the user data folder to a custom folder, FontLab VI will not automatically copy or move the contents of your default user data folder — if that is what you want, you need to copy/move the contents yourself. Autosaving is always done in the Autosave subfolder of the default user data folder.

Preferences»

  • Sections in Preferences now have icons in addition to text captions.

  • The Preferences > Glyph Window page has a new design and includes the new setting Show lengths and angles. To show lengths and angles, turn on this preference and Show coordinates for current node.

  • The Unicode-name mapping setting that allows you to choose a custom .nam file is now in Preferences > General

Color flags for fonts»

You can now set a color flag per font and master in Font Info > Names. The color flag of the current font and master appears in the Fonts panel.

Font and Glyph windows title bar»

The title bar of any FontLab VI window now displays FontLab VI: followed by:

  • if the current window or tab shows a Font window, the “font and master name” (which for single-master fonts is the Full Font Name and for fonts with multiple masters is the Family Name, then : and the current master name), then in square brackets an abbreviated path to the font file
  • if the current window or tab shows a Glyph window, the current glyph name followed by @ and the “font and master name”
  • if the current window or tab shows the Sketchboard, the word Sketchboard

Font window»

In Font window, when the glyph cell captions are set to Name, FontLab uses two built-in fonts to render the the glyph names more smartly:

  • if the glyph name is short enough to fit in the glyph cell, it is shown using a normal-width font
  • if the glyph name is too long, it is shown using a condensed font
  • if the glyph name is still too long, it is truncated in the middle using a “vertical ellipsis”

Note: The above works only if you did not choose a different font using Preferences > Font window > Caption font.

Cmd[ (Previous Glyph) and Cmd] (Next Glyph) shortcuts now work in the Font window.

Quick Help panel»

In FontLab VI 6.0.9, we added the Quick Help panel that you can open via Help > Quick Help panel. In 6.1.0, this context-sensitive help panel now has much more content, not just for the main tools, but also for all panels, and for all the major dialogs.

Dialog boxes»

  • In Font Info > Guides, the column widths are now adjusted to display more data, and if you change the column widths, FontLab remembers these changes.

  • The width of the left sidebar in large dialog boxes (Preferences, Font Info, Actions, Profiles, Export Font As) is adjusted to better fit the content.

  • Buttons such as Yes, No, OK, Cancel, Don’t Save in dialog boxes are now rendered more consistently. The default button is always blue.

Text frames on Sketchboard»

When you create a text frame on Sketchboard using the Text tool, and then choose Text > Frames > Clone Frame, the cloned frame is now created just to the right of the original frame.

Import Photoshop PSD/PSB files»

You can now import images in Photoshop PSD/PSB format into FontLab VI, using File > Import > Artwork… or via drag-and-drop. Note: FontLab cannot import PSD/PSB files that have 32-bit color depth, or use Zip compression.

TrueType Vendor ID database»

Font Info > Creator > Vendor now uses a recent version of the Microsoft Vendor ID database.

Keyboard shortcuts on Windows»

FontLab VI for Windows has some changed keyboard shortcuts:

  • View > Measurement Line - AltL
  • View > Show > Coordinates - CtrlShiftC

Other»

  • The built-in Unicode library ICU is now version 63.1

Bug fixes»

Generate Glyphs & Auto layers»

  • using named font guides in the extended (GlyphConstruction-compatible) syntax no longer positions relative to the negative of the font guide position.

  • When generating glyphs using extended recipes such as “= Q @ origin, 100+descender” the resulting glyph now gets the correct vertical placement. Previously, descender+100 worked but 100+descender didn’t.

  • When generating glyphs using extended recipes such as questiondown = question @ ~, ~below where below is a horizontal guide placed below the baseline e.g. at -150, the resulting glyph now gets the correct vertical placement at that guide. Previously, it was placed above the baseline at 150, i.e. the same distance to the baseline as the guide but without the minus sign.

  • For some glyphs selected in the Font window, the Generate Glyphs dialog box failed to display the glyph image and name, so the glyph could not be generated. This is now fixed. [Win-only]

Hints & Guidelines»

  • When you add thickness to a vertical guideline by Shift-dragging it from left to right, FontLab correctly sets the thickness as positive (instead of negative).

  • Tools > Add Vertical Hint produces hints with positive values (instead of negative).

  • New vertical PostScript links maintain proper thickness and position when exported to vfb and final font formats.

  • In glyphs with Auto-layer on, PostScript hints remain consistently hidden (as they should be).

  • Alt-dragging a hint now duplicates it correctly.

  • In Font Info > Guides, sorting by guide position works correctly even when there are guides with negative values.

  • While selecting nodes, handles, anchors or elements, particularly with marquee selection, hints and alignments zones sometimes became visible, even when their View options were off. This has been fixed.

  • Hinting in exported VFB files now correctly maintains links.

Glyph Editing»

  • Using the Knife tool to cut a filled, closed contour into two separate closed contours (with Ctrl key on Mac) still works even when the contour is inside a larger, closed filled contour.

  • Using the Knife tool in a specific way could crash FontLab. This is fixed now.

  • On Windows, use of arrow keys plus modifier keys to move nodes has been tweaked to provide one more option:

    • Ctrl plus the arrow keys now moves the node by 100 units (same as Cmd on Mac).
    • the move by 100 units & nudge operation is not available on Windows.(++Ctrl-Cmd+Alt++ plus arrow key on Mac)
    • Right Alt plus the arrow keys moves by 1 & nudges the neighboring handles (same as CtrlAlt on Mac)
    • ShiftCtrlAlt (or ShiftRight Alt) plus the arrow keys moves by 10 units & nudges (same as ShiftCtrlAlt on Mac)
  • In some situations, dragging on a curve where one (or more) of the adjacent nodes was a smooth connection, could cause the opposite handle of that smooth connection to “jump” when it should have been unaffected. This has been fixed.

  • Moving two or more nodes (using the mouse) while holding down Alt no longer crashes the app.

  • While drawing with the Rapid tool, after closing a contour, switching to Pen and back no longer tries to continue drawing the same contour.

  • Fixed an issue where Remove Overlap could subtract instead of combining filled areas, when nodes on different overlapping contours have the same coordinates.

  • Remove Overlap on a rotated group of rotated element references and/or flipped elements works as expected – no “holes” are created, even with multiple overlaps.

  • When no overlaps were present, the Remove Overlap operation sometimes changed the starting point and/or the types of nodes. This is fixed now.

  • After you switch a layer, the Eraser tool now remains functional. Previously, it required switching to another tool and back.

  • Converting a PostScript curve segment to TrueType via Alt-click and the Convert to TT dialog no longer crashes.

  • The Curve Tension setting in Font Info > Master Properties > Font Dimensions correctly affects new drawings made with the Rapid tool.

  • When you draw in the Mask layer, switch to the Body layer, do Tools > Clear Mask, and then Undo the Clear, the Undo no longer fails.

Fractional Coordinates»

  • Newly created empty glyphs never get fractional advance width assigned.

  • When Round when Editing is on, you no longer get fractional coordinates when you:

    • Change advance width using spacing controls in Contour mode.
    • Move a smooth node in PostScript editing.
    • Move a TrueType node, affecting a nearby off-curve point.
    • bind sidebearings (advance width remains integer units)

Layers and Variation»

(see also Metrics and Kerning)

  • Some interpolation issues were fixed by updating the included fontTools code to 3.29.0.

  • Renaming an axis in FontInfo updates the info for masters and axes in the Variations panel properly now.

  • Switching masters in Kerning mode doesn’t bring back an old kerning pair previously replaced in Text mode.

  • Paste Special can paste sidebearings across layers, after using Copy Layer

  • The Center Layer action avoids changing the advance width. (Unlike before, it may leave sidebearings with a one-unit difference instead.)

  • When working with multiple masters, a second Copy Layer command sometimes appeared sometimes in the Font window context dropdown menu. This is fixed.

  • In the Layers & Masters panel, some actions produce a “scope popup” menu, that asks if you want to perform the change on: Glyph, Selected Glyphs, All Glyphs or Font Master. Previously, this applied to renaming a layer, removing a layer, and adding a layer. Now this also applies to:

    • Duplicate layer
    • Merge visible layers
  • Merge Visible Layers can be Undone.

  • Pressing Enter when renaming a layer in the Layers & Masters panel doesn’t open duplicate pop-up dialogs.

  • When switching layers, the color flag indicator in the property bar (of the Font Window or Glyph Window)is correctly updated for the current layer.

Classes, Metrics and Kerning»

  • Tools > Actions > Metrics > Tracking now affects both sides of advance width proportionally, instead of just the right sidebearing. For example, if you add 20 units with tracking, it adds 10 to each side instead of 20 to the right sidebearing.

  • The color indicator for negative kerning (visible in Kerning mode) is using green again, instead of orange (to differentiate from positive kerning, which uses orange). github.com/Fontlab/fl/issues/2842

  • Classes Panel:

    • In the Classes panel, pressing Enter after editing a class definition no longer jumps to another class in the list.
    • A crash that could occur when adding a new kerning class in the Classes panel was fixed.
    • Removing a kerning class in the Classes panel could cause some unrelated kerning pairs to disappear from the Kerning panel. This is now fixed.
  • Kerning Panel list table scrolling and sorting:

    • Kerning panel tries to keep the selected pairs visible in the list when the list sorting changes or masters are switched.
    • selected sort key is maintained when switching to another master or font.
  • Metrics Panel list table scrolling and sorting:

    • highlights the correct glyph, even when carriage returns (n) are used in the text string.
    • scrolling to the current glyph, when the sort order is changed, is improved.
    • selected sort key is maintained when switching to another master or font.
  • Linked metrics:

    • Undoing changes to linked metrics in a variable font doesn’t crash.
    • If Preferences > Spacing > Automatically update linked metrics is on, FontLab now correctly updates metrics linked across masters/layers (for example, when linking from one master to another in a variable font).
    • If you link glyph metrics across masters and then Undo those changes and make more changes, FontLab no longer occasionally gets confused about which layer is current, for some of the glyphs in a string.
    • When linked metrics are changed to a regular unlinked numeric value, that number is now saved and read correctly to/from VFC.
  • Glyph metrics values calculated using expressions are now positioned better in the columns of the Metrics panel.

  • When you switch pairs in the Kerning panel, FontLab correctly syncs the kerning pair shown in the Property bar of the Glyph window .

  • The Compress to Class Kerning operation (in the Kerning panel hamburger menu) correctly compresses flat kerning to class kerning again. It was broken a few builds ago.

  • Flattening large amounts of class kerning to kerning pairs (thousands+) could be very slow. If there were tens of thousands of pairs, it could cause a crash. Performance has been dramatically improved, and FontLab can flatten kerning even if it becomes 360,000+ kerning pairs. (Not that having that much flat kerning is recommended.)

  • When the Glyph window is in Kerning mode and you are in a master and you have a kerning pair active, and then you switch to another master using the Layers and Masters panel, the kerning pair widget in the property bar now gets updated to reflect the master change.

  • When you type in some text in the Glyph window, switch to Kerning mode and then switch masters, the text no longer gets overwritten by just the kerning pair.

  • When a font already contains kerning classes, Generate kerning classes does not create duplicate classes.

Components and Elements»

  • Font > Detect Element References no longer crashes

  • Glyph > Flatten Glyph can be Undone.

  • Element deletion of some particular elements no longer crashes

  • Elements are no longer subtracting overlapping areas when you export a font as OTF; the automatic Remove Overlap operation at export time works correctly.

  • Element > Separate to elements works as expected, even when one of multiple contours within an element is selected.

  • Pasting an element within a group of elements now correctly creates a new element in the group (instead of incorrectly creating a reference).

  • Moving an element with arrow keys can be Undone.

  • When you copy-paste an element with filters (such as smart corners) applied, the pasted element now maintains the same filters.

  • Transform of multiple selected elements/components in the Elements panel’s References map is now undoable.

Open, Save and Export»

  • In Masters export mode, or when exporting into a variable format (DesignSpace+UFO, variable fonts), FontLab now uses the names of masters when building the filenames.

  • When you choose File > Save As and then click Cancel, the Save operation was canceled dialog no longer appears. github.com/Fontlab/fl/issues/2754

  • When you open a font in a 3rd-party format and then immediately export as VFJ, an unnecessary Save As dialog no longer appears.

  • When importing an OpenType font and decompiling its OpenType features, FontLab could make an error when a lookup was used as context for another lookup, within a substitution, making it no longer contextual. Now any lookup which is a reference for another contextual lookup is written to the Prefix section.

  • If the preference Autosave opened fonts every xx minutes is turned OFF, FontLab no longer auto-saves. Previously, it auto-saved regardless of this preference.

  • Opening a TTF or OTF font with empty source coverage in a ligature lookup no longer crashes.

  • Some VFB files that previously could open in 5 but crashed VI, now open correctly.

  • Hinting in exported VFB files now maintains correct links and PostScript hints.

  • When there are missing required glyphs while exporting to the OpenType TT format, FontLab automatically adds them, and does not mis-encode the remaining glyphs.

  • Crash on reading OpenType features from particular TTF fonts was fixed (Win-64 only).

  • Links remain links (instead of getting converted to hints) when you export to VFB.

User Interface»

  • When docked to windows, Panels resize correctly when the windows are resized.

  • The Windows Backspace key deletes to the left in Text mode, instead of to the right [Windows only bug]

  • Selecting classes or pairs and then selecting glyph cells in the Font window changes the Copy Classes and Copy Pairs to Copy Glyphs command correctly now.

  • Adjusted how FontLab shades selected glyphs in the font window, to avoid some color combinations that made the glyph caption unreadable (for example, white text on a yellow header area).

  • When you delete a node name, the Glyph window is correctly updated and does not keep showing the name.

  • Keyboard shortcuts for Contour > Harmonize (Ctrl+Shift+H) and Contour > Clean Up (Ctrl+Shift+C) are properly shown in menu (Contour > Harmonize is also a new shortcut).

  • When a distance is zero (like the x distance between two vertically-aligned nodes) it shows as zero instead of blank in the property bar.

  • The shortcut for Element > Make Power Brush was changed to ShiftCtrlB on macOS (instead of mistakenly assigned ShiftB, which conflicted with the regular B shortcut). NOTE: This is Mac only; there is no shortcut for this command on Windows, as Shift-Cmd-B on Mac and Shift-Ctrl-B on Windows are in use for “Unlink Corners.” However, the command is available on a menu, and you can remap any menu item to any available command using Tools > Commands.

  • Fixed assorted tooltips in Font Info.

  • Crash when typing using the Text tool in a multi-layer font is fixed

Font Window»

  • The “Append Glyphs” operation, whether invoked by Font > Append Glyphs or by contextual (right-click) menu, now also works within the same font (instead of only between fonts).

  • Double-click on a glyph name in the Metrics panel changes the active glyph in the Font window.

  • On Windows only, in the Font Window, the underline on text that indicated a pop-down menu was much too close to the text, making it hard to see and making the text harder to read. This is fixed.

  • List View

    • the customization icon (gear on right) is no longer covered by the vertical scroll bar.
    • no crash after repeated edits of the same value.
    • after a value is changed, the Font window does not scroll. The exception is when you edit values in the column which is the sort column: FontLab will rebuild the row ordering after the value is changed, to update the sorting.

Preview Panel»

  • Compiling features (in the Features panel) now triggers a refresh of the Preview panel.

  • The Preview panel now contains two strings of text: one for typing your custom text, and a second one showing glyph names after processing the text. This is useful when previewing OpenType substitution (GSUB) features.

  • In the Preview panel, the context-click (right-click, Ctrl-click) “Export PDF…” option now works.

  • The range of possible predefined text sizes in the Preview panel was extended. Plus, hold the Alt key while scrolling your mouse wheel to change text size.

TrueType Hinting»

  • When you’re in the TrueType Hinting tool, you can no longer click guides, PS hints or zones even if they’re visible.

  • Inside the Sample texts control, CmdC for Copy and CmdX for Cut work properly now.

Features Panel»

  • The Features panel doesn’t jump to the first line of the feature code after compiling (the cursor stays in place).
  • When compiling features in the Features panel, FontLab no longer shows spurious error message from previous feature compilation attempts.

Sketchboard»

  • FontLab no longer sometimes crashes when a block of text (using text tool in a Glyph Window or in the Sketchboard) has its size increased or decreased repeatedly.

  • The Sketchboard always gets the focus when the application starts and the Welcome screen is not shown. This is now unaffected by toolbar settings and ruler visibility.

  • On the Sketchboard, multiple text boxes can be selected using marquee selection with the Contour tool. Each selected text box now has a frame around it, so you can tell which are selected.

  • The Text tool no longer uses the Auto Preview mode on the Sketchboard, so the text cursor doesn’t “time out” and disappear from a text boxes any more. (This fixes a problem introduced in 6.0.9.)

Other»

  • FontLab manages memory much better when dealing with demanding image files. For example, multiple very large, high-res color images on the Sketchboard, which are then chopped into many smaller images which are then each copied into layers of many separate glyphs.

  • FontLab no longer hangs when you navigate to certain glyphs that have references

  • Tools > Actions > Effects > Bold/Change Weight > Advanced now works properly on contours which already use the Smart Corners filter.

  • FontLab VI could crash after you open a Glyph window, type some text, undo, type again and then switch layers. This is fixed now.

  • In anchors that connect something to a base glyph (the name starts with an underscore, such as _top or _bottom), and the anchor position is determined by an expression, the expression is properly displayed in the Glyph window when the anchor has focus or is selected. Previously, the numeric position resulting from the expression was displayed instead of the underlying expression.

  • The Glyph window now always starts with glyph properly centered. Previously, for some composites the center was miscalculated.

FontLab VI version 6.0.9.6798»

13 August 2018

FontLab VI 6.0.9 brings several enhancements and bug fixes. Note: We released build 6797 a day earlier. It caused a crash at launch for some users — apologies! The newer build 6798 does not cause that crash.

