Release Notes Current»

Table of Contents

FontLab VI version»

20 April 2019

Even though was a massive update, we decided to continue with some quick fixes! 😊 Below you’ll find the release notes for build 7044, followed by much more extensive notes of build 7043.


FontLab VI 6.1.4: new high-precision segment editing, Font window cell icons for composites and auto layers, smoother kerning workflow, italic linked metrics, snapping Knife — plus smarter glyph deletion, better OTF hinting export, and all-new .glyphs format support! See the full release notes for details.

Major new features»

  • Edit segments directly with high-precision dragging.
  • Add nodes, break or slice contours with improved snapping Knife.
  • Kern more efficiently with improved keyboard shortcuts.
  • Collaborate with users, or use that app alongside FontLab VI, thanks to the improved opening and all-new export of .glyphs files.
  • Instantly see which Font window glyph cells have composites or auto layers.
  • Delete glyphs and decide what happens to composites and auto layers.
  • Export OpenType PS (.otf) fonts with better hinting.
  • Export OpenType Variations (.ttf) with fewer limitations.
  • Use FontLab VI in read-only demo mode after the 30-day trial expires.

Finer improvements»

  • Access common contour operations from the Node panel.
  • Easily snap guides to other objects, and turn them to hints and zones.
  • Quickly measure thickness with G and drag.
  • Tap \ to make your up/down movements italic or upright, reliably link italic metrics.
  • See anchor clouds only for selected anchors.
  • Tap Esc to get a clean view in Metrics and Kerning modes.
  • Optically separate imported artwork more flexibly.
  • Zoom in/out more easily in Glyph and Font windows.
  • Remove Overlap and keep unaffected nodes untouched.
  • No more vanishing kerning, and other bug fixes.

Fixes and enhancements»

Adding anchors»

To add an anchor at a specific location, activate the Guides tool (tap G) and Shift-click where you want to add the anchor.

Previously, you could add anchors with Ctrl–click but since the Guides tool now uses snapping, you can now hold Ctrl to ignore snapping. So to ignore snapping and add an anchor, ShiftCtrl-click.

Measuring guides»

Dragging from the Ruler creates a glyph guide. Now, Alt-drag from the Ruler creates a glyph guide with measurement markers on.

Shift-dragging from the Ruler creates a font guide. Now, ShiftAlt-drag from the Ruler creates a font guide with measurement markers on.

Snapping suggestions»

We’ve given the final polish to the snapping suggestions (View > Suggest), which suggests snapping locations based on existing nodes and other objects.

If you have multiple snapping suggestion types turned on in View > Suggest or multiple snapping types in View > Snap, and you move nodes, use the Knife or the Guides tool, FontLab prioritizes the snapping suggestions based on the last object you were snapping to. So for example if you snap to a guide, and then move away and rest your pointer for a brief moment, the snapping suggestions reappear. The small delay is intended so that you’re not overwhelmed with suggestions.

In previous versions of FontLab, the snapping suggestions would sometimes stop appearing, or would reappear only after a long lag or some actions. This is now fixed, so the suggestions appear after the intended brief delay. This fix finally makes snapping suggestions work like we’ve always intended — like a charm, so give it a try!

Other fixes»

  • Selection frame. FontLab no longer crashes when dragging any of the selection frame handles. This was an issue with 7043.

  • Deleting glyphs. In FontLab VI, the Delete Glyphs dialog would list the affected glyphs based only on the current master. Now, it takes all masters into account.

  • Knife. If you activate use Knife tool and Shift-drag to add some nodes that are aligned horizontally or vertically, and you stop on a contour, the Knife insertion point now keeps the the horizontal or vertical constraint rather than deviating from it slightly.

  • Pins. If you activate the Guides tool and Alt-click, FontLab no longer adds a pin at fractional coordinates if Round when Editing is on.

  • Anchors. FontLab no longer crashes in rare situations when adding an anchor with the Guides tool.

  • Snapping. When you draw a rectangle or ellipse, the drawing tool will no longer snap to invisible anchors.

FontLab VI version»

20 April 2019

New features and enhancements»

Updated FontLab VI EULA»

FontLab VI 6.1.4 is governed by an updated End-User License Agreement (EULA):

  • New clause that states that if the software is a demo version, or if it is running in demo mode, you may not circumvent the advertised demo-related limitations of the software, such as limitations on saving or exporting files, nor use the software beyond the scope of these limitations.
  • A few minor editorial tweaks.

Demo mode»

If you or some of your friends, colleagues or students had installed the FontLab VI trial version, they could test and enjoy the app for 30 days. Many of you bought a license (thank you!). But some perhaps didn’t really like the early versions of the app (we admit, it used to be rough around the edges!). Or they didn’t have the budget at the time. After the trial expired — they couldn’t even get past the Activation screen. Well, no more!

Now, after the FontLab VI trial expires, the app switches to demo mode. While in the demo mode, you can still open all fonts, play and experiment with them, explore or learn the app — but you cannot save, export or print, and you cannot copy contours to other apps.

Many users told us that they recommended the demo version of FontLab Studio 5 to others as a powerful in-depth font viewer. FontLab VI in demo mode is, well, the ultimate font viewer!

You can use FontLab to open, proof and check fonts you made in another app, including TrueType-flavored variable OpenType fonts, color fonts in all flavors, fonts in development formats like .vfc, .vfj, .vfb, .fog, .ufo or .glyphs. You can check the curve quality, curvature, interpolation. You can test the kerning and OpenType Layout features. You can take the contours under the loupe with FontAudit. You can see if the automatic matching of masters helps you with the project you’re doing elsewhere. On the Mac, you can use FontLab’s TrueType Hinting tool to check how the font hinting produced elsewhere works in the built-in genuine Windows ClearType rasterizer.

