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FontLab version»

21 December 2018

New Features / Enhancements»

With FontLab 6.1.2, you can now print, synchronize text across multiple windows with Echo Text, override and add custom OpenType tables using the new Tables panel, quickly add and edit classes in the improved Classes panel, create OpenType symbol encoded fonts, restore your panels when you open a VFC/VFJ, and much more!

You can now print the contents of the current Font or Glyph window with File > Print… (CmdP on macOS, CtrlP on Windows). You can also create PDF specimens this way, using the Save as PDF command in the Print dialog of macOS, or using a 3rd-party PDF virtual printer for Windows.

If you print from a Font window, FontLab will produce a table of glyph cells that you see in the Font window, with the current font master, current captions and in the current visible order. Before you print:

  • To change the glyph size, choose the number of columns in the bottom-right corner of the Font window.
  • To apply filters, to show or hide unfiltered glyphs, and to change the captions and the sorting, use the Property bar and the Sidebar.

If you print from a Glyph window, FontLab will typeset the current text (contents) of the current Glyph window, with the current font master, as if you were using the Text tool with Text > Wrap > Auto. Before you print:

  • To change the text size, tap T to activate the Text tool and change the Text size in the property bar, or open View > Control Bars > Sidebar and change the text size there.
  • To change the text you wish to print, type or paste a text using the Text tool, choose a predefined text from the Sidebar’s Text dropdown, or multi-select entries from the Kerning panel or the Pairs & Phrases panel.

Support and exporting of OpenType fonts»

Tables panel: Define custom OpenType tables»

The new Tables panel allows you to store, edit and export OpenType table definitions for arbitrary OpenType tables using the popular TTX syntax. The Tables panel is a convenient way to override the tables that FontLab exports by default (for example name or gasp), and/or to add tables to the exported font that FontLab does not support (for example MATH, BASE or meta).

Open an existing OTF or TTF and FontLab will decompile font tables except those listed in the Preferences > Open Fonts > Do not import these tables to Tables panel. Open Window > Panels > Tables to view the decompiled table definitions, to add or edit custom table definitions, to copy-paste them between fonts, and to enable some of the custom table definitions for export.

To add a definition for a new table, click +, double-click the XXXX table tag and type your desired table tag. Then input a valid TTX definition for that table in the editing area. To perform a basic verification of your custom table definition, select it and click Verify. To remove a table definition, click .

To enable custom table definitions for export, turn on their checkboxes. Whenever you export a non-variable OpenType font (OTF or TTF), FontLab will override the tables it generates with enabled custom tables, and will add any enabled custom tables that are suitable for the format.

Note: Currently, FontLab will not write custom table definitions into OpenType Variations fonts. Also, if you are generating instances from a variable font, each custom table definition that you enable for export in the Tables panel will be exported into all instances.

See the FontLab Help article about the Tables panel for more info.

Export Font As: Enable and disable instances»

In the File > Export Font As dialog, Instances tab, you can now Alt-click any blue checkbox to enable or disable all instances for export. Example: Alt-click a checkbox to disable all instances, then click some checkboxes one by one to export only the selected instances.

Export Font As: Export single masters or instances as VFC/VFJ»

In the File > Export Font As dialog, the FontLab (.vfc) and FontLab JSON (.vfj) profiles at the top of the list export the entire multiple-master source font as one file. This is equivalent to File > Save As, i.e. exports your font source losslessly.

The same-named profiles in the lower portion of the list are different: they allow you to export the current layer, all or some predefined instances or each master as separate single-master files. This may be particularly useful if you wish to perform some external processing of those files, or export them to other formats.

OpenType Symbol fonts»

FontLab 6.1.2 now allows you to export OpenType Symbol fonts.

TTF fonts with a cmap Platform ID 3, Encoding ID 0 are called “Symbol” or “cmap 3.0” fonts. Windows handles these fonts in a special way: the glyphs that have the Private Use Area (PUA) Unicodes in the range from U+F020 to U+F0FF are also accessed when you type normal text characters on a English or other Latin-script keyboard.

FontLab now lets you export “cmap 3.0” Symbol fonts in OpenType TT (.ttf) format. Even though “cmap 3.0” does not work in OTF fonts, FontLab will export Symbol fonts into OpenType PS (.otf) using double-encoding (each glyph getting two codepoints), so users will be able to type the glyphs the same way they can with TTF Symbol fonts.