New Features / Enhancements»

Glyph Editing»

  • With the new setting Preferences > Editing > Show missing glyph placeholders, you can decide if, in the Glyph window, glyphs that are used in the text, but are missing from the font, should be:

    • on: rendered using character placeholders from the font specified in Preferences > Font Window > Placeholder font
    • off: completely skipped, so only glyphs actually existing in the current font are shown
  • When you ShiftCtrlAlt-click (or ShiftRight Alt-click on Windows) on a curve segment:

    • if it is a PostScript curve, FontLab adds a node on extremum if the segment was missing one, otherwise it will now do nothing (rather than adding a node where you clicked).
    • if it is a TrueType curve, FontLab will now add a node on the closest implied TT on-curve point location. If there is none, it will do nothing.
  • (Mac-only) Previously, CtrlAlt with the arrow keys moved the node by 0.1 unit. Now:

    • CtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 1 unit and nudges the neighboring handles
    • ShiftCtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 10 units and nudges the neighboring handles
    • CmdCtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 100 units and nudges the neighboring handles
  • New command Tools > Remove Anchors removes all anchors, on the current layer, in all glyphs selected in the Font window.

List view of the Font window»

The List view of the Font window is now much more powerful. Turn on the List view with the List toggle button in the Property bar.

Click on the small gear icon in the top-right corner to open the Show Columns dialog, where you can explicitly decide which columns should be shown, and drag them to control their order. Turn on Sync with cell caption to cause the columns show and hide depending on what you choose in the Cell caption selector of Font window Property bar.

Click on any column heading to sort your glyph list by that column.

User Interface»

  • We added scroll bars to more panels (Glyph, Font Info, View), so you can reduce their height and easily stack them on top of other panels.

  • Previously, when you switched to a lower screen resolution or made the app window smaller, some tools in the Toolbar were hidden to accommodate the change. Now, when you switch to a higher resolution or enlarge the app window, these hidden Toolbar icons will re-appear. Note: in rare cases where the icons don’t re-appear, dock the toolbar to the main app window to force it.

  • In FontLab VI, a glyph can have one or more “tags”, short words that allow you to group glyphs in different way. In addition to the tags you define, FontLab automatically assigns virtual tags to glyphs. Virtual tags describe the character case, the script the glyph belongs to, and some visual characteristics. You can see all virtual tags in your font, and the glyphs that have them, in Classes panel > Virtual Tags. You can manually assign (type) your own tags in the Glyph panel and in the Glyph window Property bar. New: If you manually assign a tag to a glyph that is otherwise a virtual tag, or if you click the +V button in the Tags dropdown field in the Glyph window Property bar, the virtual tag will be rendered as light gray text.

Font Info»

  • Font Info > Guides has two new columns, Width and Expression so you can set the font guide widths and assign their position using complex expressions in Font Info, not just in the Guides panel.

  • Font Info > Family Dimensions and Font Info > Font Dimensions both have two new copy/paste buttons, just above the “OK” button at the bottom right of the dialog. These allow you to copy/paste the entire set of family or font dimensions between masters and fonts you have open in FontLab.

Open, Save and Export»

  • The VFJ file format (FontLab VI JSON) has a new structure which is more human-readable.

  • When you export a color font into the OpenType TT+CBDT or OpenType TT+sbix format (by creating a custom profile and enabling the subformats in the Export color font files), the resulting fonts are some 10-35% smaller thanks to improved PNG compression.

  • File > Profiles > Outlines offers a new option, “Open contours.” When checked, it allows open (unclosed) contours to be exported in final-format fonts such as TTF and OTF. Simple line segments are maintained as is. This brings back an option available in FontLab Studio 5, which is useful for people making fonts for various kinds of cutting and engraving machines.

Bug fixes»

Glyph Editing»

  • Character placeholders for missing glyphs now render in Contour modes of the Glyph window

  • Remove Overlap ignored selected contours sometimes and worked for the whole glyph. This is fixed now

  • When you set a grid distance in Preferences > Grid, turn on View > Show > Grid and View > Snap > Grid, zooming out in the Glyph window hides some grid points/lines to avoid visual clutter.

    • Previously, snapping only happened on the visible grid points. Now, snapping works on all grid points, even the ones that are not shown.
    • Also, in those situations, the visible grid always starts at the origin point of the current glyph.
  • Handle direction of tangent nodes (smooth connection of line to curve) is preserved while moving the contour up and down with cursor keys.

  • When you Alt-drag a Sharp or Tangent node, the node moves but keeps its handles in place. This worked correctly until 6.0.6 but not in 6.0.7 and 6.0.8.

  • Copying and pasting elements as references works as expected — deleting and re-pasting elements no longer subtly scales them or changes their position.

  • Paste Special works correctly with font outlines, even when the font’s UPM size is other than 1000.

  • When you use Contour > Expand Contour on a contour drawn using the Brush tool, FontLab no longer crashes.

  • With some open contour configurations, Contour > Join no longer crashes FontLab.

  • When drawing using the Rapid tool, Undo now properly steps back one click at a time, instead of immediately undoing the entire Rapid drawing.

  • When you ungroup a group of named elements, element names are preserved. This also applies to groups inside groups (nested groups).

  • If you replace an element that is inside the group, the new element will also be part of the group, and no longer outside the group.

  • The dialog boxes in Element > Add Element Reference and Replace Element Reference now find glyphs and elements when their name begins with _.

Metrics & Kerning»

  • The buttons for bind sidebearings (both in the Glyph panel and the property bar of the Glyph Window) now work correctly in Metrics mode with the Measurement Line on.

  • The buttons to bind/unbind sidebearings in the property bar (active when using Metrics mode) work correctly to turn binding off as well as on.

Variations»

  • In variable fonts, an axis can have “0” as the default value, and this can be saved within the FontLab file.

  • In Font Info > Family Dimensions, any value that does not match the values for other masters is displayed with a yellow background, as a warning. This color alert is now instantaneously updated (turned on or off) when the values are changed.

Open, Save and Export»

  • Class kerning is exported correctly from a font with multiple masters when export masters or export instances is selected, instead of all masters/instances getting the same kerning from the first master.

  • FontLab now correctly imports design space locations for instances from .designspace files

  • When exporting a set of instances from a font with multiple masters, accents do not shift unexpectedly.

  • When exporting to a UFO package, FontLab no longer misses elements in glyphs that have more than one element.

  • The setting Preferences > Open Fonts > Compile feature definitions is functional when opening UFO font packages (i.e. it either does or does not compile the features upon opening).

  • When all three formats (in addition to VFC) were enabled in Preferences > Save Fonts > Also Save As, some complex variable fonts such as Decovar could cause Fontlab to hang during Save As. This is fixed.

  • VFC files that contain axis instances now open correctly.

  • The File menu commands (Export Font As, Font Info, Save Font) are still enabled, when Preferences > General > Fonts Map and Font panel controls fonts is on, one or more fonts are open, and there is no Font window or Glyph window open.

Other»

  • In the Features panel, compiling the features no longer reverts or deletes the modifications made to the feature code. (New problem introduced in 6.0.8.)

  • Tooltip for keyboard shortcut in Tools > Commands was fixed.

  • When you open a defective font with duplicate glyph names, FontLab VI 6.0.8 will not only alert you, but also automatically rename these glyphs at file open time. In 6.0.7, the application was only alerting you.

  • Multiple selection in the Glyph Bar is no longer allowed, as there is no effect of selecting multiple glyphs.

  • Using Fix All in the FontAudit panel no longer causes a crash.

  • Guides and font metrics lines are pixel-perfect even on non-Retina screens

  • Unnecessary layers are never generated when exporting OpenType+CBDT color fonts (Google/Chrome/Android flavor of color fonts, bitmap-based).

  • When you drag a TrueType off-curve point and then hold Alt, the movement no longer affects neighboring nodes or off-curve points.

  • The app no longer causes 100% CPU usage under certain circumstances.

FontLab VI version 6.0.8.6790»

5 August 2018

FontLab VI 6.0.8 adds improvements in composite and auto glyphs handling, including a quick way to create auto layers for multiple glyphs and layers, and an extended syntax for glyph recipes that allows scaling and flipping; a new Glyphs Bar; improvements in working with Genius nodes; more control over outline conversion from PostScript to TrueType; a “guides” section in Font Info; manual sorting of classes in the Classes panel; auto-complete and drag-drop support in the Features panel. It also has assorted bug fixes, especially around glyphs and elements.

Quick Help panel and Quick Tips»

When you turn on Help > Quick Help panel, a panel will appear that provides concise help depending on the currently active tool. This is the first implementation, we will extend the capabilities of the Quick Help panel so that it dynamically reacts to other UI elements that you activate.

The Welcome dialog box now includes helpful Quick Tips that change daily and reveal some lesser-known aspects of FontLab VI.

New encodings for beginners»

In the Font window property bar, in the Encoding dropdown, there are now two new encodings in the FontLab group: Latin Simple, which is a very basic glyph set for a Latin-based font, and Drawing, which is an even simpler one that groups Latin letters together by visual similarity. They’re useful as starting points for simple fonts.

Glyph window»

Create glyphs right in the Glyph window»

In Glyph window, you can double-click on a character placeholder for a non-existent glyph with the Contour or Element tool to create the glyph.

So you can paste a longer text right into the Text mode of a Glyph window, and then, with the Contour tool, just double-click glyphs one by one and draw them. Previously, creating a new glyph by double-click was only possible in the Font window.

Glyphs Bar»

Turn on View > Glyphs Bar or (on the Mac) press Ctrl` to show on a single-row mini-map of glyph cells at the bottom of the Glyph window. When the Glyphs Bar is visible, click on it or (on the Mac) press Ctrl` to activate it.

When the Glyphs Bar is active:

  • Use the arrow keys to navigate your glyph set (which is shown in the glyph index order).
  • Quickly type the beginning of a glyph name to jump to that glyph.
  • Hold Space to show a larger sample of the glyph cell along with the glyph name, Unicodes, character name and metrics values.
  • Double-click on a glyph cell or tap Enter to place that glyph as the current glyph in the Glyph window.
  • Tap Esc or click the Glyph window to leave the Glyphs Bar without changing the current glyph.

Click the triangle on its right end to move the Glyphs Bar to the top or to the bottom of the Glyph window. Click × or turn off View > Glyphs Bar to close the Glyphs Bar.

Manual curve segment conversion into TrueType»

In Glyph window, when you Alt-click on a PS curve segment using the Contour tool, now a dialog box appears that lets you choose how the segment will be converted into a TrueType segment.

Click on 1, 2 or 3 in the dialog or tap on 1, 2, 3, and the segment will use one, two or three TrueType off-curve points. Click on Auto or tap A to use the settings specified in Preferences > Curve Conversion. As long as the dialog is open, you can test the different configurations. Close the dialog by clicking on OK, tapping Enter or clicking outside the dialog to confirm the conversion. Tap R or click on Revert to cancel the conversion, then close the dialog.

Note: You can convert all glyphs into TrueType curves via Contour > Convert > To TT Curves using the settings from Preferences, and then in individual glyphs, Alt-click on a segment to convert it to PS, and Alt-click again to perform the customizable conversion with the dialog box.

When you ShiftAlt-click on a PS curve segment using the Contour tool, the segment will the converted into a TrueType curve segment with “auto” settings (specified in Preferences > Curve Conversion).

Genius nodes»

When you Alt-drag a handle of a Genius node, the opposite handle will now adjust its angle (but not length) — same as dragging of Smooth node handles. This way, the node will stay G2-smooth but the change in the shape will potentially be smaller.

A Genius node will now behave as a Genius node, i.e. remain G2-smooth, if it’s between TrueType curve segments, or between a TrueType curve segment and a PostScript curve segment.

Shift-double-click on a Genius node handle now also aligns the opposite handle to horizontal or vertical, same as with Smooth nodes.

ShiftAlt-click on a Genius node handle now converts the node to Smooth and then retracts the handle, same as with Smooth nodes.

Selectively adding nodes on extrema and on implied TT on-curve points»

When you ShiftCtrlAlt-click on a PostScript curve segment, FontLab will check if the segment is missing a horizontal or vertical extremum. If it’s missing both, it will add an node at the extremum that is closer to where you clicked. If it’s missing just one, it will add it regardless of where you clicked the segment. If no extrema are missing, it it will do nothing.

When you ShiftCtrlAlt-click on a TrueType curve segment, FontLab will add a smooth node at the location of the closest implied TT on-curve point. If there is no implied on-curve point in the segment, it will do nothing.

Spacing controls»

With View > Show > Spacing Controls turned on, Cmd-click a sidebearing spacing control (the triangles right below the glyph) to jump to the appropriate field in the Property bar so you can edit the siebearing value there.

Composite and auto glyphs»

Turn Auto Layer on/off for multiple glyphs»

If you wish to turn the Auto Layer property for multiple glyphs in the current layer, you can use the Glyph > Auto Layer menu item.

In the Font window, select multiple glyphs. If any of the selected glyphs has an auto layer, then the Glyph > Auto layer checkbox will be on, and if you click that menu item, FontLab will turn off auto layers for all selected glyphs. If none of the selected glyphs has an auto layer, then the Glyph > Auto layer checkbox will be off, and if you click on that menu item, FontLab will turn on auto layers for all selected glyphs.

If you want to turn on auto layers for all selected glyphs, and some of the selected glyphs already have auto layers, just choose Glyph > Auto layer twice — the first time, it will turn the auto layer for all selected glyphs, then it will turn it on for all glyphs. Since turning auto layers off does not change the glyph content, but turning auto layers on replaces the existing content with auto-generated content, it’s “easier” to turn it off and then on.

In Glyph window, toggling Glyph > Auto Layer will affect the current glyph layer (it’s also in the context menu).

Note: To quickly turn on auto layer in selected glyphs in all masters, select them in the Font window, choose Font > Generate Glyphs, turn on Create auto layers, Rebuild existing glyphs, and choose All masters. Then click OK.

Extended glyph recipe syntax»

We’ve improved support for the extended glyph recipe syntax that is based on Frederik Berlaen’s Glyph Construction syntax, and is much more powerful and flexible than our old “legacy syntax.” Font > Generate Glyphs > Custom now accepts both approaches.

You can now use extended glyph recipes in auto layers if the auto layer’s custom recipe starts with =. For example, if you enter = R@origin,~0 into the custom glyph recipe field next to the Auto Layer toggle in the Layers and Master panel, the resulting glyph will be an upside-down “R”.

We’ve fixed a few bugs in handling the extended syntax, and we’ve documented both the legacy and the extended syntax in our User Manual.

Add a glyph note when generating glyphs»

When you use Font > Generate Glyphs > Custom, you can add glyph notes to the glyphs you generate.

In your glyph generation code, follow each entry with the #!, and then follow it by the text of the note. This works in both the legacy and the extended syntax. Use new lines to separate the entries for each glyph. For example, if your glyph generation code is A+acutecomb=Aacute #!To be finished, FontLab will build the glyph Aacute using the glyph recipe A+acutecomb, and the glyph will have the glyph note with the text To be finished.

More composite and auto glyph improvements»

  • If the alias.dat file has no glyph recipe for the current glyph’s name (or a synonym glyph name) and you turn on Auto Layer, and there is no custom recipe in the auto layer’s recipe field, the existing content of the glyph will remain intact.

  • When Preferences > Operations > fill created glyphs… is on, composite and auto glyphs are created using correct references even if the components are images.

Developing OpenType features»

Glyph name auto-complete»

When you’re editing the features code in the Features panel, tap / to open a dialog where you can type in a glyph name or just a part of it. Then use arrow keys to choose your desired glyph, press Enter and FontLab will insert the glyph name at the text cursor. The the actual / character will be inserted if you tap / inside a string or a comment, or if you quickly double-tap /.

Inline OpenType classes in the feature code via drag-drop»

Drag-drop one or more glyph cells from the Font window or the Font Map panel into the Features panel text area, and FontLab will place the glyph names where you dropped in a way that is compatible with the feature syntax (space-separated). Alt-drag-drop the glyph cells, the glyph names will additionally be surrounded with [], making an inline class. So for example, you can type sub, then Alt-drag-drop the lowercase letters, then type by and Alt-drag-drop the small caps letters, and you’ll get the code for a class-by-class feature substitution.

Management of font guides»

The new Guides section in File > Font Info > Guides lists all font guides and allows you to add, remove and edit guides. To edit a guide name, position or tags, double-click the characteristic. To add or remove guides, use the + and buttons below the list. To sort the list, click the desired column name you want to sort on (first click sets ascending order, click again for descending).

Remove images on selected glyphs»

To remove bitmap and/or SVG images from glyphs, select glyphs in the Font window, select the layer containing images in the Layers & Masters panel, and choose the Element > Image > Remove Image menu command.

Other improvements»

  • You can now manually reorder classes in the Classes panel by dragging them.

  • Redesigned the Element panel’s appearance, which now uses icons and a larger font for the element name.

  • It is now possible to use the * wildcard to filter pairs in Kerning panel. This is especially useful to filter pairs with extensions, such as *.smcp.

  • It is now possible to assign more than one Unicode codepoint to a glyph, as in FontLab Studio 5. In the Glyph panel’s Unicode field, enter Unicode codepoint values separated by commas.

  • Hiding of icons in the toolbar was further improved. When there is not enough room, first the View controls are hidden. If this is not enough, Matchmaker and TrueType Hinting are also hidden. (Previously, it was the reverse order.) Additionally, all buttons are immediately restored when the screen/window size is enlarged.

  • More UI elements get pixel-perfect rendering when the corresponding option is on in Preferences > Glyph Window (as it is by default).

  • The View panel is now active only when a Glyph window is in use.

  • The View panel now shows a scroll bar when there is not enough room to show all the options.

  • On Windows, most of “context menus” available in different parts of the interface now have hotkey shortcuts available. They are visible if you turn them on at the Windows system level, in Control Panel > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Underline access keys when available.

  • When FontLab opens a UFO, the .notdef glyph will be placed at glyph index 0 if it’s at a different glyph index, and if it’s not in the UFO, FontLab will add it. The glyphs NULL, CR and space will also be placed at the beginning of the glyph order. This is necessary so that FontLab can correctly compile and render the OpenType Layout features.

  • FontLab VI now uses new versions of font technology libraries: ICU v6.2 and new uranges.dat (they add support for Unicode 11), FreeType v2.9.1, Harfbuzz v1.8.4 and TTFAutohint v1.8.2.

Bug fixes»

  • Font Info > Parameters are now truly per master. Add or edit the parameter in the Font Info dialog, choosing the target master in the left bottom list, or in the top drop-down menu. This allows you to do things such as having an anchor using an expression that is dynamically positioned in each master.

