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Release Notes»

FontLab VI version»

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. (1876)

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 the current master. (1866)

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 complex 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. (1758)

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. (1723)

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. (1896)

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. (1855)

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. (1846)

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. (1722)

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. (1893)

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. (1875)

Content sidebar in the Glyph Window»

Tooltips added to all UI elements. (1845)

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. (1794)
  • Generate Glyphs no longer crashes when Link Shapes option is off (1873)
  • Undo works in Transform panel, without requiring you to click in the glyph window first (1902)
  • Doing more than one Set Startpoint in a single glyph does not crash the app (1881)
  • Copying an element reference and pasting it into a new glyph no longer causes a crash (1838)
  • When adding a new OpenType class in the Classes panel, the initial report on number of glyphs is correct instead of always being zero. (1840)
  • Tools are disabled in the Font Window when the selected cells do not contain existing glyphs. (1901)
  • 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. (1874)
  • 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. (1839)
  • Date in text of compiled features is correct. (1837)
  • Remove button on Brush property bar works in cases it didn’t before. (1879)
  • Opening certain damaged VFC files no longer crashes the app. (1894)
  • Tools > Actions > Metrics > Set Width option to center elements works more consistently. (1827)
  • Hitting Enter in a FontAudit interactive dialog now fixes the problem rather than just closing the dialog (1880)
  • In Kerning mode, corrected tooltip for the Remove Pair button (1829)
  • When working with strokes on contours, metrics and sidebearings are still calculated correctly (1828)
  • Fill tool works as expected even with very complex nested fills-inside-fills-inside-fills (1819)
  • Changing text size in the Metrics/Kerning modes respects the Center on Glyph option of the Metrics tool context bar menu (1822)
  • 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) (1735)
  • 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. (1868)
  • Pen tool coordinate display starts when the tool is selected, not only after the first node is placed (1870)
  • 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. (1871)
  • 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. (1860)
  • 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. (1854)
  • Fixed focus problems in Glyph Info panel, which could lead user to think app was locked up. (1831)
  • Undo now works on Tools > Remove Glyph Guides (1862)
  • Fixed bug with Contour > Preview Rounding that caused incorrect rendering of TrueType outlines (1826)
  • Switching to Text mode and back no longer hides guidelines, zones and font metrics (1888)
  • PostScript Type 1 fonts (.pfb) can be saved even when the path contains non-Latin characters (1892)
  • After you move the Metrics table to the top of the window, you can move it back to the bottom if you wish (1897)
  • Mac-only: Fixed redraw issues on Sketchboard when Preferences > General > OpenGL is off (1825)
  • Windows-only: Keyboard shortcuts for editing left sidebearing work correctly (1856)
  • Windows only: the font size for captions in the Gallery panel is now smaller. (1836)
  • Windows-only: Resetting keyboard shortcuts in the Help > Commands dialog no longer displays/creates incorrect Meta key shortcuts in menus (1833)

FontLab VI version»

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 of the 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 empty 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 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.


  • “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 empty 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»

15 December 2017


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.


Fixes in the 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»

7 December 2017

  • Initial public release.