To create an OpenType Symbol font:

  1. In the Font window property bar choose Filter > Codepage, and in the next dropdown choose MS Windows Symbol from the MS Windows subgroup.
  2. Drag your glyph cells to the filtered glyph cells that have the Unicodes U+F020–U+F0FF. This will reassign the names and Unicodes of the glyphs. U+F020 will correspond to the space character.
  3. Delete any glyphs outside the filtered area U+F000–U+F0FF from the font.
  4. In Font Info > Codepages, turn on the new checkbox Symbol font. This will automatically set the Symbol Character Set bit in the Selected codepages column.
  5. Use Font > Export Font As and choose the OpenType TT (.ttf) or the OpenType PS (.otf) profile, or any other OpenType-based export profile.

OpenType TT Symbol fonts with the “cmap 3.0” work as follows:

  • on Windows, the system “double-encodes” the PUA glyphs on the fly using codes used in the Windows 1252 Western codepage offsetted by 0xF000. For example, the glyph with the PUA Unicode U+F041 will also be accessible as U+0041 (so you can press the key for “A” to get it), and the glyph with the PUA Unicode U+F096 is also accessible as U+2013 (which is the character “–”), because the hex code 0x96 maps to U+2013 in the 1252 codepage.
  • on macOS and in Adobe apps, the on-the-fly double-encoding may not work, or may only partially work, but the glyphs will in any case be available via the PUA Unicodes.

When FontLab exports a Symbol font into OpenType PS (.otf), it writes a “cmap 3.1” where it assigns an additional Unicode from the Windows 1252 codepage to each glyph that has the PUA Unicodes U+F020–U+F0FF. Functionally, these fonts should work the same way as OpenType TT Symbol fonts.

Glyph names»

  • When exporting to OTF: OpenType with PostScript outlines OpenType PS format, FontLab now correctly renames the glyphs to the AGLFN+uniXXXX convention if the Glyph names profile setting is Use standard PDF-compatible names. This affects he OpenType PS (.otf) profile and its derivatives. Previously, FontLab always exported the current glyph names into OTF. To export an OTF without renaming the glyphs, add a new profile based on OpenType PS in File > Profiles…, set Glyph names to Use current glyph names, and export the font using the new profile.

  • You can now use glyph names that contain hyphens inside metrics expressions and auto layer recipes if you surround the glyph name with single quotes (e.g. 'A-cy') or double quotes (e.g. ="A-cy"-20). Font > Link Glyph Metrics and Edit > Paste Special > as links now correctly use quotes with such glyph names when building metrics expressions.

Special glyphs “NULL” and “CR”»

When the font source does not have the glyphs NULL or CR and:

  • You export an OTF with the profile setting Use current glyph names, FontLab will now add those glyphs named NULL or CR. Previously, it would add them as .null or nonmarkingreturn
  • You export a TTF with the profile setting Use current glyph names, FontLab will now add those glyphs and export them as Macintosh standard names. It will also export them as Macintosh standard names if they already exist in the font and have the names NULL or .null and CR or nonmarkingreturn.
  • You export an OTF or a TTF with the profile setting Use standard PDF-compatible glyph names, FontLab will now add those glyphs and export them as font-specific names uni0000 and uni000D, which is compatible with the AGFLN glyph naming. It will also rename them to uni0000 and uni000D if they exist in the font and have the names NULL or .null and CR or nonmarkingreturn.

When you open a TTF font where the post table entries for glyph ID 1 or 2 are Macintosh standard names, those glyphs will now be opened with the names NULL (rather than .null) and CR (rather than nonmarkingreturn).

Windows and Panels management»

On a monitor with the horizontal resolution larger than 1600 pixels, the width of any newly opened Font window will now be 1600 pixels rather than the full screen width. You can resize the window as you like.

Save and restore windows, tabs, panels and font filters»

FontLab 6.1.2 saves your entire workspace in the VFC or VFJ file: the contents, sizes and positions of windows and tabs, and now also the positions of visible panels. Use Preferences > Open Fonts > Restore workspace from VFC/VFJ to decide what should happen when you open a saved file: by default, FontLab will restore the windows and tabs, but you can also decide to restore panel positions.

FontLab 6.1.2 now also saves (to VFC/VFJ) and restores filters and sorting settings for all open Font windows.

Windows and window tabs»

  • You can now dock floating windows (turn them into tabs inside another window) using two new commands in Windows > Docking, which makes it easier to work with multiple windows, and to revert an accidental window undock.

  • Merge To Font Windows will dock all Glyph windows into their corresponding Font windows. Merge All Windows will dock all windows into one window.