  • FontLab now correctly remembers the orientation of the floating toolbar.

  • Some problems with the Python API have been addressed.

  • In text mode, forward Del (Windows, and extended Mac keyboards) key now works as expected, instead of replicating Backspace. This was partly fixed in a previous update, but is now fully fixed (including FnBackspace for forward Delete on compact Mac keyboards).

  • View position in the Glyph window is preserved when zooming, and also when changing glyphs via keyboard shortcuts (regardless the amount of zoom applied).

  • Similarly, anchors and guides also have different positions for each master, both with numeric values and with expressions.

  • Remove Overlap works correctly even for contours whose overlaps were generated with the Scissors tool, when fractional coordinates are on.

  • Element > Expand Filters works on all selected elements (not only for the “current element”)

  • The Window > Close Window command is now grayed out when it is not possible to apply it (this is, when there is no font or glyph window to be closed).

  • The Bind sidebearings buttons in Metrics mode property bar and in the Glyph panel now correctly use the absolute values even if the Measurement line is shown.

  • On Windows, it is now possible to type special characters using right Alt+key and right Alt+Shift+key combinations in the Text mode of the Glyph window and in the Preview panel. These combinations do not get in conflict with menu commands anymore.

  • Copy-pasting glyphs in the Font window no longer creates additional elements (with duplicate names).

  • Copy-pasting glyphs in the Font window preserves Smart corners

  • Position of the Metrics table toggles as expected, between the top and the bottom of Glyph Window, when you click on the arrow button (rightmost icon of table area).

  • Selection of multiple elements on the Sketchboard is fixed [Windows-only bug]

  • Removing a node between PS segment and TT segment on the same contour no longer corrupts the contour.

  • Scissors used on a TrueType curve never change the starting point to an off-curve point.

  • Contour > Reverse Contour no longer changes contour start points.

  • OpenType TT fonts now get the correct TT contour direction on export.

  • In the Glyph panel, the Unicode field is not erased when a user edits it, and then hits Enter.

  • Moving two adjacent selected handles (but not their associated on-curve points) of the same curve segment now behaves as you would expect.

  • Some fonts with multiple masters failed to update the Variations panel properly, resulting in some master sliders in the Variations panel appearing overlapped or “corrupted.” This is now fixed.

  • In a composite glyph (composed of more than one element), all element guides are shown.

  • The Join command (Cmd+J) now works as expected on an open contour which is a copy of another one right behind it.

  • FontLab now sets the OS/2.ulUnicodeRange.Surrogates bit and the OS/2.usLastCharIndex value correctly, even if there is just one glyph beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane.

  • Fonts exported in VFJ by FontLab are more compatible with the Python JSON parser.

  • The Elements panel always includes elements on the Sketchboard, even without any open font.

  • The Edit > Find Glyphs… dialog now shows firstly the exact matches, making the procedure quicker.

  • FontLab doesn’t occasionally crash when you hit Space in the Find Glyph dialog

  • Using the Tab key in the Edit > Find Glyphs… dialog now correctly toggles between text field and glyphs table.

  • When drawing with the Pen tool and using Shift to make handles horizontal/vertical, with the Contour > Coordinates > Preview Rounding option on, FontLab no longer positions some handles incorrectly.

  • The factor field in Actions > Change Power Width respects the font UPM and can accept floating values

  • Scroll bars in Windows and panels are now slightly wider.

  • Running Create [mark] and [mkmk] features from the Features panel pop-down (“hamburger”) menu does not crash.

  • Fonts with no stems defined no longer issue an autohinting warning when exported to OpenType PS.

  • Custom axis tags are now correctly imported from the fvar table of OpenType fonts, and from DesignSpace files.

  • After clicking Fix All in the FontAudit panel, Glyph window has the focus.

  • FontLab no longer crashes when you do File > Revert Font on some particular fonts.

  • Undo works when editing kerning.

  • When browsing “Pairs & Phrases” using up and down arrows, the list no longer loops—clicking down from the last item doesn’t take you to the first item.

  • The File menu commands (Export Font As, Font Info, Save Font) are now enabled when the Fonts panel controls fonts and there is no font or glyph window open

  • Paste Special works correctly with outlines in fonts with UPM size other than 1000

  • When you drag a TT off-curve point and then hold Alt, FontLab will no longer change some other TT off-curve points.

FontLab VI version 6.0.7.6774»

20 July 2018

Bug fixes:

  • The caret cursor appearance is improved in the Text mode.
  • App no longer hangs after opening a Glyph window, with certain fonts.
  • The @ character works again as the stand-in for current glyph, in the Context mode of the Preview panel.
  • When you open an OpenType font, FontLab stores the kerning in the original binary form, as a decompiled kern feature and converts it into visual kerning that you can edit with the Kerning tool. When you modify the visual kerning, the decompiled kern feature gets out of sync, so FontLab asks you if you want to remove it so it can later be rebuilt. Previous builds did indeed remove the outdated kern feature but still kept the original binary kerning, and when you exported an OpenType font, wrote the original binary kerning instead of the new kerning built from the visual kerning you’ve modified. This works correctly now.
  • Remove Overlap works for contours with Smart corners correctly now.
  • (Python) No longer crashes when using components
  • (Python, Windows-only) FL legacy module works again
  • (Python) In build 6772, certain Python API functions were removed but in 6774 they work again as in older builds.

FontLab VI version 6.0.7.6772»

18 July 2018

FontLab VI 6.0.7 adds several major features: automatic composite glyphs with Auto glyphs, automatic in-context glyph editing with Cousins, pixel-perfect rendering inside the Glyph window, better geometric transformations, and a new Text mode property bar. It also includes improvements in handling Elements, glyph names and Unicode, FontAudit, contour editing, plus user interface tweaks and many bug fixes.

Major changes and new features»

Better Glyph window rendering»

The rendering of the Glyph window is now sharper. The results are most visible on screens with a low pixel density (non-Retina). The improvement also affects high-density or Retina screens, but less obviously.

In Preferences > Glyph window > Outline thickness, you can choose how thick glyph outlines should look in the Glyph window. The default is “normal” but you can make it “thin” or “thick.” (For an even thinner outline, also turn off ==View > Show > Smooth Outline).

Pixel-perfect rendering»

The most important change, however, is Preferences > Glyph window > Pixel-perfect rendering (on by default). When this is on, the rendering of all outlines (especially with View > Show > Smooth Outline turned on) and also of all nodes, guides, sidebearings, font metrics and the crosshair will be rounded to full screen pixels, so all lines drawn in the Glyph window will be sharper, especially on “non-Retina” screens. If you’ve ever found the contents of your Glyph window “blurry,” pixel-perfect rendering will make you happy!

Scoreboard»

We’ve improved the presentation of the Scoreboard that we’ve introduced in 6.0.6. Turn on View > Scoreboard to see a movable, resizable numeric readout that will show coordinates for points, anchors, guidelines etc. as you’re moving them with your pointer. The Scoreboard now uses a monospace font and renders sharper.

Cousins: automatic in-context glyph editing»

FontLab VI has a new View option: Cousins. When you’re designing a glyph in a Glyph window, enable View > Cousins to see a “stack” of visually related glyphs in the background.

For example, the glyphs “b p þ” are visually related, and so are “c e o”. So when you’re working on a glyph in one of these sets, it may be useful to see the others if they are present in the font. In a way, Cousins are like a dynamic mask layer, that automatically provides visual context for your current glyph. In FontLab Studio 5, the equivalent of Cousins were called “shape groups.”

In Preferences > Cousins, you can decide whether Cousins should be rendered filled (with adjustable transparency), or as outlines. You can also decide how the Cousins should be placed in relation to the current glyph: aligned to the LSB, RSB or the center, and optionally shifted by a X/Y unit distance. With Use metrics, the Cousins will be placed to the left or right of your current glyph, shifted by their advance width (this works best if you only have one glyph in your Glyph window).

In Preferences, you can define which glyphs are “cousins” by listing them (a default list is provided), using space-separated Unicode characters or glyph names, one cousin group per line. Enable Double-click to edit the glyph if you want to be able to quickly switch between the Cousins that you’re editing.

Layers and Masters panel»

The Layers and Masters panel has been redesigned: its top section now has a Show layer properties toggle. Enable it to expand the bottom panel section that includes:

  • An editable text field for the layer’s name. You can also edit the layer’s name right in the layers list by double-clicking it.
  • The Auto layer toggle (that looks like “building blocks”) with an editable text field for the glyph generation recipe. You can use this to turn the glyph into an Auto glyph (see below).
  • The layer’s transparency slider that controls the layer’s visibility within the FontLab VI user interface. This does not affect the font export.

Auto glyphs: automatic, live composite glyphs»

This build introduces the concept of an auto glyph: an automatic composite glyph. Auto glyphs are automatically generated and will automatically update whenever you change the contours, element positions, anchors or metrics in any of the component glyphs.

To declare a glyph an “auto glyph” in a particular layer or master, turn on the Auto layer toggle (“building blocks” icon) of a glyph’s layer or master in the top-right part of the Glyph window’s property bar, or in the properties section of the Layers and Masters panel.

With “Auto layer” enabled, the glyph becomes an auto glyph in that layer. FontLab will now use a special glyph generation “recipe” to automatically build the content of the auto layer, and will keep it up-to-date. It will insert the appropriate component glyphs along with the metrics of the base glyphs, will add the glyph guides and it will smartly inherit anchors from the component glyphs. If the component glyphs have anchors, these anchors will be used to position the mark components. So an auto glyph is a “live composite glyph.”

Generate Glyphs, composite glyphs and auto glyphs»

The Auto layer is a property of a particular layer in a particular glyph, so you may have some masters that are auto layers, and some masters that are “manual” layers. If any layer of a glyph is an auto layer, we refer to that glyph as an “auto glyph”. Auto glyphs receive the auto virtual tag, so you can search for them in the Font window or show them in the Classes panel.

In the Font > Generate Glyphs dialog, there is a new checkbox: Create auto layers. If you turn it on, FontLab will generate auto layers (in all masters or the active master only, your choice). The resulting glyphs will have auto layers where you cannot change the element positions, the advance width, the sidebearings, the glyph guides or the anchors. But if you change the contours, metrics, glyph guides or anchor positions in any of the original glyphs, the auto layer that uses them as components will automatically update.

If you turn off the Create auto layers checkbox but keep Link as references on, FontLab will generate “composite glyph layers with references.” In the generated composite glyph layers, the content (contours) of each inserted element reference (component) will update when you edit the original glyphs — but the positioning, metrics, anchors and guides will be independent of the primary glyphs and will not be automatically updated.

If you also turn off Link as references, the resulting composite glyph layer will not use references, so each element will be fully independent of any primary glyphs.

If you turn off the Auto layer toggle in any existing auto glyph, the layer becomes a composite glyph layer with references, where you can add or remove elements, guides or anchors, change the metrics, draw new shapes and edit the entire content. If you turn on the Auto layer toggle in any existing glyph, the layer will be completely replaced with automatically generated content.

In Preferences > Operations > New Glyphs, if you turn on fill created glyphs with content when available then double-clicking on an empty glyph cell in the Font window will create manual layers with references in all font masters, but if you also turn on create auto layers if possible, then auto layers will be created.

How does FontLab know how to fill an auto layer with content?»

When you generate an auto layer, FontLab uses its Generate Glyphs functionality.

FontLab has a built-in alias.dat database that, for a number of “known” glyph names includes “recipes” that define how a given glyph should be generated from component glyphs. If you place your own alias.dat file in the Data subfolder inside FontLab’s user data folder, FontLab will use that instead.

For example, when you generate the Agrave (“À”) glyph, FontLab will try to find the recipe that describes the generation of the Agrave in the alias.dat file. If it finds one or more such recipes, it will:

  • Find the first recipe, and then will find the A base glyph, then find the the grave.case mark glyph, and insert them as components into Agrave glyph. The Agrave glyph will get the advance width of A since that is the base glyph.
  • If any of the component glyphs cannot be found in the font, FontLab will attempt a fallback recipe, which is to insert the A glyph and the gravecomb glyph. If those are not found, it will try A and grave.
  • If none of the recipes give the full result, FontLab will use the last recipe and build the glyph using as many component glyphs as it can find.

Example: If the A base glyph has a top anchor placed somewhere above the letterform, and either the grave.case or the gravecomb mark glyph has a _top anchor placed somewhere below the letterform, then in Agrave, FontLab will position the _top anchor of the mark glyph in the same location as the top anchor of the base glyph. You can use any anchor names as long as the anchor in the mark glyph uses the same name as the one in the base glyph, but with a _ prefix. If the glyphs don’t have matching anchors, FontLab will use the positioning clues encoded in the glyph generation recipe, which in this case will be “horizontally center the grave.case glyph” or “horizontally center the gravecomb glyph and raise it by the difference of the font master’s caps height and x-height.”

All the glyph needs, to be automatically generated, is an appropriate glyph name.

Custom glyph generation recipes»

If FontLab’s alias.dat doesn’t know how to generate your glyph, or if you use a different glyph naming scheme, or if you’d like to provide some positioning clues for your component glyphs, you can use custom glyph generation recipes. These recipes use a special syntax that tells FontLab which components it should add to the glyph, and provides clues where to place them. FontLab VI can use one of two syntaxes for custom glyph generation recipes:

  • The “legacy” syntax which is compatible with FontLab Studio 5 and can be used in the Generate Glyphs dialog box, in alias.dat and in auto layers
  • The GlyphConstruction syntax which can only be used in Font > Generate Glyphs > Custom (but not in auto layers)

You can use the legacy syntax in the recipe text field next to the Auto layer toggle to specify a custom recipe for that auto layer. Then, FontLab will not look up the glyph name in alias.dat but instead, it will interpret the custom auto layer recipe specified in that text field.

Example: If the Agrave glyph has an auto layer with an empty recipe field, it will use the alias.dat recipe, as described above. But if you enter A+uni0300 in that field, FontLab will use that recipe instead, and build the auto layer from as many component glyphs as it can find in the font.

If FontLab cannot find a component required by a recipe, it will still generate the auto layer, but will print warning in the Output panel. If one glyph’s recipe refers to itself or to a second glyph which in turn refers to the first glyph, FontLab will not generate an auto layer and print a “circular references” error.

The legacy syntax allows you to add a base glyph (which contributes the width) and one or more mark glyphs (e.g. A+dieresiscomb+acutecomb) and to create ligature glyphs (e.g. f_i or 'f_f'_i). You can even shift some components in x and y (but anchor-based positioning will take precedence). Check the details.

So, why not draw acutecomb as a zero-width glyph and make the acute glyph an auto glyph with the custom space+acutecomb recipe, or define one.tnum as an auto glyph with the custom recipe uni2007+one?

Other Generate Glyphs enhancements»

  • Auto layers and composite glyph layers inherit glyph guides from all component glyphs used to generate the layer. For example: glyph guides present in A and in acutecomb will be reproduced in Aacute.

  • Auto layers and composite glyph layers inherit anchors from all component glyphs used to generate the layer, but without duplicated anchors. When FontLab generates the Aringacute manual or auto layer using the A+ringcomb+acutecomb recipe, and all three component glyphs have a top anchor, the final glyph will get the top anchor from acutecomb, placed accordingly. Anchors not present in acutecomb will be inherited from ringcomb, and finally, those not present there, from A.

  • Auto layers and composite glyph layers inherit tags from their base component letters.

  • When you generate glyphs (composite or auto) with Font > Generate Glyphs, you can immediately open them in a new Glyph window for editing. This is controlled by a new checkbox which is on by default.

Text mode»

When Auto Wrap is on, the Text mode now shows where the text will wrap, using a darker background.

Text mode property bar»

We have redesigned the Text mode property bar.

  • In the middle of the Text mode property bar, you now see a brand-new thumbnail list of glyphs related to the current glyph (i.e. the glyph that precedes the Text Mode’s text cursor). Click on any thumbnail and the glyph will be inserted at the cursor, or — if you have any glyphs selected in the Glyph window — will replace that selection.
  • The Find button at the end of the thumbnail list opens the Edit > Find Glyphs floating dialog that allows you to make a more precise search using different criteria.
  • To the left of the thumbnail list, there is a text field that shows the name of the current glyph. You can start typing a glyph name into that field and the thumbnail list will show the results. Click on any result, and the glyph will be inserted, or hit the Enter key while typing the name, and the first result will be inserted.

To the right of the thumbnail list we have:

  • Two case buttons: Text to uppercase and Text to lowercase. These change the case of text currently selected (using the text mode cursor), or of all visible text if none is selected.
  • The Features button, which opens a floating dialog that allows you to apply OpenType features to the entire visible text. You need to have features defined and compiled in the Features panel. The Features checkbox enables feature processing, which will also activate Right-to-Left and script-specific Unicode processing. With the checkbox enabled, you can choose which features should be enabled.
  • The text size selector for the Glyph window. View > Actual Text Size will show the text in that size, other zoom levels are relative to that size.
  • Tracking and line height selectors. They are hidden if they don’t fit to the window width.
  • The Texts button that opens a floating text editor for the Text phrases. You can apply any of the phrases to the Glyph window using Text > Next Phrase and Text > Previous Phrase, and using the Pairs and Phrases panel.
  • The Auto wrap and Show Text bar toggles.
  • The Flag selector and the universal Search box (hidden if doesn’t fit).

Geometric transformations»

Contour-level vs. element-level transformation»

FontLab VI can apply geometric transformations on two levels: the element level or the contour level.

  • Element level:

    • You transform the “element box” itself, not “contents of the element box.”
    • The node coordinates inside the element remain untransformed.
    • Transformations applied on the element level are non-destructive; they are visible and editable in the Elements panel.
    • The references to this element remain unaffected (the transformation is only visible in the glyphs where it was applied).
    • In the Gallery panel, elements appear untransformed.
  • Contour level:

    • You transform “the contents of the element box.”
    • The node coordinates inside the element are transformed permanently.
    • The node coordinates are rounded if Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on.
    • All references to the element are affected (the transformation is visible in all composite glyphs).
    • In the Gallery panel, elements appear transformed.