And if you or your friends do need to save and export — the buy button is right here. 😊

Drawing and glyph editing»

High-precision non-node editing»

Try our revolutionary high-precision dragging approach with non-node editing, and let us know what you think!

  1. Drag (or Alt-drag) a segment a little and the change in shape will be smaller than your mouse movement, so you can be very precise.
  2. Drag the segment further and the change in shape will gradually match the movement speed of your mouse, so you can also easily drag far.
  3. Release the mouse button and drag a little again, and your movement is high-precision again.
  4. Change the precision in Preferences > Distances > Non-node editing changes contour by 1/2 of dragging distance from 5 (highest precision at short drags) to 1 (constant dragging speed like in previous versions).

Snapping Knife»

You can use the Knife tool (J) to add nodes (click a segment or drag across multiple segments), break contours (click a node or Alt-drag across segments), and to slice through contours (Ctrl-drag).

The Knife now uses View > Snap settings to snap to Outline, and to other view details if they are currently visible: Mask, glyph and font guides, hints, zones, grid, font metrics, the global Mask, glyph metrics, anchors and pins.

The Knife also uses View > Suggest to snap to:

  • if Nodes is on: nodes from other contours, other elements (if Edit > Edit Across Elements is on), neighboring glyphs in the text (if Edit Across Glyphs is on) and other visible masters (if Edit Across Layers is on)
  • if Bounds is on: the edges and the center of elements
  • if Stems is on: distances defined in Font Info > Stems from contours in the element
  • if Guides is on: guides, hints and zones, even if they’re not visible

Contour operations in the Node panel»

The icons in the Node panel are now slightly larger, and you can use the panel’s previous/next buttons to browse not just through nodes but also through components in a composite glyph.

The Node panel now has a set of action buttons for the most common Contour menu operations. These operations work the same way via the buttons or menu, but each has a slightly different scope: they can work on a single node, on a selection of nodes and segments, on the entire contour (all segments in a contour), on the entire element (all contours in the element), or on the entire layer (on one or more glyph cells selected in the Font window).

operation works on
Break contour(s) node, selection
Join nodes selection, element
Unlink corner node, selection
Make overlap selection
Edit Tunni lines curve segment, selection, element
Set start point node, element, layer
Simplify contour, element, layer
Clean up contour contour, element, layer
Harmonize selection, contour, element, layer
Balance selection, contour, element, layer
Add nodes at extremes contour, element, layer
Remove overlap contour, element, layer

Remove Overlap»

Previously, Contour > Remove Overlap would sometimes perform a Clean Up operation after removing overlaps, which resulted in additional nodes being removed. When you choose Remove Overlap now, FontLab will keep unchanged all the nodes which were not part of the overlaps.

Glyph window zooming»

You can customize the speed (the intervals) of the Glyph window zooming in Preferences > Distances, separately for the keyboard zoom (Z or Y or Cmd= for zoom in, X or Cmd- for zoom out) and Alt-mouse wheel zoom. We’ve also harmonized the speed between the Z/X zoom and the Cmd=/Cmd- zoom (they were different).

Selection frame»

If Edit > Edit across Elements is on, and you select nodes and handles from several elements, you can now use the selection frame (View > Selection Frame) to instantly scale the entire selection. Previously, the selection frame was limited to selections from the current element only.

Italic contours: Follow Italic Angle»

In the Glyph window, you can now tap \ to make your up/down movements italic or upright. This turns on or off Contour > Coordinates > Follow Italic Angle:

  • When it’s on, vertical Shift-dragging or using the Up/Down cursor keys moves nodes, selections, anchors, components and elements diagonally along the y-axis slanted by Font Info > Font Dimensions > Italic Angle.
  • When it’s off, the movement is vertical.

Glyph window on-canvas text fields»

You can now use Up/Down keys to change the value by 1 or ShiftUp/ShiftDown to change the value by 10 in the text fields located directly on the Glyph window canvas (advance width, guide location, hint width etc.). The change will be reflected when you press Enter.

Guides, hints, anchors and zones»

  • Editing glyphs that have guides with tags and expressions is faster now.

Guides, anchors, pins: snapping»

Previously, when you dragged a guide, hint or a zone, you could snap it to a node only if you dragged the mouse pointer directly onto the node. Now, snapping of guides to nodes behaves much like in FontLab Studio 5:

  • when you create a horizontal or vertical guide by dragging it from the ruler, it will only snap to nodes or handles if you drag it directly onto the node or handle
  • when you move an existing horizontal guide, a zone or a hint, it will snap to the y-coordinates of any node in any element in the glyph, including components (so you only need to move the guide to be at the same height as a node in order to snap)
  • when you move an existing vertical guide or a hint, it will snap to the x-coordinates of any node in any element in the glyph, including components
  • when you want to snap an existing guide, hint or zone to a handle, you need to drag the pointer directly onto the handle

The Guides tool now also uses snapping and suggestions (like Knife), so you can drag to measure, Alt-drag to add element guides or Alt-click to add a pin more precisely, utilizing snapping suggestions.

Measurement markers»

When you activate the Guides tool (tap G or hold G to activate temporarily), and you drag across contours, the measurement vectors appear. They now show automatic measurement markers that show distances where the measurement vector intersects with some contours. This way, you instantly can see the stem thickness at different areas of your glyph.

The Guide panel and the Glyph window property bar for a guide also has a new toggle Measurement markers that allows you to add or remove the automatic guide measurement markers. You can now select a font guide, a glyph guide or an element guide, press CmdA to select all other guides of the same type, and click the Measurement markers toggle to make the markers appear in all guides at once. .

Previously, you had to double-click each guide individually to add or remove the measurement markers.

