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FontLab version»

9 March 2018

New preview build of FontLab for Windows x64»

This is for Windows users only: Today, we’re releasing a preview build of FontLab for Windows x64. Most Windows users can continue to use the 32-bit version of FontLab, 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 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 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 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