Transform panel in the Glyph window»

If you use the Transform panel in the Glyph window with the Contour tool:

  • Horizontal and vertical flip, shift, scale, rotate and slant will be applied on the contour level:
    • if you’ve selected any or all nodes,
    • if the current element is not referenced in other glyphs (regardless of the node selection),
    • if the current element is referenced in other glyphs but you’ve selected all nodes.
  • Otherwise, those transformations will be applied on the element level.

Transform panel in the Font window»

When you select multiple glyphs in the Font window, enter a value for shift, scale, slant or rotate in the Transform panel, and click on Apply, FontLab will check if other glyphs use any of the selected glyphs as references. If this is the case, FontLab will show a dialog box asking if you want to also transform references of the current layer, or if you want to transform selected glyphs only.

This has important implications:

If you choose to apply the transformation to Also references (default), then:

  • FontLab will apply the transformation on the contour level in all selected glyphs.
  • This is similar to how transforming a glyph cell of a contour glyph worked in FontLab Studio 5.
  • Example: Select the A glyph but not Aacute (which uses A as a reference) in the Font window, apply a slant in the Transform panel and choose Also references:

    • The contours of the current A layer will be slanted.
    • The node coordinates will be rounded if Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on.
    • You will also see the result of the slanting in Aacute, but only for the A element — because you’ve transformed “the contents of the element box”, so all references are affected.
    • In the Gallery panel, the element will be slanted.

If you choose to apply the transformation to Selected only, then:

  • For glyphs that are not used as references, FontLab will apply the transformation on the contour level (just like described above).
  • For glyphs that are used as references, FontLab will apply the transformation on the element level.
  • Example: Select the A glyph but not Aacute (which uses A as a reference) in the Font window, apply a slant in the Transform panel and choose Selected only:

    • The contours of the current A layer will not be slanted. Instead, the element inside the A current glyph layer the will have a non-destructive slant applied (visible in the Elements panel).
    • The same element referenced in Aacute will remain upright.
    • In the Gallery panel, the element will remain upright.

Note: If you select some glyphs in the Font window and use the Transform panel:

  • Horizontal and vertical flip always work on the element level.
  • The dialog box will only appear if the contour-level (Also references) shift, scale, rotation or slant would affect glyphs that you haven’t selected.
  • If you select all glyphs, or you select the composite glyphs that use certain references and all the source glyphs for these references, FontLab will perform the transformation on the contour level, and will also shift the elements in composite glyphs according to the transformation.
  • If you only select composite glyphs but not the sources of their references, FontLab will perform the transformation on the element level (equivalent to transforming TrueType or UFO components in composite glyphs).

Transformations in the Actions dialog»

When you transform glyphs via Tools > Actions > Basics (Scale, Shift, Slant or Rotate), FontLab will behave as if you’ve chosen the “Selected only” transformation. It will apply the transformation on the contour level if it can, and will use element-level transformation only if contour-level transformation would affect glyphs that you haven’t selected.

Other improvements»

User interface»

Compact Toolbar»

The toolbar is more compact, so it fits better on smaller screens. It is also smarter: if it does not fully fit on screen, it hides the the Matchmaker and TrueType hinting tools first, and then the View toggles.

Glyph window property bar»

  • With the Preferences > Editing > Glyph window property bar setting, you can now decide whether the property bar of a Glyph window should be located at the top or at the bottom of the window. You may find a better visual balance of the window when the property bar is at the bottom.

  • The Glyph window property bar now first shows the font, then the layer/master switcher, and then the current glyph name. The layer/master switcher no longer moves around when you switch between different glyphs.

Brush tool property bar»

The dropdown list of the brush tool sizes in the Property bar for the Brush tool now includes several standard sizes in addition to sizes that match the font stems defined in Font Info.

Elements»

  • When View > Element Frame is on, the current element now shows a vertical line that goes through its center when you use the Contour tool and the element is locked, or when you use the Element tool. This is similar how FontLab Studio 5 displayed the active component.
  • Element guides are now also visible for grouped elements.
  • Element > Image > Interpret SVG is now called Make SVG Editable. This more clearly describes the operation. When you import an SVG, FontLab keeps it in its native form, with gradients, transparencies and all sorts of tricks. You can scale and rotate such an SVG but you cannot modify the contours inside it. But when you make an SVG editable, FontLab will convert it into FontLab native elements, composed of images and editable contours. As this conversion is not perfect, in some cases the results may be unexpected, and some properties such as gradients will be lost in conversion. But you will then be able to edit the individual contours.

FontAudit»

  • Improved algorithm for FontAudit fixing weak inflections. FontAudit now tries adjusting the curve through handle lengths and balancing. (FontAudit no longer adds nodes to fix a weak inflection; previously this often made things worse rather than better.)
  • Open contours are now highlighted with a lilac color instead of the circle used in the previous release.
  • FontAudit will not perform tests for missing extrema, nearly-horizontal or nearly-vertical lines on an element that is rotated or slanted.

Preview panel»

  • If the Content selector in the Preview panel’s sidebar is set to Current and you type in some custom text into the panel, the selector automatically switches to Custom, so your custom text is shown even if you change the text in the Glyph window. Switch it back to Current to reflect the contents of the Glyph window.
  • If you turn on Show glyph names (the “abc” icon), a glyph names bar will appear at the bottom of the panel. Now you can enter text there, using the glyphtext notation (character, /glyphname or \uUnicode).

Variations»

  • FontLab can add, rename and remove guidelines across masters as long as the corresponding option is on in Preferences > Variations > Synchronize in matching masters. Note: Unnamed glyph guidelines cannot be removed across masters. You might consider immediately naming any guidelines created across masters (after selecting the guideline, use the Guide panel, or the property bar of the Glyph window).

  • When you open a VFC or VFJ font with multiple layers, FontLab will check if any of the font masters has a suspiciously low number of glyphs while another layer has a large glyph set. If this is the case, FontLab will offer to let you decide which layer should be used as a font master, and allows you to rename the new master.

Glyph names and Unicode»

  • FontLab prevents you from assigning the same Unicode to two or more glyphs, and provides a warning dialog to help you deal with the conflict. (Previously, such duplicated Unicode values were possible, and could cause unexpected glyph renaming/reencoding on export.)

  • In the Glyph > Rename Glyph dialog, if you enter and accept a new glyph name, and the name change should also change the Unicode codepoint, a new Unicode will be assigned as well (e.g. when you change the glyph name from B to D or to uni4719).

  • If you drag a Font window glyph cell for a glyph with a uniXXXX-style name to cell that has a different Unicode, the glyph will be automatically renamed to reflect the target Unicode.

TrueType Smoothing (gasp table)»

Handling of the gasp table settings that are available in FontInfo > Other Values > TrueType Hinting and Smoothing is improved:

  • FontLab now correctly adds a gasp table record with bit 1 off (no smoothing) at the PPM specified in the No smoothing up to PPM setting if that PPM is >0.
  • FontLab now correctly adds a gasp table record with bit 3 off (no symmetric ClearType smoothing) at the PPM specified in No vertical smoothing up to PPM setting. If that PPM is 0, the actual PPM will be auto-calculated.
  • FontLab now correctly imports the PPM values for No smoothing up to PPM and No vertical smoothing up to PPM when reading the gasp table records from TTF, VFB and UFO.

Python installation on Windows»

On Windows 64-bit systems, it is now possible keep FontLab Studio 5 with the 32-bit Python installed and, in addition, install the 64-bit version of FontLab VI along with the 64-bit version of Python. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Python can co-exist now.

  1. When you install the 64-bit version or the 32-bit version of FontLab VI for Windows for the first time, you can configure the path at which its respective 64-bit or 32-bit Python is installed.
  2. If you already have 32-bit Python installed, and you install the 32-bit Python using the FontLab VI installer, your existing 32-bit Python install will be overwritten regardless of the selected path. Similarly, if you already have 64-bit Python installed, and you install the 64-bit Python using the FontLab VI installer, your existing 64-bit Python install will be overwritten regardless of the selected path.
  3. 32-bit Python and 64-bit Python are now treated independently, so they may co-exist in the system. For example, you can install the 64-bit Python 2.7 in the C:\Python27 folder and install the 32-bit Python 2.7 in C:\Python27_x86 folder. FontLab Studio 5 (which is 32-bit), FontLab VI 32-bit and FontLab VI 64-bit can all co-exist and use the proper Python version.
  4. When you install FontLab VI for Windows in the “silent” mode, the installer doesn’t install Python. You should install it separately, if needed.

Bug fixes»

Transformations»

  • Path direction remains unchanged, when you use the Transform panel or Tools > Transform menu to flip/mirror a glyph. Previously, when nothing was selected and the whole glyph was affected, path direction would be reversed.

  • Element transformations are more consistently tracked in the History panel, and updated correctly in the Font window. Undo works more consistently with element transformations, no matter how they were applied.

  • Element > Expand Transformation can be applied to selected cells in the Font window. Elements having references with different transformations applied are unaffected.

  • Rotating glyphs 180° in the Font window (using the Transform panel on selected glyph cells) no longer changes sidebearings.

  • Transformation of multiple selected glyphs in the Font window was improved to avoid “double” transformations.

Contour editing in the Glyph window»

  • If Preview Rounding is on, moving one handle of a smooth node that is at a non-integer position no longer causes the other handle to change its length.

  • You can now Alt-drag a retracted handle (a zero-length handle that is on top of a node) from a sharp, smooth or tangent node of a curve segment, not just from a sharp node.

  • When you retract a handle by ShiftAlt-click, the contour updates immediately.

  • When you convert a node from smooth to sharp via double-click, the node maintains its most recent sharp handle positions.

  • If a curve segment has one or both adjacent nodes as “tangent” nodes, ++Alt+-drag on the curve does not changes the tangent node handle direction; it only affects handle length.

  • When you retract a handle, further operations on neighboring nodes and handles no longer “corrupt” the display of contour and fill.

  • Alt-drag of TrueType contour with inflection no longer “corrupts” the display of contour and fill.

  • The large cross cursor (Preferences > Editing > Show cross) updates properly while you are sliding a node via ++Alt-Shift++-drag.

  • Deleting selected points with the Backspace key removes all the points, even if one is a contour’s startpoint.

  • Free marquee/selection of adjacent glyphs works, even when the current glyph layer is empty [Windows-only bug]

  • Doing Contour > Align no longer moves handles to zero position.

  • The Text Bar is updated correctly after results from the Search box are inserted into a Glyph window.

  • Changes from the Brush panel applied to a contour drawn with Brush tool: changes can be undone, and appear in the History panel.

  • Remove Overlap now gives correct results in some complex cases involving both interior counters and three or more contours, when some of those contours touch without overlapping.

Smart Corners»

  • Preserving corner tension when converting smart corners to non-smart curves with Apply Smart Corner. In Font Info > Master Properties > Font Dimensions two settings control the appearance of all smart corners in a font master: Corner Tension defines the tension of the smart corners (0 are completely flat corners, 60 is the default, 100 is quite rectangular round corners), and Ink trap width controls the width of the ink traps (2 is default). Previously, the values defined there only worked in the preview, while the default values were used when you converted the smart corners into plain contours using Apply Smart Corner. Now the correct values are used when you apply a smart corner.

  • Pasting contours to an element with Smart corners is fixed so that the pasted contour can still be selected.

  • Contour > Remove Smart Corners works on all selected elements, not just the current element.

Rulers, Guides, zooming, measurement»

  • Rulers now update instantly when you change the zoom, without any lag.

  • Zoom-in and zoom-out using Alt-scrollwheel when the Pen tool is active doesn’t cause a crash.

  • Quick measurement line measures the stem thickness on the current layer correctly, even when the mask layer is visible.

  • We now use the term “guide” more consistently throughout the UI (never “guideline”)

  • Element guides no longer show incorrect angle values in the Property bar, nor present unexpected results when you edit their Property bar values.

  • When the selection includes an Element guide, movements made with Cmd-arrow keys still apply the multiplier (defined in Preferences > Distances).

  • Guides using expressions with the width parameter are created correctly, and update instantly.

  • Tabbing between fields in the Guides panel is faster, and the tab order is corrected.

Elements»

  • Creating an element using New Element and then drawing with Rectangle, Ellipse, Pen, Pencil, or Rapid tool no longer leaves any extra empty elements in the glyph.

  • Copying a contour, and pasting it as an element into a new empty glyph, then editing it, no longer causes redraw problems during editing.

  • With multiple Elements selected, the arrow (cursor) keys still work to move them.

  • With the Element tool active, click, hold and drag correctly creates a copy of the contour instead of a reference.

  • Element rotation value does not change randomly when switching between fields in the Elements panel.

  • The command Element > Combine Contours to Element had its name adjusted (“to Element” instead of “to Elements”) as the result is always a single element.

  • Doing Element > Remove Filter on an Element referenced by others no longer unlinks those references.

  • The dialogs for Element > Add Element Reference and Element > Replace Element now remember the last options you used.

  • Combine Contours to Element operation now preserves Smart corners without applying them.

  • When Preview Rounding is on, decimal values entered in the Elements panel are converted to integer values upon leaving focus.

  • The commands =Element > Arrange > Send to Back= (=Cmd+Shift+[=) and =Element > Arrange > Bring to Front= (=Cmd+Shift+[=) can be used more than once within the same glyph without undoing the previous “Arrange.”

Anchors and Pins»

  • The positions of pins and anchors are updated on the Sketchboard when you drag them.

  • When a pin is pasted from one element to another, there is no lag before it is visible.

  • When an anchor is copied from one glyph and pasted to another, it remains an anchor instead of being converted to a pin.

  • Pins no longer incorrectly replicate across Elements.

  • Moving anchors using arrows + Cmd key now uses the correct multiplier (ten times the Shift+arrow value defined in Preferences > Distances).

  • Unchecking the Use anchors checkbox in Font > Generate Glyphs dialog now correctly disables use of anchors.

Generate Glyphs»

  • The glyphs for the characters ĢĶķĻļŅņŖŗȘșŢţ are now always generated using the uni0326 or commaaccent diacritic glyphs, regardless of whether the glyph names are in the format of Gcommaaccent or uni0122.

  • Some characters that formerly incorrectly got cedilla accents when auto-generated, now get the correct commaaccent.

  • The glyphs Eth, Dcroat and uni0189 are now generated correctly.

Metrics and Kerning»

  • When you bind sidebearings, they are updated instantly when elements are moved (for example, glyphs composed of multiple elements with pins). You no longer need to use the Update Metrics command in such cases.

  • The Measurement line can be moved, and turned off, in all editing modes.

  • When the Measurement Line is visible:

    • sidebearing values shown in the Glyph panel are now correct.
    • the Metrics Table shows the correct sidebearing values in all modes (metrics, kerning, and editing contours).
  • Changes made to font metrics (ascender, descender, caps height and x-height) in the Glyph window by dragging can be Undone.

  • Accessing the Adjust kerning dialog from the pop-up (“hamburger“) menu of the Kerning panel works again.

  • Automatic metrics linking (Font > Link Glyph Metrics…) is smarter about which glyphs it picks to link to.

  • Changing the background color for the Kerning mode in Preferences > Spacing is saved correctly.

  • Kerning some glyphs containing bitmap images does not crash.

Variations & Layers»

  • Building a glyph by manually adding elements now affects only the current master/layer. Other masters/layers do not get added elements.

  • Variations compatibility options in Preferences > Variations are now off by default, so editing one layer does not automatically affect other layers in a Variable Font.

  • When you duplicate a layer:

    • Expressions used at glyph-level (such as in anchors or glyph guides) are fully preserved.
    • No unexpected additional pins appear.
  • Position of the Remove Layer dialog was adjusted to always fit window boundaries.

  • Lock, service, and wireframe options for layers work correctly in the Layers panel, even when the panel is docked horizontally and the names of the layers are very long.

Font window»

  • When you turn off a filter on the Font window, your default sorting criterion (specified in Preferences > Font window) is applied.

  • When the glyph name implies one Unicode (e.g. “uniE0123”) but the actual assigned Unicode is different (e.g. “E0765”), this no longer “confuses” the Font window into showing glyphs in an incorrect order, or multiple times.

  • Copy-pasting a glyph in the Font window, and then Undoing it, no longer erases guides. (Yes, this was the most bizarre bug found and fixed in this release.)

  • In Preferences > Font window, three incorrect tooltips were removed.

  • Fixed a delay in Font window preview when new contours are pasted in a glyph.

  • When a VFC file is opened, the Font window sorts glyph cells correctly, according to the view settings (Encoding, Codepage, Script etc.) saved in the VFC file.

Compiling and decompiling OpenType features»

  • When compiling OpenType Layout features that have no languagesystem definitions, FontLab automatically inserts languagesystem definitions for all Unicode scripts covered by the font’s character set. (This feature was temporarily broken on Mac.)

  • Custom names for stylistic set features which include the quote symbol are compiled correctly.

  • Decompiling the mark feature is improved.

  • When opening OpenType fonts, decompiling GPOS and GSUB tables succeeds with more fonts.

Opening fonts»

  • Opening a VFJ file containing extra spaces and/or tabs no longer causes a crash.

  • Another VFJ-opening crash was fixed.

Saving and exporting fonts»

  • When a custom export profile turns off PostScript autohinting, FontLab no longer ignores this (turning off autohinting is now successful).

  • If you have a Save As dialog and cancel the save, FontLab presents only one warning dialog, no matter how many files would have been generated.

  • FontLab no longer crashes when exporting an OpenType PS (.otf) font instance from certain multiple master fonts.

Other fixes»

  • The Preview panel no longer jumps to the first glyph when you switch editing tools.

  • Applying an Action to a glyph built from multiple elements does not cause a crash.

  • Resetting preferences to default, or applying a saved set of preferences, does not change View options.

  • Using the Text tool on the Sketchboard no longer causes a crash.

  • Undo/redo now works properly for the text strings entered in Preview panel.

  • Live preview (Preferences > Editing > Live preview) is now faster when editing curves with arrow keys

  • Opacity of artwork imported to the Sketchboard and set to zero is correctly remembered, even after the app is relaunched.

  • Tabs no longer “hide” after docking windows. This issue only affected Microsoft Windows users who had Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration on the second or third option.

  • FontLab doesn’t hang when opening certain VFC files with multiple Glyph windows opened when you have Preferences > General > Windows and tabs configuration on the third option, Fonts and glyphs open in windows (Windows-only).