Autohinting glyphs with overlaps»

If your contours have overlaps, and you autohint them (using Tools > Autohint / F7, or during export into OpenType PS .otf or Type 1), FontLab now performs the autohinting on contours that have their overlaps temporarily removed.

This generally produces much superior results, and no longer produces odd hints in the middle of overlapping contours.

Problematic zones»

When you export OpenType PS .otf or Type 1 fonts, FontLab will now issue warnings in the Output panel if any zones overlap or if zones are closer than the distance specified by Font Info > Other Values > BlueFuzz.

Converting thick guides to zones or hints»

In FontLab, alignment zones are special a kind of font guides, and hints are a special kind of guides. All guides can have a width (thickness). If you turn on View > Rulers (CmdR), you can drag a glyph guide or Shift-drag a font guide from the ruler.

In 6.1.4, when you Shift-drag such a guide to give it some width, the Guide panel and the Glyph window property bar will show a new button that, for a horizontal font guide says Make alignment zone, and for a horizontal or vertical hint says Make hint. Click those buttons to convert a thick guide to a zone or hint, click again to convert back to a guide.

Anchors: Anchor cloud only for selected»

When you turn on the new Preferences > Glyph window > Show cloud only for selected anchors setting and turn on View > Anchor Cloud, the anchor cloud will appear only for the anchor(s) you select in the Glyph window or the Anchors & Pins panel.

Elements, components and auto layers»

Activating components in Glyph window.»

When you navigate to a composite glyph in the Glyph window, you can now use Page Up/Page Down (FnUp/FnDown on the Mac) to activate the components and walk through them.

Anchors in auto layers and composites»

Auto-layers inherit anchors from their source glyphs automatically, composites inherit anchors when you generate or decompose them — but none of them inherit glyph guides.

Previously, if glyphs inherited anchors that had expressions linking them to the source glyphs’ guides, FontLab produced error messages in the Output panel. FontLab now removes expressions when it inherits the anchors.


Previously, you could only use the Element tool (V) to select (activate) image elements within the Glyph window and on the Sketchboard. Now, you can also use the Contour tool (A).

Glyph window»

We’ve refined the keyboard shortcuts that you can use in the Glyph window, and in the Metrics and Kerning modes specifically, to browse phrases, glyphs and kerning pairs. We’ve also improved the Metrics and Kerning workflow.

Metrics and Kerning: Clean view»

When in the Metrics or Kerning mode, press Esc to hide spacing controls, clouds etc., and get a clean view at just the glyph shapes.

Switching masters»

  • Previously, you could switch masters in the Font and Glyph windows using Alt, (previous) and Alt. (next), and by pressing 1-9 digit keys with Alt for direct access to the first nine masters.
  • Now, in the Glyph window, you can also get the previous master with FnCmdLeft (Mac) / CtrlHome (Windows), and get the next master with FnCmdRight (Mac) / CtrlEnd (Windows).
switching masters Mac Win
by master number Alt1Alt9 Alt1Alt9
previous Alt, Alt,
next Alt. Alt.
previous (only in Glyph window) FnCmdLeft CtrlHome
next (only in Glyph window) FnCmdRight CtrlEnd

Metrics and Kerning: Smart navigation with the up/down keys»

Previously, the Up/Down arrow keys were “smart” in Metrics and Kerning modes. Some might say, a bit “too smart”. You can now turn off the setting Preferences > Spacing > Smart navigation with the up/down keys, and the Up/Down arrow keys in the spacing modes will just go to the previous and next line, that’s it.

But if you keep Preferences > Spacing > Smart navigation with the up/down keys setting on, FontLab will continue the “smart” behavior, which is:

In Metrics mode:

  • if the text is single-line, Up/Down get the previous/next phrase,
  • if the text is multi-line, Up/Down go to the previous/next line, but if the line is first or last, they get the previous/next phrase.

In Kerning mode:

  • if the both the Kerning panel and the Pairs & Phrases panel are visible, or if both panels are invisible:

    • if the text is single-line, Up/Down get the previous/next phrase,
    • if the text is multi-line, Up/Down go to the previous/next line, but if the line is first or last, they get the previous/next phrase;
  • if the Pairs & Phrases panel is not visible and the Kerning panel is visible, Up/Down get the previous/next kerning pair.

Glyph window: Pairs and Phrases»

The Pairs and Phrases panel that has three views that you can toggle in its lower-left corner. The panel works in all modes (Metrics, Kerning, Text and all the other ones).

  • The Texts view has a list of text phrases, which you can use during glyph drawing and spacing.
  • The Pairs view has a list of pair phrases, which you can use a kerning plan, a “to do” list. The pair phrases are pairs or short phrases that are centered around pairs.
  • The Auto view automatically switches between the Pairs view if you’re in Kerning mode, and the Texts view if you’re in other modes.

You can replace your Glyph window text with the previous or next phrase in all modes:

browsing (get) Mac Win
prev phrase FnCmdUp CtrlPage Up
next phrase FnCmdDown CtrlPage Down

You can also click the Pairs and Phrases panel and use the arrow keys to get the phrase into the Glyph window. Hold Shift and click or use the arrow keys to get multiple phrases into the window.

Glyph window: get glyph by name»

Previously, when you tapped / in a Glyph window or a Font window, you could type in a glyph name, tap Enter and switch the current glyph to another glyph. In Kerning mode, it switches the 2nd glyph of the active kerning pair.