  • Merge Window will dock the current window into the default window, or that font’s Font window.
  • Note: The availability, labeling and precise behavior of these commands depends on your Preferences > General > Windows and tabs setting.

  • The minimum width of a window tab heading is now smaller, so you can open more tabs before a scroll bar appears. Also, the borders between tabs are more distinct.

Control Bars view settings»

The View menu has a new Control Bars submenu that includes toggles to show and hide four control bars:

  • the Property Bar lets you perform common actions in a Font or Glyph. Toggling it is a new setting.
  • the Sidebar provides font filters in the Font window, and various text and features controls in the Glyph window. This setting was previously only available as a button in the property bar.
  • the Text Bar lets you input the text visible in the Glyph window using the glyphtext notation; the Glyphs Bar provides a simplified navigation of the font’s glyph set. These menu items only work in the Glyph window. They were previously available directly in the View menu.

Text improvements»

Each Glyph window or tab in FontLab contains “text.” In FontLab, “text” has a somewhat specific meaning: it is a sequence of glyph specifiers. Those specifiers can either be Unicode characters that produce the glyph which has the particular Unicode codepoint, or glyph specifiers that directly produce a particular glyph.

Echo Text: synchronize text between Glyph windows»

With the new Text > Echo Text menu item or the Echo text button in the Glyph window’s property bar, you can now set any Glyph tab or window to automatically receive (“echo”) the text of the current window. When a Glyph tab or window is an “echo window” i.e. has the “Echo text” property turned on:

  • When another Glyph tab or window is active, and you change the text in the active window, the same text will appear in the echo window.
  • When a Font window or the Font Map panel are active and you select some glyphs, these glyphs will show as text in the echo window.

“Echo windows” are most useful when you work with undocked windows (rather than tabs), especially if you have multiple monitors. You can work on a glyph or some text in one Glyph window using the Contour tool in a high zoom level, and have one or more Echo windows that provide an alternate view onto the same glyph or text.

Echo windows can act as a set of “supercharged Preview panels.” They can have a different tool active (for example the Text or Metrics tool), can use the Alternative view with different view details (for example, with hidden guides or font metrics).

You can change the text in both a non-Echo and an Echo window: whenever you change the text in the active window, all Echo windows will reflect that change. For example, you can turn on Text > Echo Text in two Metrics windows that have a different zoom level, and use the Kerning panel, the Pairs & Phrases panel or the Metrics panel to browse through some texts or pairs, and these texts or pairs will be instantly visible in both large and small point sizes. And if you edit the text in either of those Echo windows, the same text will appear in the other.

When you type in your own text into the Preview panel, the Content setting of the panel’s sidebar changes to Custom. Choose Content > Echo text (renamed from Current) in the sidebar or click the new Echo text/Custom button in the lower-right corner of the panel to synchronize the panel’s text with the current window.

If the text specifies a glyph which is not present in the font, the Glyph window shows a missing glyph placeholder if Preferences > Editing > Show missing glyph placeholders is on; or if the preference is off, the Glyph window leaves out any specified glyphs not present in the font. If a Glyph window shows missing glyph placeholders, you can jump over them them when navigating through the text with [ (Text > Previous in Text) and ] (Text > Next in Text). Previously, missing glyph placeholders blocked that navigation.

Unicode glyph specifiers»

Various user interface elements of FontLab allow you to specify a glyph by using the glyph name (for example a, adieresis or adieresis.smcp), a glyph name synonym (for example uni00E4 if the glyph name is adieresis, or vice versa) or a single Unicode character (for example ä). We have now extended the glyph specifiers to allow:

  • Unicode characters with suffixes to match alternate glyphs; for example if you specify ä.smcp, FontLab will match the glyph named adieresis.smcp. Note: The suffix must match exactly so tt will not match
  • Unicode characters (also with suffixes) concatenated with _ (underscore) to match ligatures; for example if you specify f_ä, FontLab will match the f_adieresis glyph.