  • Switching from the Text tool to the Contour tool no longer opens a new Glyph window unexpectedly. (Windows-only)

FontLab VI version 6.0.6.6722»

30 May 2018

FontLab VI 6.0.6 is even a bigger improvement than 6.0.5, with some 180 improvements (80 new features or enhancements, and 100 bug fixes)! Among others, 6.0.6 allows you to automatically synchronize editing operations such as adding or removing nodes across matching masters, brings major improvements in the Metrics and Kerning workflows, and some important enhancements in variable fonts handling. Plus, FontLab VI now supports the UFO3 format!

New and improved features»

Drawing»

  • New Convert to smooth curve segment operation: you can instantly convert any line segment to a curve segment, and make the surrounding nodes smooth with ShiftAlt-click on the segment (so you’ll get an actually curved curve segment). (If you just want a curve but not smooth connections, use Alt-click.)

  • The Rectangle tool has a new “eraser” mode. If you enable the eraser mode in the Property bar and draw a rectangle over an existing shape in the current element, the filled portions of the existing shape covered by the rectangle will be instantly removed (trimmed).

  • In Contour mode, ShiftPage Down or FnShiftDown will select additional nodes and handles along the contour (in the direction of the contour) and ShiftPage Up or FnShiftUp will select additional nodes and handles in the direction opposite to the contour direction.

  • When you create overlaps by connecting two nodes using the Scissors tool, the results were often incorrect especially if the nodes were adjunct to curve segments or line segments at different angles. The results are much better now.

Grid and Guides»

  • When you have two nodes selected, choose Tools > Add Guide to add a glyph guide that goes through those nodes.

  • If you have a non-zero italic angle specified in Font Info > Font Dimensions, you can slant any guide to that angle with the guide’s context menu entry Slant to italic angle

  • If you have non-zero grid slant angle specified in Preferences > Grid (with the Follow the font’s Italic Angle setting disabled), you can slant any guide to that angle with the guide’s context menu entry Slant to grid

  • You can show or hide the Measurement Line with the CtrlAltL keyboard shortcut

  • The setting Preferences > Grid > On-curve nodes always snap to the grid is now called Round nodes, guides and anchors to grid points. With this setting on, snapping to the grid becomes “strong” i.e. nodes, guides and anchors (but not handles) snap to it immediately.

FontAudit»

  • FontAudit has a new test Open Contour for any open contour. This test is disabled by default but you can turn it on in the FontAudit panel. If you choose to fix an Open Contour, FontAudit will close the contour with a line segment.

  • New Glyph > Fix FontAudit Problems command will fix the FontAudit problems in the current layer for the current glyph, or (in Font Window) for selected glyphs. You can control which problems will be fixed by enabling/disabling tests in the FontAudit panel.

Variations, masters and layers»

  • View > Masters relations now shows the Master relation lines more clearly for selected nodes.

  • The color-coding for master matching used in the Layers and Masters panel is now also used in the Master switcher in the Property bar of the Glyph window. The inactive masters are shown:

    • on a pale red background if they don’t match (aren’t point-compatible) with the current master and cannot be interpolated
    • on a pale yellow background if they partially match with the current master (they have the same number of elements, nodes and contours but the ordering, contour direction or point types mismatch
    • on a pale green background if they fully match with the current master
  • Copy Outline to Mask is renamed to Copy to Mask and now works for image elements as well as outlines

  • When you add a new layer in the Layers panel and enable Fill new layer with content of this font, you can choose the master of that font.

Synchronize editing operations in matching masters»

If you enable Edit Across Layers and Edit Across Elements and make several layers or masters visible in the Layers panel, and then you can use various editing tools to edit contours in the current layer or master and in all other visible layers or masters at once — as if these layers were one layer. This setting works regardless of whether the masters match or not, and does not guarantee that you will get matching masters as a result. For example, you still need to add or remove a node in all the contours from all the masters — you can just do it faster.

Now, we’re introducing a new series of settings: Preferences > Variations > Synchronize in matching masters. With these settings enabled, you can perform a certain operation in the current master, and the same operation will be “repeated” in all other masters that match the current master. Non-matching masters, masters that are set to non-interpolable in Font Info > Masters, and other layers are not affected.

You can enable the following Synchronize in matching masters settings:

  • Delete node: when you delete one or more nodes, one or more segments or even contours in the current master, the corresponding objects will be deleted from all other matching masters
  • Insert node: when you add a node (using CtrlAlt-click with the Contour tool, a click with the Knife tool or a click with the Pen tool) or multiple nodes (drag with the Knife tool) in the current master, nodes will be added in analogous locations on all other matching masters
  • Rename node: renaming a node in the current master will rename the corresponding node in all other matching masters
  • Add and rename guide: creating a guide in the current master will create corresponding guides in all other matching masters, and renaming will work similarly

(Note: There are several additional settings in the preferences which are disabled, because they are not yet implemented).

Keep in mind that Synchronize in matching masters and Edit Across Layers work separately. For example, if Edit Across Layers is on, you can drag the Knife tool to add nodes across contours belonging to different masters. But if you also have Synchronize in matching masters > Insert node on, then FontLab:

  • will insert some nodes in the contours of the current master
  • will then repeat inserting of the nodes in the contours of all other matching masters in analogous locations
  • will then insert nodes in some contours of the other masters that you’ve dragged the Knife through

In the end, the other masters may get more nodes inserted, and as a result, the masters will become incompatible. Therefore, we recommend using either Edit Across Layers or Synchronize in matching masters but not both.

Font Window»

To help you distinguish between a font that has multiple masters and a font that has a single master, the title bar of the Font Window:

  • for a single-master font shows an icon with four rectangles followed by the font’s Full Name
  • for a font with multiple masters shows an icon with vertical stripes followed by the font’s Family Name, and, after a colon, the name of the currently active Master

Font Info»

  • When you create a font with multiple masters (e.g. via Font > Merge Fonts to Masters or by adding a master in Font Info), FontLab automatically adds an axis. It will make an educated guess whether to create a Weight or a Width axis. You can always change the type of the axis in Font Info > Axes. Previously, the Weight and Width axes would sometimes be implicit, i.e. they were not added in Font Info.

  • When you add an axis with File > Font Info > Axes > +, you can choose from a set of predefined axes or create a custom axis.

  • When you rename a master using Font Info > Names > Master name, the changes are instantly visible in the Font Info master switcher.

Variations Panel»

The Map view of the Variations Panel has been redesigned:

  • if the font has no axes, the map view is blank
  • if the font has one axis, the master locations are arranged horizontally (and not diagonally), and the location is shown only once
  • if the font has two axes, the Map view shows the 2D view of the location; you can choose which axis should be shown horizontally and which vertically
  • if the font has three or more axes, you can choose which axis should be shown horizontally and which vertically; additional axes are then shown as sliders below the map

Instances»

When you choose a dynamic instance in the Variations Panel (by positioning the blue dot in the Map view, by choosing a combination of sliders in the List view or by picking a predefined instance in the Instances mode of the List view), you can click on the Generate instance as master or font button (top-right of the panel) and choose:

  • Add as Master to add the currently selected instance as a new font master in the same font
  • Create as Font to create a new single-master font that has the contents of the currently selected instance (similar to Generate Instance in FontLab Studio 5)

This functionality is also available as Font > Generate Instance, and both places now use the same terminology. .

Non-linear axis mapping»

You can now define non-linear axis mapping for each variation axis. You do this by specifying the external number, an equal sign, and then your internal number: e.g. 700=230 to make an external number of 700 equal your internal number of 230.

If you use your own design locations (for example your Width axis uses the stem thickness) but wish to export a variable font with standardized user locations (going from 1 to 1000, with Regular at 400 and Bold at 700), go to Font Info > Axes and in the “axis instances” area (large text field at the bottom of each axis definition), use the following syntax: "Extra Light" 100=16, (Regular) 400=80, Semibold 600=150, Bold 700=230.

With this syntax, you specify “axis instances”, i.e. special locations on the axis, that have a name and two sets of locations.

The axis instance names such as “Extra Light”, “Semibold”, “Bold” are elements from which FontLab builds style names when you use Font Info > Instances > From Axes. "Extra Light" is in quotes because it consists of two words. (Regular) is in parentheses because it’s an elidable name element, i.e. it will not be used when the complete style name is built, if there are elements beyond “Regular.” These names may in future also be used to build axis value names in the OpenType STAT table (but this is not yet implemented).

The number after the = is the design location, i.e. the location on the axis as you see and use it within FontLab VI.

The number before the = is the user location, which is used as follows:

  • When you create predefined instances in Font Info > Instances > From Axes, the user locations for the Weight axis are used to automatically build the Weight class style attribute (OS/2.usWeightClass) when you export the predefined instances as traditional static fonts.
  • For all axes, when you export your font as OpenType Variations, FontLab will create mapping points between each design location and a user location along the axis. This way, you can control the speed of the end-user’s slider on each segment between these mapping points. If there are more than 3 axis instances, FontLab will automatically create an avar OpenType table as required by the spec.
  • For all axes, when you export your font as DesignSpace + UFO, the mapping between design locations and user locations will written into the .designspace file as the axis map.

Generate Glyphs»

  • Font > Generate Glyphs no longer removes an inactive layer/master when the Active Master Only setting is on.

  • Generating a glyph generates not just font masters, but also glyph masters, if any source glyph had them

Classes, Metrics (Spacing) and Kerning»

Metrics editing»

  • When in Font tab/window with one or more glyphs selected, you can open them in a Metrics tab/window (i.e. Glyph tab/window in Metrics mode): click the Metrics tool on the toolbar or Cmd-double-click (Mac) / Cmd-double-click (Windows) on the selection.

  • When in a Glyph tab/window, press ShiftAltCmdM (Mac) / ShiftAltCtrlM (Windows) or choose Window > New Metrics Tab or …Window to open a new Metrics tab/window with the same text contents. This also works with the Font window selection.

  • The Metrics mode of the Glyph window/tab now has a custom pointer (cursor)

  • You can customize the background color for the Metrics mode separately from Kerning mode in Preferences > Spacing

  • In the Metrics mode of the Glyph window:

    • When the Pairs and Phrases panel is invisible, you can:
      • use Up or Ctrl[ to go to the previous line in the current text
      • use Down or Ctrl] to go to the next line in the current text
      • use FnCmdUp+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Up (Windows) to go to the previous text phrase
      • use FnCmdDown+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Down (Windows) to go to the next text phrase
    • When the Pairs and Phrases panel is visible, the behavior changes slightly:
      • use Up or Ctrl[ to go to the previous line in the current text, and if you’re in the first line, to the previous text phrase
      • use Down or Ctrl] to go to the next line in the current text, and if you’re in the last line, to the next text phrase

(Note: if the Pairs and Phrases panel is set to Pairs, pair phrases will be used instead of text phrases.)

Kerning editing»

  • When in Font tab/window with one or more glyphs selected, you can open them as a Kerning tab/window (i.e. Glyph tab/window in Kerning mode): click the Kerning tool on the toolbar, AltCmd-double-click (Mac) / AltCmd-double-click (Windows) on the selection.

  • When in a Glyph tab/window, press ShiftAltCmdK (Mac) / ShiftAltCtrlK (Windows) or choose Window > New Kerning Tab or …Window to open a new Kerning tab/window with the same text contents. This also works with the Font window selection.

  • The Kerning mode of the Glyph window/tab now has a custom pointer (cursor)

  • You can customize the background color for the Kerning mode separately from Metrics mode in Preferences > Spacing

  • The Semicolon key applies autokerning to the current pair in the Kerning mode of the Glyph window.

  • The settings for autokerning are now in Preferences > Spacing.

  • In the Kerning mode of the Glyph window:

    • When the Kerning panel is invisible, you can:
      • use Up or Ctrl[ to go to the previous line in the current text, and if you’re in the first line, to the previous pair phrase
      • use Down or Ctrl] to go to the next line in the current text, and if you’re in the last line, to the next pair phrase
      • use FnCmdUp+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Up (Windows) to go to the previous pair phrase
      • use FnCmdDown+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Down (Windows) to go to the next pair phrase
    • When the Kerning panel is visible and the Pairs and Phrases panel is invisible, the behavior changes slightly:
      • use Up to go to the previous line in the current text, and if you’re in the first line, to the previous existing kerning pair
      • use Down to go to the next line in the current text, and if you’re in the last line, to the next existing kerning pair
      • use FnCmdUp+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Up (Windows) to go to the previous pair phrase
      • use FnCmdDown+ (Mac) or CtrlPage Down (Windows) to go to the next pair phrase

(Note: if the Pairs and Phrases panel is set to Texts, text phrases will be used instead of pair phrases.)

Classes panel»

  • In the Classes panel, you can select two classes and then edit the contents of both classes side-by-side. When you’re kerning, the Classes panel automatically shows the appropriate 1st and 2nd class.

  • You can copy-paste multiple classes between font masters or different fonts.

  • When you delete a kerning class in the Classes panel, FontLab will flatten the kerning pairs that use that class.

  • When kerning class is cleaned using the Clean Up Class operation after glyphs deletion, kerns that use those deleted glyphs are also removed

  • The Reset command in the Classes panel local menus is now called Remove All Classes.

Kerning panel»

  • Browsing through the kerning pairs in the Kerning panel by clicking or using Up/Down now puts the current pair into the Glyph Window. When you select multiple pairs in the Kerning panel, they will be placed in the Glyph Window in multiple lines.

  • When you click on the small gray rectangle left of a class-based pair in the First column of the Kerning panel, or you Ctrl-click on the pair in the panel, the Glyph window will show all glyphs from the 1st class kerned against the 2nd glyph (or a representative glyph of the 2nd class).

  • When you click on the small gray rectangle left of a class-based pair in the Second column of the Kerning panel, or you Alt-click on the pair in the panel, the Glyph window will show the 1st glyph (or a representative glyph of the 1st class) kerned against class kerned against all glyphs from the 2nd class.

  • When you Alt-click on either of the small gray rectangles, the Glyph window will show all glyphs from the 1st class kerned against class kerned against all glyphs from the 2nd class.

  • You can use Left/Right to increase or decrease the value for all kerning pairs selected in the Kerning panel.

  • When the “HOH” toggle is enabled in the Kerning panel and you choose a kerning pair, the Glyph Window will show that pair in context, i.e. surrounded by some glyphs that are selected automatically.

  • In the Kerning panel, you can now copy and paste kerning pairs (between masters or fonts).

  • The “eye” button at the bottom of the Kerning panel shows and hides the kerning pair preview in the panel.

  • The Remove Pairs… command (available from the Kerning panel’s local menu, previously named Filter) is improved:

    • The option to remove kerning pairs below a given value now uses the less or equal to operator, allows the value 0, and can preserve small numbers when they are exceptions.
    • There is a new clean-up option to remove pairs for non-existent glyphs or empty classes.
  • The searches using the Filter box and the dropdown selectors (All glyphs, Selected Glyphs, Glyphs in Encoding) work faster. Remember that the Filter box accepts syntax such as A V, * V, A * where * means “any glyph’.

  • You can now apply color flags to kerning pairs in the Kerning panel. If you’ve also applied color flags to classes in the Classes panel, the resulting color flag will be a mixture of the class color flag and the pair color flag. Note: you may need to enlarge the panel to see the UI elements for applying Color flags.

  • The Reset command in the Kerning panel local menus is now called Remove All Pairs.

Other improvements for Kerning»

  • When you generate or export instances from a multiple-master font, kerning pairs with the value of 0 are removed.

  • FontLab now suggests you to remove the kern feature from the Features panel if you modify the font’s visual kerning. You can rebuild the kern feature using the Features panel local menu command. When you export the font, FontLab will generate the kern feature (according to the setting in the export profile).

  • When you remove all kerning with Remove All Pairs in the Kerning panel’s local menu, FontLab will asks you if you want to remove the kern feature if it exists. If you choose Yes and then undo, the first Undo will restore the kern feature, the second Undo will restore the kerning.

Glyphs and Elements»

  • Copy-pasting a glyph in the Font Window pastes an independent glyph, rather than an Element Reference

  • You can now duplicate one or more glyphs in the Font Window using Edit > Duplicate, and assign a glyph name suffix in the dialog that opens.

  • You can now add or remove tags from multiple selected glyphs in the Font Window, while preserving all other existing tags for these glyphs. To do this, select the glyphs and, in the Tags field of the Glyph panel:

    • prefix the tag with + to add it to all selected glyphs (e.g. type +tofix to add the tofix tag to the glyphs)
    • prefix the tag with - to remove it from all selected glyphs (e.g. type -tofix to remove the tofix tag from the glyphs)
    • if you omit the + you are replacing all tags in the selected glyphs with the new tags
  • In the Gallery panel, you can Alt-drag-drop one Element onto a second Element: FontLab will then ask you if you want to replace all references to the second Element by references to the first Element in all glyphs of the current master.

Files and Formats»

Saving»

  • When you’re closing a font that you’ve modified, FontLab asks you if you want to save the changes. You can now choose Don’t Save by pressing CmdD or CmdDel (Mac-only).

  • You can now choose the human-readable text-based “FontLab VI JSON (VFJ)” format in the File > Save As… dialog. However, all subsequent saves (using File > Save) will be done in the FontLab VI (VFC) binary format. If you want to keep saving the VFJ format, you can now enable it in Preferences > Save Fonts as an additional save format — then, on every save, both VFC and VFJ will be created.

Autosave»

The autosave is improved. With Preferences > Save Fonts > Autosave opened fonts enabled, when you create a new font or open a font in any format and modify it, FontLab will start automatically saving a copy in ~/Library/Application Support/FontLab/FontLab VI/Autosave (Mac) or C:\Users\YOURNAME\AppData\Roaming\Fontlab\FontLab VI\Autosave (Windows) using a unique filename, in the frequency specified in the Preferences. Previously, some files were not autosaved.

Note: FontLab will remove the autosaved files if you close the font or quit the app. If FontLab crashes and you restart it, it will ask if you want to recover the autosaved files.

UFO version 3»

FontLab VI now has preliminary (“beta”) support for the UFO version 3 interchange format.

