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FontLab version»

13 August 2018

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

New Features / Enhancements»

Glyph Editing»

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

  • on: rendered using character placeholders from the font specified in Preferences > Font Window > Placeholder font

  • off: completely skipped, so only glyphs actually existing in the current font are shown

  • When you ShiftCtrlAlt-click (or ShiftRight Alt-click Windows) on a curve segment:

  • if it is a PostScript curve, FontLab adds a node on extremum if the segment was missing one, otherwise it will now do nothing (rather than adding a node where you clicked).

  • if it is a TrueType curve, FontLab will now add a node on the closest implied TT on-curve point location. If there is none, it will do nothing.

  • (Mac-only) Previously, CtrlAlt with the arrow keys moved the node by 0.1 unit. Now:

  • CtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 1 unit and nudges the neighboring handles

  • ShiftCtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 10 units and nudges the neighboring handles
  • CmdCtrlAlt with the arrow keys moves the node by 100 units and nudges the neighboring handles

  • New command Tools > Remove Anchors removes all anchors, on the current layer, in all glyphs selected in the Font window.

List view of the Font window»

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

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

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

User Interface»

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

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

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

Font Info»

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

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

Open, Save and Export»

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

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

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

Bug fixes»

Glyph Editing»

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

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

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

  • Previously, snapping only happened on the visible grid points. Now, snapping works on all grid points, even the ones that are not shown.

  • Also, in those situations, the visible grid always starts at the origin point of the current glyph.

  • Handle direction of tangent nodes (smooth connection of line to curve) is preserved while moving the contour up and down with cursor keys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metrics & Kerning»

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

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


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

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

Open, Save and Export»

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • VFC files that contain axis instances now open correctly.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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