You can now use Unicode glyph specifiers:

  • in metrics expressions; for example, you can write an expression such as ш.alt + 20
  • in Generate Glyphs recipes and auto layer recipes; for example, you can use the extended syntax recipe = f_f & ä.alt or the legacy syntax recipe 'f_f'_ä.alt to build an auto layer in the f_f_adieresis glyph
  • in Edit > Find Glyphs…, Glyph > Add Component…, Element > Element Reference > Add Element Reference…

You can now also input Unicode glyph specifiers in the following interface elements, but FontLab will immediately convert them into real glyph names:

  • the text area of the Classes panel where you specify the contents of the class
  • the glyph name field in the Glyph panel
  • the New name field in Glyph > Rename Glyph…

We have also extended the glyphtext notation used in predefined texts (Preferences > Texts), in the Pairs & Phrases panel’s texts, and in the Glyph window Text Bar. In addition to Unicode characters (AÄĄ etc.), /-prefixed glyph names (e.g. /A/Aacute/Aogonek), and \u-prefixed hex Unicode codepoints (\u0041\u00c4\u0104), you can now use Unicode text in glyph specifiers, for example , /ä.alt or /f_ä.

Thanks to these enhancements, you can create more “portable” kerning lists, glyph generation recipes or sample texts for glyph design and spacing. This is particularly useful for non-Latin type design.

Note: in glyphtext, FontLab will match Unicode glyph identifiers in alternates or ligatures (e.g. /ä.alt or `/f_ä) only if the specified glyph uses a default AGLFN-compatible name prefix or portion (such asadieresis.altorf_aacute), and will not match non-default or synonym names such asuni00E4.altorf_uni00E4`.

Pairs & Phrases Panel»

The Pairs & Phrases panel allows you to browse short text phrases or kerning phrases. Editing these phrases is now easier: click the Edit Pairs & Phrases button in the property bar of the Metrics mode or in the bottom-right of the Pairs & Phrases panel to open the Pairs & Phrases editor. You can now drag the editor dialog around; importing text files and resetting to defaults is also easier.

Click the Texts or the Pairs buttons to edit the phrases for the respective mode. Click Cancel to ignore the changes, click Apply to apply the changes but keep the editor open, click OK or click outside the editor to apply the changes and close the editor.

Unicode glyph specifiers now also work in Text phrases and Pair phrases. For pair phrases, you can use either of the MetricsMachine-compatible formats:

The KPL:P pairs format that uses glyph names or Unicode glyph specifiers, with space to indicate the kerning pair:

#KPL:P: Pairs
T adieresis
T ä
T ä.alt

The KPL:W words format that uses glyphtext with space to indicate the kerning pair:

#KPL:W: Words
T ypography
auf arbeiten
k/lslash amstwo
/ /Ä.sc/

Glyph design»

Drawing and glyph editing in FontLab 6.1.2 should feel much faster than in previous versions.

Alt-dragging a node»

If you Alt-drag a sharp node, the results are now more predictable:

  • If an adjacent segment is a curve that has a collapsed handle, Alt-dragging the node will pull out the handle.
  • If an adjacent segment is a line, Alt-dragging the node along that line segment will convert that segment to curve, and pull out a handle.
  • In other cases, Alt-dragging the node will move the node, but keep the handles of any adjacent curve segments in place.

Previously, the different actions were triggered in a somewhat less predictable manner.

Marquee selection of nodes vs. handles»

To select some points using the Contour tool, you can drag a rectangular marquee. We have fine-tuned how this works and renamed Preferences > Marquee selection selects nodes but not handles to Marquee selection ignores handles when selecting nodes.

Previously, with this preference on, rectangular marquee selection only selected nodes. To only select some handles (without selecting nodes), you had to use the lasso selection (Alt-drag). Now, if this preference is on, then:

  • If your marquee covers both nodes and handles, then only nodes will be selected (as previously).
  • If your marquee only covers some handles, but no nodes, then those handles will be selected (new behavior).

If this preference is off, then rectangular marquee selection works like the lasso selection: it always selects whatever it covers, i.e. either nodes or handles or both.

Aligning of nodes, handles and contours»

The Transform panel now includes the Align vertical center button as the last one in the top section. You may need to make the panel wider to see it.

Aligning partial contours in the Contour tool now differs from aligning complete contours. Previously, alignment using the Contour tool always aligned selected nodes and points individually. Now:

  • If you select a single complete contour with double-click the outline or Cmd-click near the outline:

  • Align left in the Transform panel or the { key will align the contour to the left sidebearing

  • Align right (}) will align to the right sidebearing
  • Align center (|) will center within the advance width
  • Align bottom (Alt{) will align to the baseline
  • Align top (Alt}) will to the caps height
  • Align vertical center (Alt|) will center vertically between the baseline and the caps height

  • If you select two or more complete contours and align them using the Transform panel buttons or the keyboard shortcuts listed above, the entire contours will be aligned to each other without changing the shape of the contours.

  • If you select one or more complete contours and one or more partial contours (or just individual nodes or handles), and align, the complete contours will be aligned with all individual nodes and handles of the partially-selected contours.