Now you can also tap Shift/, and you’ll switch the 1st glyph of the kerning pair (in Kerning mode), or the glyph that immediately precedes the current glyph (in other modes except Text).

browsing (get) Mac & Win
1st glyph by name Shift/
2nd glyph by name /

Metrics and Kerning: walking in the Glyph window»

In both Metrics and Kerning modes, you can now consistently “walk around” the text in the Glyph window when you hold the Fn key and press the arrow keys, or use Home, End, Page Up, Page Down.

walking (go to) Mac Win
prev line in text Up¹ / FnUp Up¹ / Page Up
next line in text Down¹ / FnDown Down¹ / Page Down
prev glyph in text [ [
next glyph in text ] ]
prev glyph in text (Metrics) Left Left
next glyph in text (Metrics) Right Right
prev pair in text (Kerning) [ / FnLeft [ / Home
next pair in text (Kerning) ] / FnRight ] / End

¹ To get this behavior, turn off the new setting Preferences > Spacing > Smart navigation with the up/down keys.


Kerning: get glyphs»

Previously, in all Glyph window modes, you could tap , or . to switch the 2nd glyph of the kerning pair to the previous/next glyph in the font, in the order that was used in the last active Font window.

Now, in Kerning mode, you can also tap Shift, and Shift. to switch the 1st glyph of the kerning pair to the previous/next glyph in the font.

browsing (get) Mac Win
1st glyph prev in font Shift, Shift,
1st glyph next in font Shift. Shift.
2nd glyph prev in font , / Cmd[ , / Ctrl[
2nd glyph next in font . / Cmd] . / Ctrl]

To swap the neighboring glyphs in the text (i.e. the 1st and the 2nd glyph of a pair), tap | or W.

Kerning: get existing pairs»

The Kerning panel that shows the list of existing pairs in your master. If you make any kerning, the pairs you define will be added to the Kerning panel. If you or delete pairs, they will be removed from the Kerning panel. This is different from the pair phrases in the Pairs and Phrases panel, which are always defined by you as a “plan”, and don’t change depending on the font.

You can now use ShiftUp/ShiftDown to get to the previous/next existing kerning pair if Preferences > Spacing > Smart navigation with the up/down keys is off, if the Kerning panel is visible in Kerning mode, and if you’ve activated the Glyph window (i.e. it has the focus).

browsing (get) Mac & Win
prev existing pair Up¹ / ShiftUp
next existing pair Down¹ / ShiftDown

¹ Up/Down work if Preferences > Spacing > Smart navigation with the up/down keys is on, the Kerning panel is visible and the Pairs and Phrases panel is invisible.

If you’ve activated the Kerning panel (i.e. it has the focus), you can use ShiftUp/ShiftDown to select multiple pairs in the Kerning panel and get them into the text as new lines.

When the Context toggle (“HOH”) in the Kerning panel is off, and you get a different pair into the text, FontLab now no longer replaces the current text with the pair you chose, but instead only replaces the current pair in the text, leaving the rest of the text unchanged.

If you do want to remove the text and get a pair into a clean window, double-click the pair in the Kerning panel, or press Space while the focus is in the Kerning panel.

Kerning: get class pairs or exceptions»

When you’re looking at an exception, change the 1st or 2nd glyph to another glyph in the same class, and FontLab will then show and let you change the class-based pair.

browsing (get) Mac & Win
1st glyph prev in class CtrlUp
1st glyph next in class CtrlDown
2nd glyph prev in class AltUp
2nd glyph next in class AltDown

Kerning: editing kerning»

In Kerning mode, you can change the value of the current kerning pair with the the Left and Right arrow keys, or with the - and = keys.

kerning Mac Win
kern –1 ¹ Left / - Left / -
kern +1 Right / = Right / =
kern –10 ² ShiftLeft / Shift- ShiftLeft / Shift-
kern +10 ShiftRight / Shift= ShiftRight / Shift=
kern –100 CmdLeft n/a
kern +100 CmdRight n/a

¹ Customize the step in Preferences > Distances > Metrics arrow key moves.
² Customize the step in Preferences > Distances > Metrics shift+arrow key moves.

To create exceptions, you need to hold one or two modifiers listed below, and then perform one of the kern operations listed above. This will create the exception.

creating exceptions Mac & Win
glyph-to-class hold Ctrl and kern
class-to-glyph hold Alt and kern
glyph-to-glyph hold CtrlAlt and kern

Once the exception exists, you can kern it further by just using the keystrokes listed in the kerning table earlier, without the exception modifiers. If you’re editing an exception of a given type and hold its corresponding exception modifiers when editing, this has the same effect as not using those modifiers.

To delete exceptions, tap Backspace when you’re in the exception pair. The exception will be deleted and the text will show the kerning for the “higher-level” class-based pair, typically the class-to-class pair. However, if you’be just deleted a glyph-to-glyph exception, you may see the higher-level glyph-to-class or class-to-glyph exception. When you delete a pair that has no higher-level pair, you will see the text unkerned at your cursor.

To autokern a pair lightly, tap ;. The pair will only be autokerned if the optical algorithm determines that the kern value should be significant.

kerning Mac & Win
delete pair Backspace
autokern ;

Kerning: class cloud no longer shown behind exceptions»

When View > Kerning Class is on, the Kerning mode shows a class cloud behind the 1st and 2nd class glyph in any class-based pair. Now, the glyphs that form exceptions on either side of that pair are no longer shown in the kerning class cloud.

Kerning: Show All Combinations»

When you select one pair that involves a class on either or both sides in the Kerning panel, and choose the new command Show All Combinations from the local panel “hamburger” menu, FontLab will replace the text with a combination of each glyph from the 1st class followed by each glyph from the 2nd class.

Previously, you could achieve it by CtrlAlt-clicking a pair entry in the Kerning panel or by an Alt-clicking a small gray rectangle next to a class name in panel pair entry.