Since UFO3 support is still in beta, the default export profiles (UFO Package and DesignSpace + UFO) still use UFO2. To export UFO3, go to File > Profiles, select the DesignSpace + UFO or UFO Package profile, click on the + button and in the profile properties:

  • Change the Profile name (for example to UFO3 Package or UFO3 + DesignSpace).
  • Disable the Use legacy format version setting. This enables UFO version 3.
  • Optionally, change the Profile subfolder to something else. This string will be used to form the subfolder name if you export the font with the Subfolders by: Profile setting enabled.

Note: FontLab VI treats UFO as an import/export format, so it’s not fully round-trippable. FontLab supports practically all of “standard” UFO3 constructs, but it does not read custom font or glyph lib properties, and does not export color glyphs into UFO3. Glyphs that use filters such as Power Brush, Smart Corners or Glue, or compound elements, are exported as plain outlines.

VFB import»

When opening a VFB, FontLab will convert Metrics classes into metrics expressions where appropriate. If you used “Metrics Assistance” in FontLab Studio 5 to copy some metrics from a source glyph to some target glyphs, FontLab VI will form expressions in those target glyphs only if their metrics are still identical to the source metrics. If the target metrics differ from the source metrics, FontLab VI will use the numerical values.

User interface»

  • Better tab/window navigation. The Glyph/Font tabs headers are now wide — they take all available space. When you open new tab/window from a tab/window and then close that new tab/window, you are returned to the tab/window that you were previously working on.

  • Better UI contrast. When Preferences > Glyph Window > High contrast rendering is enabled, more UI elements are now darker, now including Genius and Servant nodes as well as Spacing controls for inactive glyphs.

  • Scoreboard. The new View > Scoreboard toggle shows a large “numeric readout” that shows coordinates for points, anchors, guidelines etc. as you’re moving them with your pointer. You can move or resize the Scoreboard. Useful if you’re working on a large monitor where the normal UI elements are tiny.

  • Workspaces. When you save a workspace, additional properties of currently open panels (such as opened panel sections) will be saved.

  • Icons (with tooltips) have replaced text labels in the Property bar (above the Font or Glyph window), and in the Glyph panel.

Auto Preview in Text mode»

When you activate the Text tool in a Glyph window and then don’t perform any actions, after a few seconds of inactivity the Text mode turns into Auto Preview, and the text cursor disappears.

In Auto Preview, instead of keys producing text, they have the same effect as in other editing modes of the Glyph window: you can zoom in/out using the Z and X keys, pan using the Space key and use other any single-key shortcuts. To activate the Text mode again, click where you want the text cursor to appear.

Preview panel»

  • You can now customize the foreground and background color of the Preview panel (useful for previewing fonts in low-contrast situations)

  • Cmd-double-click on a glyph in the Preview panel to open the glyph for editing in the Glyph window

  • In the Preview panel, the Context mode now allows you to change the default string. To do that, open the context dialog with the gear button next to the mode selection. (You can still also change the text temporarily, either by direct typing, or by editing the glyph names bar, but these changes do not affect the default.). Note: in the context string, the @ character stands for the current glyph

  • The Preview panel now remembers its settings between sessions

Other enhancements»

  • Font Info > Unicode Ranges now has complete support for the OS/2.ulUnicodeRange* fields (the ranges 70-84 and 91-122 were added).

  • In the Stems dialog of the TrueType Hinting mode, the tooltip for the auto button (diamond shape) now reads Auto-detect stems (was “Calculate Stems”)

Bugfixes»

Drawing and editing contours»

  • Tools > Clear Global Mask is now disabled if the global mask is blank

  • Improved moving anchors with keyboard arrows.

  • Editing of TrueType curves that include servant nodes is improved.

  • With Contour > Coordinates > Preview Rounding enabled, both paths and nodes are rounded correctly on screen in Smart Corners.

  • When you drag an element with the Element tool, or a contour selection with the Contour tool, the Property bar continuously updates the display of the x/y coordinates.

  • With Preview Rounding enabled, handles no longer change unexpectedly when you move a selection

  • The Nodes panel immediately shows the results of Preview Rounding.

  • FontAudit marks on Sketchboard with Preview Rounding enabled are no longer misplaced.

  • Right-click menu correctly appears for selected curve segment, even when Preferences > Editing > Clicking on outline selects segment is on (Win-only bug)

  • Alt-dragging a Tangent node now moves the node but keeps the handle in place even when Round while Editing is turned on.

  • The contextual pop-up menu for SVG elements no longer shows commands related to bitmap images (as they have no effect), and the menu entries in Elements > Image are appropriately disabled

  • Copy Outline to Global Mask no longer causes a crash when you do it after selecting an element with bitmaps

  • If you delete the Mask layer, Tools > Edit Mask is no longer checked afterwards

  • Fixed a three-way interaction between smart fill, smart corners and copy/paste creating unpredictable results

  • Contextual drop-down menu still available after doing Contour > Simplify

  • Font Guideline sliders in the Font Info panel work as expected

  • Context menu for guideline/metrics position works correctly

  • Nodes can be moved with the right arrow key, even after applying smart fill

  • Clicking too fast on FontAudit marks no longer causes a crash

  • After converting a horizontal or vertical guideline to a vector guideline, the defaults in Guidelines panel remain correct/unchanged

  • Nodes that are linked with magnet to Font Guidelines now move appropriately when the Font Guideline position is changed via Font Info > Parameters, Guidelines panel, or via Property bar

  • Undoing Transform panel actions in the Font window, on fonts with multiple Masters, no longer creates odd effects in glyph cells

  • Grid snap behavior of directly editing a segment no longer varies depending on whether you just edited a handle (BCP)

Variations, masters and layers»

  • Switching masters now centers on the active glyph even if your Glyph window contains a longer text.

  • FontLab no longer crashes when you edit a glyph that has multiple masters and some of the masters use open contours.

  • Alt. and Alt, switch layers correctly now even if there are locked layers

  • FontLab correctly switches to the main layer after deleting the mask layer

  • Undoing an operation doesn’t change which layer/masters is active

  • Glyph > Match Masters correctly reorders elements if “Check Masters Geometry” is turned on in the Variations panel

  • Map view is no longer empty in the Variations panel after Undo

  • When Layers panel is collapsed/compressed, the button to show layers still works.

  • When exporting the Glyph window contents in Text mode, interpolation is applied as appropriate

  • You can now remove one axis after another in Font Info

  • Removing an axis while in Font Info no longer sometimes crashes

  • File > Font Info > Instances: The “From Masters” button correctly imports variation locations

  • The Weight dropdown selector in File > Font Info > Instances correctly shows the current selection

  • When the preference “Convert TrueType curves to PostScript curves” is turned on, can still open “Bahnschrift” TrueType variable font instead of crashing

  • When a width axis is added to an existing font in File > Font Info > Axes, default location for pre-existing masters on the new axis is wd=100 (was incorrectly wd=112.5)

  • Locations (coordinates) of other masters do not change when you delete a master

  • Predefined instances are respected by the “Generate instance as master or font” operation

  • The “Attributes” drop-downs in the Font Info panel (not the full Font Info dialog) now work correctly for selecting weight, width and slope

  • Font dimensions such as x-height can be set differently per master, without glitches

Classes, Metrics (Spacing) and Kerning»

  • When the Measurement line is visible, the Glyph panel always shows the sidebearings calculated at the Measurement line

  • The Autokerning button now works correctly in the Pairs and Phrases panel, even for multiple selection

  • Tooltip for the “preview strings” button in the Metrics bar is corrected

  • When two or more classes are selected in the Classes panel, drag-dropping of glyphs to the list area respects the column so glyphs are added to the correct class

  • Opening a font with massive kerning such as Calibri Light (>400K pairs) no longer causes a crash

  • Editing kerning for inactive pair, when the “Inactive kerning pairs are editable” option is on, makes it active

  • In the Classes panel, glyphs with same name but different extension (like .case or .smcp) are no longer considered out of sync. For example: if the user select two matching classes, one with uppercase and other with small caps, FontLab will correctly consider them matching.

  • Using arrow keys to modify multiple kerning pairs selected in the Kerning panel is much faster now.

  • Activating a pair in the Kerning mode of the Glyph window no longer activates the pair in the Pairs and Phrases panel.

  • Undoing kerning changes is much faster now.

  • Measurement line no longer loses its special status and can’t be renamed.

  • Delete key works when editing kerning values

Glyphs and Elements»

  • When FontLab opens a VFC or VFJ that has multiple Elements that have the same name, it will rename these elements (if they’re different) or remove the duplicate elements (if they’re identical) and merge all references.

  • FontLab no longer allows or creates multiple Elements with the same name. It automatically makes Element names unique.

  • Generate Glyphs no longer wrongly applies color to generated glyphs when one of the source glyphs was a composite glyph

  • Using the color flag selector in the Glyph panel does not hang the application

  • The Property bar more consistently shows correct controls when you browse elements with the Element tool

  • Changing the opacity of an image element on Sketchboard with the slider does not cause a crash

  • Extensive operations with copying and pasting elements and references do not cause all guides to be removed

  • Rotation applied to glyphs selected in the Font Window works as expected

  • When an blank glyph is renamed in place, the change is immediately reflected in the Glyph Info panel

  • Renaming a glyph in place in the Font Window using the caption works properly, even when the window is in focus and the Glyph Info panel is docked

  • Typing special characters in Text mode using Alt works correctly (Mac-only bug)

Files and Formats»

  • When you export color fonts, FontLab will correctly keep transformations (scale, shift etc.) applied to SVG elements.

  • When opening Noto Sans Thai or Noto Sans Lao, all GPOS features are correctly decompiled into the FEA syntax, not just GSUB features

  • When multiple save formats are enabled in Preferences > Save Fonts and you Save As the font or Save a new font, the Save As dialog no longer appears multiple times.

  • The “Save changes to … before closing” dialog no longer shows the current master name

  • Removed the ineffective setting Preferences > Save Fonts > Save Windows. FontLab now always saves the windows and their contents in the VFC/VFJ formats.

  • FontLab correctly detects smooth nodes when opening VFB files

  • By default, FontLab JSON (VFJ) is now exported with indentation. You can turn the indentation off in Preferences > Save Fonts.

  • When you Cmd-click on a Font tab/window title, FontLab now shows a file icon that reflects the file format in which the current font is saved.

  • On UFO Package export, the data/com.fontlab.v2.otl.ttx.xml is not written if it is empty.

  • When you export PostScript Type 1 fonts, the exported AFM now includes all appropriate fields in its head section

  • When you export a font in the All Masters mode, and the Profile has the Remove Overlaps setting enabled, the overlaps are actually removed.

  • When you open a UFO on Windows by opening the metainfo.plist file and then export the font, the filename for the exported font will be equal to the Full Font Name and not the word metainfo.

  • When exporting DesignSpace+UFO, masters are fully included.

  • File > Import > Artwork shows the open dialog instead of failing

  • Both font export, and remove overlap on all glyphs in a font, work more reliably even when glyphs have many hundreds of nodes

  • Custom font export profiles for color fonts work more consistently

  • Keyboard shortcut for Import Artwork (Ctrl+D) still works when used repeatedly

  • Embedding setting is correctly saved to VFC

  • OT features can be exported to .fea file (File > Export > Features), without opening the Features panel first

Other bugfixes»

  • The toolbar is now intelligently sensitive to screen resolution. With a vertical toolbar, if there are not enough pixels to show the whole toolbar (for example, in 1280 x 800 or 1440 x 900 resolutions), the set of view buttons is hidden. If resolution is increased, the buttons will automatically be shown again.

  • Search field in Preferences pane no longer loses focus when typing certain phrases

  • The Preview panel with Preferences > Editing > Live preview enabled works much faster (no longer lags) when you move points with arrow keys.

  • In Text mode (when you use the Text tool in the Glyph window), the glyph before the text cursor automatically becomes the “current glyph”, so panels and other UI elements show its appropriate info.

  • App does not use excessive CPU cycles when inactive

  • Editing Commands immediately after editing Workspaces no longer crashes

  • No erratic crash from selecting Tools > Actions

  • No crash when closing fonts from an Adobe Type Reunion-compatible PostScript Type 1 font for Mac

  • When automatically calculating values for Font Info > BBox, fractional/decimal values now always round up to larger absolute value. For example, -350.4 rounds to -351.

  • Tags applied to stems in the TrueType Hinting dialog are preserved when the dialog is closed

FontLab VI version 6.0.5.6675»

12 April 2018

FontLab VI 6.0.5 is our biggest “dot release” to date, with over 100 improvements (40 new features or enhancements, and 60 bug fixes)!

New Features and Enhancements»

Autosave and Auto-Recovery»

When you enable the new option, Preferences > Save Fonts > Autosave opened fonts every … minutes, FontLab VI will automatically keep saving a backup copy of your working files as you work. You can set the frequency of autosaving in minutes, but you can also use fractions, e.g. if you enter 0.1, FontLab will autosave every 6 seconds.

The autosaved files do not overwrite the location where you are manually saving the file. Instead, they are stored in the ~/Library/Application Support/FontLab/FontLab VI/Autosave folder on macOS and in C:\Users\USERS\AppData\Roaming\Fontlab\FontLab VI\Autosave on Windows.

When you close a file or quit FontLab normally, and choose to either save or not save the opened file, the autosaved file will be deleted. But if your FontLab crashes and you start it again, it will detect the autosaved files and offer to automatically recover (reopen) them.

Note: We recommend the following Preferences > Save Fonts settings:

  1. Ask for the font file name — when you first save your font, FontLab will ask for the location and filename to save, subsequent saves will be done in the location you’ve chosen.
  2. Existing font files is set to Rename. Then, whenever you manually save a file (for example YourFileName.vfc), the previously-saved version will be renamed to YourFileName.YYMMDD-hhmm.vfc, where YYMMDD-hhmm is the date and time of when it was renamed. This serves as a series of auto-backups — you can always open any of the earlier versions if you’ve changed your mind about some edits.
  3. Autosave is enabled and set it to some reasonable setting. For example, 1 will autosave (in the special folder) once a minute, 0.1 autosaves once every 6 seconds (1/10 of a minute).

You may also enable any of the Save VFC and also options, but note that this will make your saves and auto-saves slower—especially if you’re saving UFO packages.

In short: with this release, you can have:

  • manually saved files (in the location you pick)
  • automatic backups of your manually saved files (in the same location)
  • the last autosaved version (in the special folder)

Drawing and Editing»

Easier editing with integer coordinates»

You can restrict FontLab VI to always work in integer coordinates. The new submenu Contour > Coordinates give you full control over integer coordinate rounding.

  • If you have fractional coordinates in a glyph, Apply Rounding will round them to integer coordinates in the current glyph layer, or (when used in Font Window) to all contours in the current glyph layer.

  • With the new Round when Editing setting, any editing (moving nodes and handles, scaling glyph content using the Free Transform tool) will produce integer point coordinates (like FontLab Studio 5). This setting will not modify your existing contours (for that, you need to run Apply Rounding, but with the setting on, your editing actions in the Glyph Window will always produce integer coordinates (except in the case described in the note below).

  • Note: Applying Rounding and Rounding when Editing will currently work only if the glyph does not use transformed elements. Currently, when you use the Transform panel or any transformation Action, FontLab VI will apply a non-destructive “element transformation” to any elements that have references (i.e. they’re in a composite glyph or they are used as a component in a composite glyph), and will apply a “contour transformation” only if an element in a glyph does not have references. The integer rounding always works on the contours in an element before their transformation is applied. We’re looking into how we can make the way transformations work more intuitive.

  • The Preview Rounding setting will also preview rounded coordinates within transformed elements — which is the result you’ll get after you export your fonts into font formats that use integer coordinates.

Other drawing and editing enhancements»

  • Preferences > Glyph Window > Show node name has a new third option, never. This option only affects Glyph Window viewing, node names will still be displayed in the Nodes panel.

  • During Free Transform, Undo cancels the transformation process in the same way it did in FontLab Studio 5, and does not undo the previous action

Variations»

Glyphs are created in all masters»

FontLab will now always create master layers if you create or generate a glyphs — for all font masters defined in Font Info.

Previously, when you had multiple font masters defined in Font Info, then adding a new glyph via double-click in the Font Window on a blank glyph cell, via Font > Generate Glyphs or Font > Add Glyphs behaved differently depending on whether a generation recipe glyph was present in the bundled alias.dat file.

When a glyph could be “generated”, its contents would be created for all font masters, but if the resulting glyph would be blank, then no masters were created in the glyph.

Generate Instance»

The new Font > Generate Instance command will allow you to choose any of the predefined instances or use sliders to precisely choose your instance and then:

  • Add as Master — add the instance as a new font master to the current multiaxis font in the axes location of the instance
  • Create as Font — create a new “static” font from an instance; the font will open as a new font in FontLab, so you can perform some post-production and save or export it

Previously, this functionality was only available in a limited fashion under the top-right button of the Variations panel.

Masters and axes sorting»

In Font Info > Font Properties > Masters, you can now sort your masters automatically and manually.

Clicking on the header above the font sample will sort the masters according to the way the axes are sorted, and then by the location of each master on an axis (you can sort your axes manually via drag-and-drop in Font Info > Font Properties > Axes).

Clicking on the Name or Location header will sort the masters alphabetically by the content of these fields. Click once for a descending sort, click again for an ascending sort.

You can also sort the masters manually via drag-and-drop.

Click on Apply or OK, and the sorting of your masters will be reflected in the Layers and Masters panel and in the masters switchers on top of the font and glyph windows. The order of the masters also is used when you switch the masters with Alt,/Alt., or with the Alt1 to Alt9 keyboard shortcuts.

The order of Axes in the Variations panel is now in sync with the order defined in Font Info.

Initial default sorting of axes when opening an existing font for the first time is improved.

#instance layer»

  • Viewing the #instance layer can be turned off in Preferences > Variations

  • Preview of the #instance layer is now live while you are editing a contour

Improved “Match Masters”»

The Glyph > Match Masters operation has been improved:

  • with any number of masters, when Sort contours and start nodes is on in Font Info > Axes or in the Variations panel, Match Masters will sort the contours and start nodes in a simple way

  • with any number of masters, when Check masters geometry is on in Font Info > Axes or in the Variations panel, Match Masters will sort the elements, and will perform more thorough geometry checking (including checking angles and rotation) when sorting the contours and start nodes, and will also will correct the contour direction if needed

  • with two masters, it will also attempt to “blend” the outlines i.e. automatically add or remove nodes on the contours

Other variations enhancements»

  • Extended parameters control. The Parameters tab in the Font Info panel / dialog now includes all values that can act as a parameter: font dimensions, font guides and user variables.

