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FontLab version»

5 August 2018

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

Quick Help panel and Quick Tips»

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

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

New encodings for beginners»

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

Glyph window»

Create glyphs right in the Glyph window»

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

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

Glyphs Bar»

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

When the Glyphs Bar is active:

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

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

Manual curve segment conversion into TrueType»

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

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

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

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

Genius nodes»

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spacing controls»

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

Composite and auto glyphs»

Turn Auto Layer on/off for multiple glyphs»

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

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

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

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

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

Extended glyph recipe syntax»

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

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

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

Add a glyph note when generating glyphs»

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

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

More composite and auto glyph improvements»

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

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

Developing OpenType features»

Glyph name auto-complete»

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

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

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

Management of font guides»

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

Remove images on selected glyphs»

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

Other improvements»

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bug fixes»

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

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

  • Some problems with the Python API have been addressed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Undo works when editing kerning.

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

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

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

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