Linked metrics»

We have refined the engine that controls linked metrics (metrics expressions). Their results are now no longer immediately rounded to integers, so rounding errors no longer accumulate if you have expressions that refer to glyphs that also have expressions. Previously, FontLab was always “hard-rounding” all metrics, including those that resulted from metrics expressions. This was a problem in glyphs without an extrema at one side, or if you used italic metrics, and used more complex expressions (esp. with multiplication and division).

Because of that, we’ve changed how metrics work depending on the Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing setting:

If Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on (which is ), then FontLab will:

  • immediately round to integers any metrics values that you set or change in the Metrics mode, that you enter into the Metrics Table or into the Glyph panel, or that result from metrics transformations such as scaling glyphs or sidebearings via Actions
  • allow fractional in glyphs that use linked metrics

If Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is off, then FontLab will:

  • keep any fractional values that you enter into the Metrics Table or into the Glyph panel or that result from metrics transformations as fractional values internally, but will display them as integers in the user interface (you can see the fractional values in the Source panel)
  • it will also allow fractional values that result from linked metrics

Known issue: FontLab currently stores the Contour > Coordinates settings per app, and does not save it in the VFC/VFJ. So if you open VFCs/VFJs, and some of them are designed to work with integer coordinates only, and others are designed to work with fractional coordinates, set Contour > Coordinates accordingly when working on each font.

Italic metrics»

If you turn off Preferences > Grid > Follow the font’s Italic Angle, then the italic angle View menu item will only two states:

  • when the metrics are upright, the menu item will say Apply Italic Angle to Metrics
  • when the metrics are italic, the menu item will say Do Not Apply Italic Angle

If you turn off the preference, then the italic angle View menu item will have three states:

  • when the metrics are upright and the grid is upright, the menu item will say Apply Italic Angle to Metrics
  • when the metrics are italic and the grid is upright, the menu item will say Apply Italic Angle to Metrics and Grid
  • when the metrics are italic and the grid is italic, the menu item will say Do Not Apply Italic Angle

FontLab will now correctly recalculate the linked metrics when you change this setting. Previously, if you used metrics expressions and you changed the setting, the resulting metrics would be incorrect.

Known issue: FontLab currently stores the View italic angle setting per app, and does not save it in the VFC/VFJ. So if you open a VFC/VFJ that uses italic metrics expressions and your FontLab has this setting set to upright, you’ll see incorrect metrics. Choose View > Apply Italic Angle to Metrics and you’ll see correct metrics.

Font window»

From Glyph window to Font window»

When you work in a Glyph window and you want to run an Action or operation from the Font window, choose the new Window menu item named Open Font Tab or Open Font Window (depending on your Preferences > General configuration), or press CtrlW on the Mac or CtrlAltShiftW on Windows. Then:

  • If the Glyph window is in Text mode, the Font window will open and select all glyph cells of your Glyph window’s text.
  • If the Glyph window is in any other mode, the Font window will open and select the glyph cell for the Glyph window’s current glyph.

Example: you have a set of glyphs in the Glyph window and you want to remove overlaps in all of them? Tap T for Text mode, then CtrlW (Mac) / CtrlAltShiftW (Win), then choose Tools > Actions > Basics > Remove overlap, click All Masters, then OK — done!

You can also open the font window this way if you double-click on any empty space in the Glyph window property bar.

Note: If the Font window has Hide unfiltered glyphs on and the glyphs that were in the Glyph window are not visible, they will not be selected. Turn Hide unfiltered glyphs off, switch back to the Glyph window and press CtrlW (Mac) / CtrlAltShiftW (Win) again.

Auto layer and composite glyph cell icons»

If you turn on Preferences > Font Window > Show auto layer and composite icons, the Font window glyph cells will now display additional tiny informative icons that indicate how the current glyph layer shown in the cell is built:

  • : auto layer if the icon is an upwards-pointing bright blueshogi piece” shape,
  • : partial composite (has both components and simple contours or other non-component elements) if the icon is a downwards-pointing dark rouge shogi piece shape,
  • : full composite (has only components) if the icon is a downwards-pointing light gray shogi piece shape.

The cells shown these icons at the top of the cell if Preferences > Font Window > Cell caption is set to be at the bottom, and vice versa.

Keyboard zooming»

Keyboard shortcuts for zooming now work in the Font window:

  • Cmd= zooms in and Cmd- zooms out: they switch between the different column presets, and if you choose the Flex cell mode in the bottom-right corner of the Font window, change the zoom in smaller steps.
  • Cmd1 goes (scrolls the window) to the current glyph cell.
  • Cmd2 sets the Font window zoom to 64 columns (very small cells).
  • Cmd3 sets the zoom to 32 columns.
  • Cmd6 sets the zoom to 16 columns.
  • Cmd7 sets the zoom to 8 columns (very large cells).

Font window: Deleting glyphs»

Deleting glyphs using Edit > Delete (Del) in the Font window now allows you to choose what to do with the affected composite glyphs and auto layer glyphs.

When you select one or more glyphs in the Font window and choose Delete, FontLab shows the Delete Glyphs dialog. If some of the glyphs that you are deleting are source glyphs for components in some composite glyphs that you are not deleting — FontLab offers you to resolve this situation. The top area of the Delete Glyphs dialog lists the glyphs that will be deleted and modified.

Let’s say that you try to delete A but your font has Aacute (Á) and Adieresis (Ä) that have components with A as a source. Those composite glyphs would be affected by the deletion of A, so the Delete Glyphs dialog now offers you the Composite glyphs section with three choices how to handle these composite glyphs:

Keep source glyphs»

If you choose Keep source glyphs, FontLab may delete fewer glyphs that you’ve selected.

It will not delete the glyphs that are used as component sources in glyphs that you are not deleting.

To references»

If you choose To references, FontLab will delete all glyphs you’ve selected.

In the affected composite glyphs, it will convert the affected components into element references. (This was the previous behavior of FontLab VI).