  • Font Info panel: Tooltips in the Parameters tab of the panel show correct information.

  • Hiding a layer also hides that layer’s associated Mask layer

  • Turning off Append master fonts removes the #instance layer from affected single-master fonts

  • FontLab VI uses the a newer build (3.24.3.dev0) of the fontTools library to export OpenType Variations TT (.ttf) fonts

Elements and Guidelines»

  • In the Element panel, when an element is locked, users can no longer do drag-drop reordering of contours within the element

  • Edit > Invert Selection (CmdI) works with the Element tool at the level of element selection (not only for contours)

  • Guideline panel (metrics, hints, alignment zones)

    • when a guideline that represents one of the font metrics (ascender, descender, caps heigth, x-height, baseline) is selected:

      • just two fields are active in Guideline panel, Position and Expression, as no other value is editable for font metrics.
      • an option to lock/unlock the font metrics is available
    • When a hint is selected in the Glyph window, the prefix “H” is shown in the Guideline panel

    • when an alignment zone is selected in the glyph window, the prefix “Z” is shown in the Guideline panel

    • when hints, links or alignment zones are selected in a Glyph window, the Properties controls in the Guideline panel are disabled as they aren’t applicable.

Classes and Kerning»

Classes panel»

With one or more classes selected in the Classes panel, you can now click on the Select glyphs button in the panel’s lower-right portion to select (in the Font Window) all glyphs that belong to the selected classes (like FontLab Studio 5).

This way, you can quickly assign a color flag to those glyphs (using the color flag picker in the Font Window).

You can also easily merge classes — select multiple classes, click on the Select glyphs button and then click on the + button in the bottom section of the middle part of the Classes panel. The selected glyphs will be added to the first class that you’ve selected, and — if this was a kerning class — they will be removed from the other kerning classes of the same type.

The Classes panel hamburger menu item Clean up selected classes will remove any glyphs from selected classes that are not present in the font (remember that classes can be defined using glyphnames and not all glyphs must necessarily exist in the font).

Note: In FontLab VI:

  • OpenType classes are defined once per font, and the order of the glyphs inside these classes matters.

  • Kerning classes are defined per master, but when instances or variable fonts are exported, classes from the main master are used (you can set the main master in Font Info > Masters using the blue radio button). To ensure that you have the same kerning classes in all your masters, visit each master and use the hamburger menu of the Classes panel to Import Classes, picking the main master each time.

  • When building variable fonts, kerning pairs that don’t exist in corner masters are assumed to have the value 0 but kerning pairs that don’t exist in intermediate masters get the interpolated value.

  • Kerning values that involve classes are stored with the class, not with the “key glyph of the class” as they were in FontLab Studio 5.

Kerning panel»

The Kerning panel has a few new operations in its “hamburger” menu (the popdown menu with three horizontal lines):

  • With Import Kerning you can import the kerning pairs and values from another open font or another master of your current font

  • With Flatten Class Kerning (previously: Expand), all kerning pairs that involve classes (class-to-class, glyph-to-class, class-to-glyph) are converted into a large flat list of glyph-to-glyph pairs.

  • With Compress to Class Kerning, you can convert your flat kerning into class kerning “safely” — only pairs where all class members have identical flat kerning values will be converted into a class kerning pair.

  • With Extend Class Kerning, you can convert your flat kerning into class kerning “more aggressively” (see notes below). This operation is great when you’ve kerned individual glyph pairs already (using flat kerning), and then you’ve created some classes or added glyphs to classes, and you want the glyphs in the new classes to inherit the kerning of the previously-defined individual glyph kerning pairs.

Notes:

  • When you run Flatten Class Kerning, the kerning classes aren’t removed. They are simply not used because the kerning pairs are now associated with glyphs.

  • In this build, when you run Flatten Class Kerning, the list of flattened kerning pairs will include kerning pairs for glyphs that are defined in the kerning classes but aren’t present in the font. This is a bug — please select all classes in the Classes panel and choose Clean up selected classes before flattening kerning.

  • The difference between Compress and Extend is the following: if you have two kerning classes (AÁÄ and VW) you have two flat kerning pairs (AV and AW) with the same value, but there are no flat kerning pairs that involve the Á or Ä glyphs, then:

    • Extend Class Kerning will produce one kerning pair between the AÁÄ class and the VW class; so after the operation, the glyph combination ÄV will have the same effective kerning as AV.
    • Compress to Class Kerning will produce one kerning pair between the A glyph and the VW class; so after the operation, the glyph combination ÄV will have no effective kerning.
  • The Flatten and Compress operations are fully reversible. When you have flat kerning, create some classes, then Compress and then Flatten, you’ll end up with the same number of pairs as you had before.

  • The Extend operation is more aggressive. When you have flat kerning, create some classes, then Extend and then Flatten, you’ll end up with more pairs than you started with. When there are some flat kerning pairs with one value and some flat pairs with another value, but glyphs that are kerned that way belong to the same kerning class, Extend will choose the more common value as the class kerning value, and the less common value as a series of exceptions.

Font Window»

  • New Font Window options: Unicode Categories, Scripts. Now the Font Window can be organized by Unicode Categories (Uppercase, Math Symbols, Punctuation, etc.) and Unicode Scripts (Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, etc.). This is in addition to the previous Encoding, Unicode, Codepage and Index viewing. The same viewing options are available in Font > Add Glyphs for adding new glyphs.

  • Preferences > Font Window now has options to set a default mode and default glyph sorting order (in addition to the default encoding).

User Interface»

  • The File > Font Info dialog box now has an Apply button which applies the ongoing changes to the currently opened font. Note: you actually need to click on Apply if you add, remove or rearrange axes in Font Info, only then the changes are visible in the Masters section of Font Info.

  • Renaming a master in Font Info > Master Properties > Names > Master name is instantly visible in the top and left-bottom master selectors.

  • Numeric keypad Enter key works for dialogs just like the main Enter key.

  • Preview panel automatically scrolls as needed to show the current glyph

  • Weight, Width, Slope and “Other” style attributes are referred to as Attributes in the Font Info panel. Previously, they were called “Parameters” but that term also was used elsewhere for another purpose.

  • Running the operation “Glyph > Add Power guides” makes font metrics and alignment zones visible, if they are made into Power guides and were not set to visible before. It also connects nodes from both sides of horizontal stems, not just one side.

Actions»

In Tools > Actions > Effects > Engraving it is now possible remove the image selected as a background (not only to add it)

OpenType Features»

The Features panel hamburger menu items Import Features File… and Import Features (from another open font) works even when the feature definitions reference glyphs that are not present in the current font. This way, you use a larger, pre-defined feature definitions file but create just the features your font needs .

Hinting»

  • The Preferences > Autohinting section now has two options for PostScript autohinting:

    • When Remove existing hints when autohinting a glyph is on, and you do Tools > Autohint or press F7, FontLab will remove the existing glyph hints before calculating new hints.

    • When Convert hints to links when autohinting is on, and you do Tools > Autohint or press F7, the hints will be subsequently converted to links (same as Tools > Hints to Links). Links are “dynamic hints” — when you move nodes, the links will follow your design changes. This is particularly useful when you use View > Show > Hints or View > Metrics and Hinting Shadows as a visual design aid.

  • When View > Show > Hints is on, hint thicknesses that correspond exactly to stem values defined in Font Info > Master Properties > Stems are rendered bold on screen.

  • In the TrueType Hinting tool, the popup for the Single Link command now has a Reverse button which reverses the direction of the link.

Production»

  • PostScript Type 1 font export now generates fonts with “custom encoding” instead of “standard encoding”, and the %!Windows Charset:238 special keywords in an .enc file are processed correctly. In this build, all Type 1 fonts will get custom encoding. In a future build, encodings will %!Windows Charset:0 will get standard encoding again.

  • Automatic Unicode assignment based on glyph names no longer assigns the Unicode values for phonetic small caps to glyph names such as “Asmall”. These names were standard for Adobe Expert Encoding, where they were typographic small caps. The phonetic small caps are not a complete set (not even A-Z) and cannot be used meaningfully for typographic small caps.

Bug Fixes»

Drawing and Editing»

  • Convert line to curve works even when a line is bracketed by two tangent nodes

  • Creation of handles by Alt-dragging a node is now more reliable

  • Open contours can be joined with the Pen tool

  • Edit > Find Outline replaces contours correctly, even when replacing multiple instances of the same contour

  • Pressing spacebar changes the cursor to a grabber hand (to pan the canvas) even when Brush tool is selected

  • Snap to grid continues to affect Pen tool even after switching to Contour tool, moving handles, and switching back to Pen

  • Snap to grid works even if grid opacity is set to zero

  • Guidelines now snap to the Grid if View > Snap to > Grid is on

  • Node coloring becoming solid when perpendicular continues to work even when handles are close to the node

  • Snap-to-node works even when dragging a point to a node that is on a guide

  • Activating Power Nudge temporarily by holding the c key and using shift-arrow key combinations with it does not cause Power Nudge to get “stuck” on.

  • Transforming selected contours doesn’t change node types

Glyphs, Elements and Color»

  • When a sticker is applied to a glyph, and the VFC file is saved and closed, the sticker is saved

  • An element with smart fill filter rotates and moves correctly now

  • Dragging an element to an empty glyph cell no longer crashes the app, and does not cause a name/Unicode conflict when the glyph is created.

  • Copying an element from one glyph slot to another

  • no longer changes the element location within the glyph

  • no longer creates a new separate element with a conflicting name

  • Element frames are slightly more visible now

  • Doing Font > Detect Element References does not break ability to move a selected node with the arrow keys

  • When you have two or more elements selected, and they belong to a larger group, you can still nudge or drag all the selected elements (not only the last one selected)

  • Tools > Remove Font Guides no longer removes zones as well as font guides

  • Adding a new font master filled with an existing layer does not break the element references on that duplicated layer

  • Element references are not displaced when adding a layer that duplicates the contents of another layer

  • Font > Detect Element References does not remove element guides

  • Element > Expand Filters can now be Undone

  • Element > Expand Stroke can now be Undone without creating duplicates

  • Expand Stroke respects stroke end caps, even when applied to multiple glyphs

  • Elements > Expand Filters works even when the Contour tool is active

  • Some stroked elements were previously rendered incorrectly

  • Apply buttons in the Colors and Swatches panels are enabled after the Glyph window closes

Variations»

  • Anchor cloud (from View > Anchor Cloud) from only the current master is shown in the Glyph window

  • Masters for blank glyphs such as space are shown as compatible in the Layers & Masters panel

  • Exporting a master does not break the family name

  • Fixed problem where “Check masters geometry” could prevent interpolation

  • Adding axes in Font Info > Axes no longer adds duplicate axes especially after master switch

Production»

  • Exporting TTF from VFB source with manual TrueType Hinting created in FontLab Studio 5, preserves that hinting properly

  • Export of variable fonts works again

  • Kerning is correct in all masters exported from a variable font.

  • Glyphs using multiple instances of the same element no longer lose any of them on export

  • When a Type 1 font’s glyph has a BBOX of 0, a generated AFM file still gets correct semicolon line ending

  • Generated AFM files use LF for line endings instead of (old-school Mac OS) CR

  • You can export a completely unhinted Type 1 font (autohinting only kicks in if you tell it to do so)

Other»

  • Transformations applied in the Elements panel become instantly visible in the Font Window

  • No crash from using Tab to show/hide panels

  • The very last changed field in FontInfo keeps its changes after you click OK

  • Trying to close a file while in the middle of saving it does not abort the save, nor crash the app if done repeatedly

  • When a color flag on a glyph is removed, and the VFC file is saved and closed, the flagging remains removed when the file is reopened

  • Copyright symbol in Font Info > Legal > Copyright is now displayed correctly

  • Fixed intermittent crash when using Add Power Guides

  • Undocked toolbar is no longer cut off when app window is resized

  • Preview panel still shows the correct layer after Contour > Apply Rounding

  • Fixed crash that happened when switching layers/masters in the Layers & Masters panel, in some circumstances

  • You can still rename glyphs in place in the Font Window when == Preferences > Font Window > Caption content is editable== is set, Unicode > 1F00 Greek Extended is selected in Encoding, and other panels are open.

  • When a vector guideline is selected, the position icon in the Guideline panel changes to the point of origin icon

  • Glyph is no longer re-centered unexpectedly unexpectedly when working on a master that is specific to just the current glyph

  • Edit > Copy now copies text correctly in the text mode of the Glyph window

  • Using the “Center in Metrics” button in the Elements panel doesn’t crash

  • Using Font > Link Glyph Metrics with “Apply to entire font” on very large fonts no longer causes a crash

  • Closing the Font window now closes the font when needed (if Preferences > General are set to “Font has at least one Font window”)

  • Wacom tablet: canvas now auto-scrolls properly when drawing

  • Arrow keys work reliably in pane with glyphs (invoked with the / shortcut).

  • Font Info > Master Properties > Other Values are saved to vfc files

  • “Unsaved” marks in Font Window don’t disappear right after save

  • Guideline panel: The prefix “H” is shown in the panel, when a hint is selected in the Glyph window; and the prefix “Z” when an alignment zone is selected.

  • Other minor/cosmetic UI issues

FontLab VI version 6.0.4.6634»

9 March 2018

New preview build of FontLab VI for Windows x64»

This is for Windows users only: Today, we’re releasing a preview build of FontLab VI for Windows x64. Most Windows users can continue to use the 32-bit version of FontLab VI, which works in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7, 8.x or 10, and which is available via the Install Update at the bottom of the FontLab VI built-in auto-update dialog.

But if you’re interested in testing the preview-quality native 64-bit for Windows, visit the FontLab Forum.

Note: If you’re a Mac user, your FontLab VI is already 64-bit and you can completely ignore the above.

New features»

Text Bar»

In the Glyph Window, use View > Text Bar to show or hide the Text Bar, a horizontal text field at the top of the window. There, you can edit the “source” of the text that is shown in the Glyph Window. The text bar works the same way as the text field in the content sidebar of the Glyph Window, but some users will find it more convenient to work with the content sidebar closed but have the text bar visible.

On the right side, the text bar has a dropdown menu that allows you to choose one of the texts predefined in Preferences > Texts. This is the same dropdown available under the Text button in the content sidebar.

The text bar uses the “glyphtext” notation, so you can input Unicode characters directly (AÄĄ etc.), or you can input glyphnames using the /glyphname format (e.g. /A/Aacute/Aogonek), or hex Unicode codepoints using the \uXXXX format (e.g. \u0041\u00c4\u0104). If you want to enter an explicit Unicode character right after a glyphname or a hex codepoint, enter a space first (e.g. A/Acute Ą).

Note: The /glyphname format allows you to input alternate glyphs, small cap glyphs etc. explicitly — even if you don’t have any OpenType features defined in the Features panel. But if you do have features defined, you can compile them in the Features panel, and then also access alternate glyphs by entering normal Unicode text and enabling features in the content sidebar.

Import features from open fonts»

The Features panel now has the Import Features submenu that allows you to import the feature definitions from another currently open font.

Variations enhancements»

If you’re working on a font family or a variable font, and have a font with multiple masters:

Generate Glyphs works for all masters»

In Font > Generate Glyphs, you can choose to generate the glyphs in all masters or only in the current master. Previously, glyphs were generated only in all masters.

Linking metrics across masters»

In the Width, LSB or RSB fields of the Metrics table for a given master, you can now enter the name of another master. For example, in the Black master of the O glyph, you can enter Light in both the LSB and the RSB fields.

Then, if you change the sidebearings of the Light master in the O glyph, and run Font > Update Metrics (CmdAltM on macOS, CtrlAltM on Windows), the sidebearings of the Black master of the same glyph will be updated to the same value.

Note: If you enable Preferences > Spacing > Automatically update linked metrics, the linked metrics will be updated automatically as you edit them, but only within the current master. Automatic updating of linked metrics across masters would be too slow, so you need to run Font > Update Metrics to update across masters.

In addition to using the full master name in any of the metrics fields, you can use an abreviation. For example, if you want to link the width of the Black O to the ExtraLight O, you can write Ex. or ExtraL. (using the period). As long as the abbreviated master name is unique, it’ll work.

Also, rather than linking to just the specific value, you can use more extended expressions. For example, you can enter Light+20 in the RSB of the Black O, and then it’ll be equal to the RSB of the Light O plus 20 font units.

Synchronize sidebearings or widths across masters»

With the new action Tools > Actions > Metrics > Synchronize sidebearings, you can copy either the advance width or the sidebearings from the current master into all visible layers or into all masters. This will copy the actual numeric values, not the expressions. You can copy the absolute values or the values calculated at a certain y coordinate (Use the measurement line).

This is particularly useful when you’re working on a font family or variable font where metrics are supposed to be identical across masters. This is also useful if you want to use one master’s metrics as the starting point for spacing another master.

Note: You may choose if you prefer to link the metrics to another master using the expressions (so any future metrics changes in one master will propagate to the linked ones), of whether you use Synchronize sidebearings which just copies the values without linking.

Customizable background color per master»

In the Layers and Masters panel, you can assign a custom color to any master.

Using the new Preferences > Variations > Preview master color setting, you can view the custom master color as a thin colored line on the top of the Glyph Window, or as a “pale” background color of the entire Glyph Window (with customizable transparency).

Now you can easily differentiate which master you’re currently working on, so you won’t make changes to the wrong master by mistake. This is particularly helpful if your master designs only differ slightly (for example, in the length of the ascenders), or if you’ve duplicated a finished master and are adjusting (condensing etc.) the new one.

Previously, the master color was only used if you declared a layer or master “wireframe.” Then, in the Preview panel and when using Quick Preview (Space key), the contours of that layer or master were rendered as outlines colored in the custom color (rather than being rendered filled).