FontLab will delete the source glyph, but will keep the contours of that source glyph as a named element in the Gallery, and will place a reference to this element in all the glyphs that included the component that pointed to the deleted glyph. This way, all occurrences of the element are still linked together.

Note: If you create a new glyph and place that element as a reference and the only element in the glyph, you can then run Element > Element Reference > References to Components, and FontLab will seamlessly convert all these element references back into components that now point to the new glyph.


If you choose Decompose, FontLab will delete all glyphs you’ve selected.

In the affected composite glyphs, it will decompose the affected components, i.e. convert them to simple independent contours. (This was the behavior on FontLab Studio 5).

Note: Some glyphs may become “partial composite glyphs” that will have both components and simple contours as a result. When you export them into OpenType TT, they will be decomposed.

Auto layers»

The Auto layers section lets you decide what to do with glyphs that have auto layers which rely on glyphs that you’re deleting.

Turn Preserve recipes on to keep the logical structure of the auto layer, but the appearance may change. The affected auto layer glyphs will keep the auto layers property but may change visually.

  • If the affected auto layer uses a custom recipe, that recipe will stay unchanged. The component whose source was deleted disappears. However, if you add a new glyph with the name used in the recipe or assign that name to another glyph, the new component will reappear in the affected auto layer.
  • If the affected auto layer uses a built-in recipe, FontLab will try to fully rebuild the auto layer using the next-best recipe for as long as possible. For example, if your font has the glyphs A, acutecomb and acute and you turn on auto layer on Aacute, FontLab will build it from A+acutecomb. But if you delete the acutecomb glyph, FontLab will rebuild Aacute from A+acute. If FontLab cannot fully rebuild the auto layer, the component whose source was deleted disappears.

Turn Preserve recipes off to keep the appearance of the auto layer, but not its logical structure. FontLab will first convert the auto layer into a composite glyph, and will then work on the composite according to your Composite glyphs choice above.

Font info»

No style linking»

In File > Font Info, if you Alt-click Names > Build Names, FontLab will build the names without style linking, so the typographic Style name such as “Bold Italic” gets appended to the Style group and the Style link always becomes Regular.

If you Alt-click From Axes or From Masters on the Instances page, the predefined instance names will be built without style linking (this only makes a difference if you export instances as static fonts, not in a variable font).

User interface»

Easier to click buttons»

The buttons in the property bar are now easier to click — you can click slightly outside the button. This is consistent with Apple’s user interface guidelines.

Importing Artwork»

Better optical separation»

When you drag-and-drop or File > Import Artwork a bitmap image or a vector graphic that represents an entire alphabet or multiple glyphs onto the Sketchboard or into a Glyph window, that image or graphic arrives in FontLab VI as one element.

If you’ve imported an SVG, you may need to first choose Element > Image > Make SVG Editable. Once you have the element, you need to separate it into smaller elements that represent single glyphs. Finally, you can Element > Place As Glyphs to put them into a font.

Switch to the Element tool, turn on View > Element Frame, click the image and choose Element > Optically Separate. FontLab will automatically split the image or graphic into smaller pieces. If you don’t like the result, undo, go to Preferences > Operations > Optical separation and adjust the following new options that let you better control how FontLab splits the image. Then repeat Optically Separate.

  • Merge overlapping cells

    • Turn in on if glyph images like % where there is a horizontal overlap of the bounding boxes, or glyph images made of separate close-by elements (like dots), are being separated but you’d like them to be merged.
    • Turn it off if the separation produces too large elements that include several glyph images next to one another.
  • Merge stacked cells

    • Turn it on if fragments that are on top of other fragments, such as the dot over the “i”, are being separated but you’d like them to be merged.
    • Turn it off if the separation merges together fragments that are above one another but actually belong to separate glyphs.
  • Detect text baseline

    • Turn it on if the glyph images on your graphic sit on a common baseline.
    • Turn it off if the glyph images on your graphic are irregularly arranged and don’t sit on a common baseline.

Opening, saving and exporting fonts»

Opening and exporting .glyphs files»

With FontLab VI 6.1.4 (both the Mac and the Windows version), you can now export .glyphs files, and you can also open .glyphs files much more faithfully!

So now, you can easily exchange source files with users of, or you can quickly switch from one app to another (and back, if need be), depending on the tasks you’re facing and the tools you need. FontLab VI also opens and exports .designSpace files and .ufo packages (both UFO 2 and UFO 3), and in the past few versions, we’ve greatly improved the support for these formats. So it has been really easy to collaborate with users of RoboFont, Superpolator or FontForge as well, and to use those apps along FontLab VI.

Note: export to .glyphs is “beta” functionality, so in this release, the Glyphs font export profile is hidden by default. Go to File > Profiles, turn on the blue checkbox next to the Glyphs entry, and click OK. Now go to File > Export Font As and choose the Glyphs profile. The Glyphs export profile exports the entire font with multiple masters into one file (into the Source-Glyphs subfolder if you turn on Subfolders by: Profile).

When FontLab VI opens or exports .glyphs, it correctly translates the most essential info:

  • masters and instance defintions
  • glyphs and layers
  • contours and ordinary components
  • guides and anchors
  • kerning and kerning groups
  • some font custom parameters such as naming
  • some master custom parameters
  • the font note, TrueType stem info and various other details

But FontLab does not read or export all data. Below are some known limitations in 6.1.4:

When FontLab opens a .glyphs file, it converts all automatically aligned components into normal manually positioned components, and reads smart components and serif components as plain contours.

FontLab does not read or export many font or master custom parameters, the do not export glyph flag, stored tabs or windows, info about the automatic alignment of components, some hinting info.

FontLab reads metrics keys from .glyphs as metrics expressions, and exports metrics expressions to .glyphs as metrics keys. However — while the syntax of the FontLab metrics expressions and that of Glyphs metrics keys is similar in many aspects, there are differences. At this point, FontLab does some conversion, but you may get keys or expressions that are valid in one app but invalid in another.

However, since both apps also store the actual glyph metrics, if you want to quickly “hop over” from one tool to another and back for a little fix — you can, and your metrics keys/expressions will survive. But if you set up more complex keys/expressions in one app and then change the spacing in another app, and go back to the first app — you may get unexpected results. You can always check which glyphs have expressions in FontLab’s Font window list view and remove them with Font > Remove Metrics Links.

If you open a .glyphs file in FontLab, and then export a new .glyphs file, you can open both files in the MergeGlyphs utility to compare what has changed, and you can even copy over some info that’s missing.

Exporting masters, DesignSpace+UFO, OpenType Variations»

When FontLab exports masters (into any format, including DesignSpace+UFO and OpenType Variations), FontLab will no longer remove final node of a contour that is on the same coordinates as the startpoint.

Previously, FontLab would replace that final node with a “closepath”, which was appropriate behavior for single-master fonts, but which made the masters no longer match if one had the final node on top of the start point, while in another, the coordinates of the two nodes would differ.

Exporting OpenType Variations TT (.ttf)»

Variable fonts that you export in FontLab VI will:

  • no longer cause horizontal shifting of composite glyphs in macOS
  • have a more compact GPOS table
  • have more correct STAT and MVAR tables

(FontLab VI now bundles version 3.40.0 of the wonderful fontTools library, and owes the variable font export improvements to the tireless fontTools project contributors. Thanks!)

Exporting OpenType PS (.otf) and Type 1»

(See Hinting above and Bug fixes > Hinting below.)

Quick Help»

Help > Quick Help Panel now shows context-sensitive help if you access File > Profiles, Edit > Find Glyphs, Font > Generate Instance, Font > Overlay Fonts, and the items in Window > Workspaces. It shows more help with Font > Generate Glyphs > Custom.

Bug fixes»


  • Font guides and disappearing kerning. If you moved a font guide and then did Undo it, then later saved the file, FontLab would silently delete all kerning classes and kerning pairs in the saved file, even though it would still look fine in the file you were working with. This has been fixed.

  • Font guides. If you create a font guide, move it and then Undo, FontLab reverts the move but no longer deletes the guide.

  • Remove Overlap. If you Remove Overlap, then perform another operation and undo, FontLab no longer undoes the last operation and Remove Overlap in one go.

  • Anchors and Pins. When you add an anchor or pin, they appear in the Anchors & Pins panel. Now, when you undo, they will disappear from the panel. Previously, they were removed from the glyph but remained in the panel.

  • Various additional undo fixes.

Guides and grid»

  • Deleting guides. When you delete a guide, the Guides panel no longer shows that guide’s info. The guide is no longer undead.

  • Rounding font guides. If Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on and you Shift-drag-and-drop from the Ruler to create a font guide, the guide’s initial position now rounded as expected.

  • Quick calculations for guides. You can now use quick calculations (e.g. entering +20 after the current value) consistently in the guide position and width fields in the property bar and in the Guides panel. Previously, quick calculations did not work in some of these fields.

  • Anchors and pins on the Grid. When you turn on Preferences > Grid > Round nodes, guides and anchors to grid points, and you have View > Show Grid and View > Snap > Grid on, pins and anchors will now hard-snap (round) to grid points. Previously, nodes and guides did snap but pins and anchors did not.

Drawing and glyph editing»

  • Non-node editing. If you edit a curve segment directly and drag it to a configuration where one of the handles would completely retract, the handle no longer erroneously bounces back to its original position.

  • Join. Using Join to close a contour immediately after moving an open node, could first delete the just-moved node, before closing the contour. This is fixed.

  • Anchor coordinates. When you edit an anchor’s coordinates in place, and then switch to a different open Glyph window, the text box now automatically closes. (Instead of being stuck in the edit mode.)

  • Crash with PowerBrush. FontLab sometimes crashed when drawing with the Power Brush. It is more stable now.

  • Inactive window. Moving nodes or contours with the keyboard in an active window no longer also moves previously selected anchors in a now-inactive Glyph window.

  • Remove Overlap with Fill. Contour > Remove Overlap applied on an element that uses a Fill filter no longer leaves orphaned nodes on the last contour segment.

  • Make Overlap. FontLab no longer produces nodes that would be “green” and “square” at the same time after Contour > Make Overlap.

In-canvas text fields. If you click a text field that is directly on the Glyph window canvas (for example for changing the guide name or coordinate, hint width, sidebearings or node coordinates) and then switch to another app, FontLab no longer crashes.

Elements and components»

  • Dragging in element group. When you dragged a selection by a segment rather than by a node, especially if the segment was in an element that was inside an element group, the contour could erroneously snap to itself. This no longer happens.

  • Nodes in element groups. FontLab will now correctly show nodes in non-active grouped elements if Edit across Elements is on.

  • Crash with composites. FontLab no longer crashes when decomposing certain composite glyphs or when generating certain composite glyphs with Generate Glyphs.

  • Stickers. You can now delete stickers that you create with Element > New Sticker, and when you click on them to edit, the text editing field appears in the correct location.

Metrics and kerning»

  • Kerning exceptions. In Kerning mode, when you show a kerning pair that forms a glyph-to-class exception, the red wiggly line no longer erroneously appears underneath the glyph that represents the class.

  • Pairs and Phrases. Removing all kerning classes in the font correctly updates the Pairs and Phrases panel so that it no longer shows class names that no longer exist.