Keeping References on instance generation»

When you use one of the two top-right buttons in the Variations panel to add a glyph master (1st button), add a Font Master (2nd button, 1st option), or create a standalone font (2nd button, 2nd option) based on the instance that is currently selected in the Variations panel, FontLab will now:

  • keep the element References (composites). Previously, references were kept when exporting the font but not when using those buttons.
  • keep the glyph color Flags
  • keep the kerning classes and pairs.

Better export of OpenType Variations TT (.ttf)»

FontLab VI uses the a newer build (3.23.1) of the fontTools library to export OpenType Variations TT (.ttf) fonts. The exported fonts will have the STAT table, and some variations-related tables are optimized thanks to the excellent work of the fontTools maintainers.

Design workflow enhancements»

Mirroring glyphs in Font Window also mirrors anchors and sidebearings»

The commands Tools > Transform > Flip Horizontal and Flip Vertical can be triggered from the Glyph Window or from the Font Window. If you invoke these commands from Font Window (with one or more glyphs selected), the transformation will now also affect anchors and sidebearings, producing a complete mirror result. This is useful for building glyphs which are flipped versions of others.

Easily add nodes at extremas using the Knife tool»

When your contour lacks an extrema and you activate the Knife tool (tap or hold J), you can also then press Shift. With Shift pressed, when you move the pointer over the contour, the Knife tool will suggest the node insertion at the closest extrema rather than at the exact pointer position.

Easily duplicate TrueType off-curve points»

With TrueType outlines, CmdD / CtrlD now works to duplicate TrueType off-curve points the same way as on-curve points.

Curvature for all elements with Edit Across Elements»

When both View > Show > Curvature and Edit > Edit Across Elements are on, the curvature is now shown for all elements, not just for the current element.

Index mode of the Font Window appends glyphs»

In the Font Window in Index mode, CmdV / CtrlV appends glyphs instead of overwriting them, like it did in FontLab Studio 5.

Mask layer shown in Preview panel and Quick Preview if active»

When the Mask is active, the Preview panel and the Quick Preview (activated with Space) shows its contents and not the normal layer.

User interface enhancements»

Customizable color of baseline and sidebearing lines»

View > Show > Spacing Controls shows and hides the Metrics lines (the glyph’s baseline and the sidebearing lines) in the Glyph Window. Now you can customize the color and transparency of the Metrics lines using Preferences > Spacing > Metrics lines, so you can make them appear darker, lighter, or give them another color altogether.

Better closing of Glyph tabs»

When you have multiple fonts open, and you close a glyph tab, the font tab corresponding to the closed glyph will be activated. Previously, the last active font tab was activated, which did not necessarily correspond to the glyph tab you just closed.

Content sidebar in the Glyph Window»

Tooltips added to all UI elements.

Python API»

Note: The Python API is still under development and is subject to change.

Use of anchor array in scripts. The anchor array is now working correctly, including fonts imported from FontLab Studio 5. Note that your script need to check the validity of any “global” object (like flGlyph, flLayer, flShape and flContour) by calling .isValid() method before using them, as in this sample script:

import fontlab as vi
font = vi.CurrentFont()
for fg_glyph in font.glyphs:
  fl_glyph = vi.flGlyph(fg_glyph, font)
  if fl_glyph.isValid():
    activeLayer = fl_glyph.activeLayer
  if activeLayer.isValid():
    anchors = activeLayer.anchors

Bug Fixes»

  • Copy Outline to Mask works even when Mask is not empty
  • Generate Glyphs no longer crashes when Link Shapes option is off
  • Undo works in Transform panel, without requiring you to click in the glyph window first
  • Doing more than one Set Startpoint in a single glyph does not crash the app
  • Copying an element reference and pasting it into a new glyph no longer causes a crash
  • When adding a new OpenType class in the Classes panel, the initial report on number of glyphs is correct instead of always being zero
  • Tools are disabled in the Font Window when the selected cells do not contain existing glyphs
  • In the search panel invoked by the / key, gesture scroll works as expected and the start focus is at the first result of the search
  • When the only reference of a named element is deleted from font, it is immediately removed from Gallery panel. Note: removing a reference of a named element that has additional references in the font will not remove it from the Gallery
  • Date in text of compiled features is correct
  • Remove button on Brush property bar works in cases it didn’t before
  • Opening certain damaged VFC files no longer crashes the app
  • Tools > Actions > Metrics > Set Width option to center elements works more consistently
  • Hitting Enter in a FontAudit interactive dialog now fixes the problem rather than just closing the dialog
  • In Kerning mode, corrected tooltip for the Remove Pair button
  • When working with strokes on contours, metrics and sidebearings are still calculated correctly
  • Fill tool works as expected even with very complex nested fills-inside-fills-inside-fills
  • Changing text size in the Metrics/Kerning modes respects the Center on Glyph option of the Metrics tool Property bar menu
  • In text editing modes, the dynamic glyph filtering in the insert dialog (triggered by the / key) correctly filters names that include a period (such as A.smcp)
  • The numbers in the tracking field of the custom sidebar can be used to set a negative tracking value; the tracking field in the custom sidebar now displays negative values correctly
  • Pen tool coordinate display starts when the tool is selected, not only after the first node is placed
  • If View > Show > Grid and Preferences > Grid > On-curve nodes always snap to grid are both activated, Rapid tool no longer shows fractional values before the first node is placed
  • If a font metric is selected in the Glyph window, the Guideline panel only shows its name (not editable), position (editable) and the option to lock it. Things that don’t work on font metrics such as color, width, tags and marks are no longer shown
  • Submenu entries of the Help > Commands dialog now correctly show as Import/Export Custom Shortcuts. Note: Only customized shortcuts are saved in the data file, which confused some users who thought all shortcuts are being saved
  • Fixed focus problems in Glyph Info panel, which could lead user to think app was locked up
  • Undo now works on Tools > Remove Glyph Guides
  • Fixed bug with Contour > Preview Rounding that caused incorrect rendering of TrueType outlines
  • Switching to Text mode and back no longer hides guidelines, zones and font metrics
  • PostScript Type 1 fonts (.pfb) can be saved even when the path contains non-Latin characters
  • After you move the Metrics table to the top of the window, you can move it back to the bottom if you wish
  • Mac-only: Fixed redraw issues on Sketchboard when Preferences > General > OpenGL is off
  • Windows-only: Keyboard shortcuts for editing left sidebearing work correctly
  • Windows only: the font size for captions in the Gallery panel is now smaller
  • Windows-only: Resetting keyboard shortcuts in the Help > Commands dialog no longer displays/creates incorrect Meta key shortcuts in menus

FontLab VI version 6.0.3.6611»

7 February 2018

New Features: User interface»

New Commands dialog & custom keyboard shortcut editing»

The new Help > Commands dialog box lists all commands available in the main app menus, including custom workspaces and scripts.

Use CmdShiftP to open the dialog, and type in a phrase to locate a command.

Then, navigate to the command with cursor keys and press Enter to execute that command. Inspired by similar solutions in apps like Sublime Text or Atom, this is a very fast way to invoke various commands which does not require to use the mouse or to remember keyboard shortcuts.

And (yes!) you can also customize (assign and change) the keyboard shortcuts associated with any of these commands. Use the shortcut field below the command list to remove an existing keyboard shortcut or assign a new one.

Note: there are some keyboard shortcuts, e.g. the single-letter keystrokes used to invoke the tools, which are not customizable. But most menu commands are now customizable, and you can export and import those customizations easily.

New Features: Drawing»

Swap Outline with Mask»

Tools > Swap Outline with Mask (CmdAltH Mac, CtrlAltH Windows). Added this command familiar to FontLab Studio 5 users

Node coloring for vertical and horizontal handles or line segments»

Under Preferences > Glyph Window > Node Style there is a new setting (in the middle), which is also the new default. When this “auto fill” setting is selected, nodes will be rendered as fully filled (darker) or semi-transparently filled (lighter), depending on the position of the node and its handles.

If a node is between curve segments and its handles are aligned perfectly vertically or horizontally, the node is fully filled (darker in color). If a node is between line segments and both segments are perfectly vertical or horizontal, the node is also fully filled. Otherwise, the node is semi-transparently filled (lighter in color).

This helps identify points that are not quite where you intended, or are not quite proper extrema.

Shift-double-click to align nodes and handles»

If you have a node or handle that is nearly aligned (in either X or Y) with an adjacent node, this will shift it to become aligned. When applied to extrema nodes with handles that are not perfectly aligned to X or Y direction, shift-double-click will fix that.

New Suggest Guides option»

When View > Suggest > Suggest Guides option is activated, hidden guides, hints, zones or font metrics temporarily appear when you move a node or contour near them. This only works with guides/hints/zones which have “snap to” allowed (View > Snap menu or in the View panel). This allows you to keep a clean workspace where guides, hints, zones or metric lines are invisible, but they become visible just when you need them.

This feature combines well with View > Metrics & Hinting Shadows option for easier navigation.

Nodes on alignment zones are optionally highlighted»

If you move a point into an alignment zone, the node is highlighted with a light gray circle if the node is on the edge of a zone or with a light gray rectangle if the node is inside the zone.

This behavior is on by default, but can be turned off as the fourth option under Preferences > Editing > Highlight nodes on alignment zones.

Snap to glyph metrics»

This new option under View > Snap > Glyph Metrics causes snap to sidebearings, and applies to all operations where snap works.

New Features: Languages and Production»

Import Ikarus (.ik) Files»

Support for import of Ikarus font files (which typically come with .cha file containing glyph names and Unicode indexes) is back in this build of FontLab VI. To keep precision of the source data, low-error-tolerance approximation is applied to Ikarus contours when they get converted to cubic Bezier splines. This results in high accuracy but more points; consider Simplify or Clean Up operations after the import.

Codepages & Unicode ranges»

Font Info now has two new sections for setting code pages and Unicode ranges, much like FontLab Studio 5. You can still use the “auto” (diamond) button to have FontLab generate what it thinks are the right flags, and you can set them manually. The information will be stored in the OS/2 table of the exported OpenType font.

Features checkbox in the content sidebar»

The Features checkbox in the content sidebar not only allows you to enable and disable OpenType Layout features, but also activates the HarfBuzz-based Unicode text preprocessing (script itemization, bidirectional support and Unicode normalization).

Previously, you could only enable the Features checkbox if you had features defined in the Features panel. Now, you can enable the checkbox even if you don’t have any features defined, so you can use the Unicode preprocessing and bidirectional support.

Note: Bidirectional/RTL support is still flaky in this release, we’re working on it!

CID-keyed glyph names»

When importing CID-keyed PostScript fonts, there is a new option for whether glyphs should be named based on FontLab’s regular glyph naming heuristics, or by CID number, in Preferences > Open Fonts: “Change CID names to Unicode names when Unicode index is known.” This preference is on by default.

Enhancements»

Mask»

  • Previously, with mask layer visible and Edit Across Layers mode off, nodes from the mask layer were visible while editing outlines on another layer. Now, if you select nodes on the mask layer and switch back to another layer with Tools > Edit Mask, the associated handles from the mask layer are still visible (as in FontLab Studio 5). Handles on your drawing layer can then snap to the handles from the mask layer.

Drawing»

  • Edit > Find Outline search can be done for all glyphs or just for glyphs with a given tag.
  • Contour direction no longer affects the reported angle of node handles (visible on mouse hover or when handles are selected).
  • Free Transform now has a proxy to select the origin of the transformation, like the other transform modes/tools.

Guides»

  • You can now select different elements with the Guide tool, which is useful for quickly editing element guides.
  • When Element tool is active and Edit Across Elements mode is on, all element guides are visible.

Stroke»

  • FontLab applies strokes to elements after element transformations, similar to most drawing programs.
  • Expand operation produces more predictable results, works with element groups, and can be applied in the font window.
  • New Element > Remove Stroke command will remove stroke from the currently active element, or from all glyphs selected in font window.

Bug Fixes»

  • No longer causes a crash
    • Importing SVG artwork into more than one glyph cell at a time no longer causes a crash.
    • Tracing some particular image elements no longer causes a crash.
    • Repeatedly deleting elements no longer causes a crash.
    • Removing glyphs from an OpenType class no longer causes a crash.
  • Scripts listed in Scripts menu work properly, including submenus for folders.
  • When opening an existing font in OTF format, FontLab maintains the existing glyph index (GID) order.
  • In text sidebar, fixed interaction between escaped glyph names using “/” in main area, and glyphs entered in “left” and “right” fields.
  • Preferences for distances moved by cursor keys now also apply to moving guides, anchors and pins.
  • Right handle for sidebearing shows the resulting metrics live, while it is being moved.
  • Guides
    • Tags for guides are properly saved with the font, avoiding changes in guide colors.
    • No crash when adding several tags to guides using pop-up field from property bar.
    • Copy and paste are accepted in guide tag fields.
    • Typing is not slowed in guides pop-up field from property bar.
    • Element guides don’t move while editing contour.
  • Glyph position and zoom in glyph window are better preserved while cycling between glyphs with comma and period keys, including blank glyphs.
  • Zooming/scrolling in the glyph window works correctly even with unusually large elements.
  • Recompile OpenType features works even when ssXX features are named.
  • PythonQt nested widgets within widgets now have correct behavior for error messages and print commands, in the inner widget (directing stdout/stderr).
  • An “Instance font” created in variations panel retains glyph flags.
  • Text no longer “jumps” when its size is changed in a glyph window in metrics mode, but remains more centered/visible.
  • Improved centering of glyph when cycling through different glyphs in a Glyph Window.
  • Changing the OpenType class of a glyph is saved correctly in VFC files.
  • Changing glyph advance width to zero is saved correctly in VFC files.
  • Minimized glyph window does not become unreachable.
  • Edit > Paste Glyph Reference now correctly pastes a glyph reference instead of an unlinked glyph.
  • Placing a guide over a locked alignment zone no longer allows the locked zone to be moved.
  • Unusual/arbitrary weight values (usWeightClass) such as “401” are preserved in exported fonts.
  • Improved/fixed snap behavior with vector guides.
  • Glyph metrics now processed correctly when horizontal mirroring is applied to glyphs in the Font Window.

FontLab VI version 6.0.2.6578»

6 January 2018

As a special gift for the New Year, we extended the trial period for this build by ten days. Enjoy!

Crosshair cursor»

Crosshair cursor (FontLab Studio 5 style) is available as an option while using Contour, Pen and Rapid tools. It can be turned on in Preferences > Editing > Show cross.

Enhancements»

  • “Open Glyph Panel” command added to contextual menu in Font Window and Glyph Window.
  • Copying a selection of glyphs in the Font window gives a list of glyph names on the clipboard (for pasting into other apps)
  • In the dialog that appears when closing an unsaved font, the option “Don’t Save” can be triggered by the keyboard shortcut Command-Delete (Mac-only).
  • The New Layer dialog sets and maintains focus in name field.
  • Encoding menu of Font Windows remains open while handling groups of encodings.
  • Enter key triggers the OK button in more dialogs (excepting the most complex ones).
  • Placeholder characters are shown in Font Window after new blank glyphs are created.

Bug fixes»

Fixes in the 6.0.2 release include the following issues:

  • Some hints/links are lost when opening a MM font in VFB format.
  • FontLab VI sets itself as the default application for OTF and TTF files.
  • Brush tool is not using a high resolution cursor.
  • Arrow keys cannot move the contour while Free Transform is being used.
  • Actions do not work for the artwork on the Sketchboard.
  • Under certain conditions, a pasted contour is scaled up and flipped vertically.
  • Paste Special for metrics doesn’t change glyph status to edited.
  • Assigning OT class in Glyph panel only works on one at a time.
  • Cannot apply custom encoding not belonging to any group.
  • Cannot add glyphs to classes using the Classes panel.
  • Python scripting: .index attribute in CurrentGlyph().index of fgGlyph().index causes a crash.
  • Color transparency has no effect in Preview window.
  • Horizontal scrollbar does not work properly in Glyph Window.
  • Incorrect curve tension is applied in exported TTF fonts.
  • Generate Glyphs does not create non-standard ligatures.
  • Non-ASCII characters in the path prevent variable font to be exported.
  • Hebrew and Arabic placeholder characters are missing in Font Window.
  • Script chosen in the Preview panel is not remembered.
  • Glyphs named Tcedilla, tcedilla, Tcommaaccent and tcommaaccent are not handled correctly.
  • Element > Separate Contours to Elements disables Undo.
  • Tooltip for text size in Window bar uses a different format than default tooltips.

Windows-specific fixes:

  • Bezier handles are reset when using arrow keys.
  • Open kerning window with several glyphs causes a crash.
  • Profile dialog always shows information from the first one.
  • Custom profiles are not properly saved among sessions.

FontLab VI version 6.0.1.6558»

15 December 2017

Variation»

Use the “AAA” toggles on the right side of the masters list in Font Info > Masters to indicate which masters should take part in interpolation (creation of instances). If the “AAA” is shown, a master takes part in interpolation. If the “AAA” is hidden, the master does not take part in interpolation.

Paste and Duplicate»

Use the new Preferences > Paste & Duplicate section to control the offsets (x/y shift) for the Duplicate and Copy/Paste operations offsets and decide how imported or pasted artwork is scaled.

Bugfixes»

Fixes in the 6.0.1.6558 release include:

  • Change tooltip from “Add layer instance” to “Reset location to default” in the Variations Panel
  • Cmd (Ctrl)-scroll should give next/prev glyph in the Glyph window
  • Color marks (flags) are lost in vfb
  • Copied font guidelines are pasted as glyph guidelines
  • Crash on pasting a glyph in new font
  • Create Parallel Contour generates double points
  • Export to TTF adds many new nodes
  • File > Import > Artwork doesn’t open the dialog box
  • Header bar controls inactive for anchor position
  • Invalid DSIG when adding a signature
  • Missing references from other glyphs when importing Glyphs files
  • New updated vendor.dat file
  • Open (non-closed) contours are bad in the saved vfb
  • Paste Special pastes incorrect metrics
  • Selection is resized unexpectedly when using the link/unlink button
  • Show Rulers are always on after start
  • Sorting of layers when new glyph is created
  • Tags causes FL VI to crash in some situations
  • The Brush tool doesn’t work when the Toolbar is docked to window
  • Undo for Rapid tool is broken
  • Unicode codes should use uppercase
  • WOFF and EOT export without hinting, regardless of export settings

FontLab VI version 6.0.0.6550»

7 December 2017

  • Initial public release.