Hints and zones»

  • Family zones. FontLab now reads the Family zones (“FamilyBlues”) from various formats. They correctly show up in Font Info > Master Properties > Zones > Family zones.

  • Recalc zones on export. When the export profile has the setting Hinting > Recalc zones on, FontLab now actually auto-calculates the zones when it exports the font. Previously, FontLab ignored this setting and only exported zones if you defined them in Font Info > Master Properties > Zones.

  • Recalc stems on export. When the export profile has the setting Hinting > Recalc stems off, FontLab now auto-calculates stems only if both H and V stems are not defined in Font Info > Master Properties > Stems. Previously, it would auto-calc stems for the H or V direction if stems for that direction were not defined.

  • Hint replacement. FontLab now performs better automatic PS hint replacement when exporting OpenType PS .otf and Type 1 fonts.

  • Hints to links. FontLab no longer reverses hints when they are converted to links in some glyphs.

  • Hints and LSB. If you change the LSB, FontLab will no longer erroneously change the vertical hint thickness.

  • Metrics & Hinting Shadows. When you turn on View > Metrics & Hinting Shadows, the Glyph window will show the sidebearings, zones and hints in light gray. Now, if you have assigned a tag to some zone in Font Info > Zones, that zone will no longer appear as a shadows in glyphs that don’t have the corresponding tag. Previously, such zones were not shown when View > Show > Zones was on, but they did appear as shadows.

  • Snapping to hints. Hints no longer lose their snap property. Previously, in some cases you could no longer snap nodes or other objects to hints.

TrueType Hinting»

  • Preview of stored TT hinting. When you open a hinted OpenType TT (.ttf) font and open Tools > TrueType Hinting, the imported binary hinting is now applied when rendering the previews in the Glyph window and the TrueType Hinting preview panel.

Glyphs and auto layers»

  • Crash with auto layers. FontLab no longer crashes when applying auto layers in certain fonts

  • Color flags. When you apply a Color flag for a glyph via the controls in the Glyph panel, FontLab no longer marks other glyphs (that share the same element) as changed.

Classes and tags»

  • Custom color flags for classes. In the Classes panel, custom color flags are applied to the selected classes. The feature was not working previously.

  • New class names. When you create a new class, FontLab shows its proposed name open for editing (in the Classes panel list), making easier to change it. You can still edit a class name at any time with a double-click on it, or with the Class Name field in the top bar of Classes panel.

  • Class names. FontLab no longer allows invalid class names for kerning classes. Previously, characters beyond the basic ASCII were incorrectly allowed.

  • Counting column in classes list. In the Classes panel, the list of classes shows the number of glyphs belonging to each class. That column had its width reduced to give more room for other UI elements.

  • Last column in list view of Classes panel. When the list view of Classes panel is active, the last column (OpenType glyph definition, abbreviated as OT Def) stretches to fill the available space. But when there is not enough space, its width is now adjusted to the minimum to improve overall view.

User interface»

  • Multiline fields in Font Info dialog. The text is no longer rendered behind scrollbars in the multiline text fields of the Font Info dialog: Master properties > Note, Font properties > Creator > Designer, Font properties > Creator > Description, Font properties > Legal > Copyright, Font properties > Legal > Trademark and Font properties > Legal > License.

  • Creation date in Font Info. FontLab for Windows no longer shows the wrong year Font Info > Creator > Creation (Windows-only bug).

  • Font window quicklook. On Windows, when you hold the Spacebar in the Font window to show the “quicklook” preview of a glyph, and then switch to some other app, the “quicklook” pane goes away as you would expect.

  • Font Map panel. Switching from the Font Map to the Glyph window correctly updates the Glyph panel, to show info for the (new) current glyph.

  • Quick Help panel. Quick Help is no longer “stuck” showing information about the Font Info dialog, after the Font Info dialog is closed.

Sketchboard and Text»

  • Text frame wrap. When you create a text frame on Sketchboard and switch its wrapping method to Auto or Table using its toolbar, and you then save the font that uses that frame, the information about the wrapping is now saved with the frame’s text, font size and position, so the frame is correctly recreated on the Sketchboard when you open the VFC/VFJ. Previously, the wrapping method was not saved.

  • Text frame wrap. You can now use Text > Wrap to change a Sketchboard text frame’s wrapping method. Previously, only the frame toolbar buttons worked.

  • Text frame wrap. When switching a Sketchboard text frame wrapping from Auto to Manual, the content is repainted properly now.

  • Sketchboard layers. When you start FontLab in the Tabs configuration, the Layers and Masters panel is no longer disabled on the Sketchboard.

  • Auto wrap in Text mode. While in text mode, typing or removing a paragraph break in the sidebar will no longer activate Auto Wrap.

Opening and exporting fonts»

  • Opening VFC. FontLab now no longer refuses to open certain VFC files.

  • Opening OpenType+COLR. FontLab now opens certain OpenType+COLR color fonts more reliably.

  • Duplicate element names. When FontLab opened an older VFC/VFJ and needed to assign some elements a name for technical reasons, that could result in different elements having the same name. This no longer happens.

  • UFO 3 glyph marks. When FontLab reads UFO 3 packages or exports them, it now correctly handles color flags (glyph marks).

  • Vendor ID. When FontLab opens an OpenType font with a Vendor code (OS/2.achVendID) that is shorter than 4 alphanumeric characters, it removes the trailing spaces so Font Info > Creator displays the vendor name correctly.

  • Crashes. FontLab no longer crashes when opening certain Asian OpenType TT fonts or certain large fonts made with FontForge.

  • Tables panel: The text area in Preferences > Open Fonts > Do not import these tables to Tables panel lists the OpenType/TrueType tables that FontLab should not decompile into the XML format when it opens a .ttf or an .otf. That list no longer accumulates duplicate entries.