  • If you select a node and one or two adjacent handles and align, the handle(s) will be aligned to the node vertically or horizontally, whichever distance is smaller. You can also use the Transform panel alignment buttons. Previously, vertical or horizontal aligning of handles to a node was only possible with Shift-double-click a handle.

Free Transform»

In Tools > Free Transform (CmdT or CtrlT):

  • When the transform rectangle is extremely narrow in either direction, only the circular side handles are accessible, so you can easily scale in a single direction. Previously, the circular side handles and the rectangular corner handles were visible at the same time and overlapped, and it was difficult to select the side handle.

  • The center handle of the transform rectangle that defines the center of the transformation now snaps to corners, nodes, contours, guidelines and anchors when you drag it.

  • To skew the selection around the opposite side of the transform rectangle, hold Cmd and drag one side of the transform rectangle. Now, you can also hold AltCmd and drag the edge to skew around the center handle.

  • To distort the selection around the opposite corner of the transform rectangle, hold Cmd and drag one corners of the transform rectangle. Now, you can also hold AltCmd and drag the corner distort around the center handle.

  • You can now double-click the center handle to reset its position to the middle of the transformation rectangle.

Coordinates and measurements»

  • The font size in Preferences > Glyph Window > Show coordinates for current node and… is now also used for angle, length and quick measurement.

  • “Lengths & Angles” of handles attached to selected nodes are visible even when the View > Show > Coordinates option is turned off. They are persistent when a node is selected. The visibility of Lengths & Angles was also improved.

  • When you move selected nodes with the mouse or arrow keys, the selection size fields on the Property bar show the movement offset (distance from the point you started the movement), like in FontLab Studio 5.

Loop corners with Scissors tool»

When you click a sharp node with the Scissors tool, or choose Contour > Unlink Corners, FontLab cuts open the contour on that node, lengthens the lines to overlap, and creates a compound Fill. ShiftAlt-drag the new nodes to elongate the segments further.

Now, you can also Alt-click a sharp node with the Scissors tool, and it will keep the contour closed and create a “loop corner”: a crossover that is similar to an unlinked corner but where the new nodes are still connected. If the loop corner is outside the filled contour, FontLab will also apply a transparent fill to the loop. Looped corners inside filled contours are useful in OpenType Variations.

Paste Mask»

The new Tools > Paste Mask command pastes the contents of the current layer’s Mask layer into the current layer. This operation was available in FontLab Studio 5 but not in FontLab.

Paste Special: element references, linked metrics, tags»

The Paste Special dialog now has a new design and additional option toggles.

When you select some glyph cells in the Font window and choose Edit > Copy, or when you choose Edit > Copy Layer in the Glyph window, and you select one or more glyph cells in the Font window or navigate to another glyph in the Glyph window, you can use Edit > Paste Special to paste only specific aspects of the copied glyph layer to the current layer of the current glyph or of the selected glyphs, replacing the previously existing information.

The Contour and images toggle has a new as references checkbox:

  • when on, the elements (contours and images) pasted into the same layer of the target glyph(s) will be element references, so a bidirectional link will be formed between the source and the target glyph layers
  • when off, the elements pasted into the target glyph(s) will not be linked to the source glyph

The glyph metrics toggles (Left sidebearing, Right sidebearing, advance Width) have a new as links checkbox:

  • when on, metrics links that point to the source glyph will be pasted into the target glyph for the selected metrics, so whenever you change the metrics of the source glyph, the metrics of the glyph(s) where you pasted the links will update to match.
  • when off, the selected glyph metrics will be pasted as numerical values.

The new Tags toggle allows you to copy-paste tags between glyphs.

Stroke and Power Brush»

The Preview panel has a new Stroke setting that allows you to preview your glyphs with a stroke. This is great to quickly simulate ink spread and to visually prototype how your glyphs might look if you added or removed weight.

  • Click the underlined word Stroke to turn on stroke preview.
  • Move the slider to the right (above 0) to add text-color stroke, so your glyphs become visually bolder.
  • Move the slider to the left (below 0) to add background-color stroke, so your glyphs become visually lighter.
  • Click Filter > Inverted preview to swap text and background color and customize the colors with the color selectors.
  • Note: This does not apply the stroke permanently to your glyphs as the Stroke panel would.

To actually apply a stroke, use the Stroke panel. Now, you can select multiple glyphs in the Font window and Cmd-click the panel’s Apply button to apply the stroke to the current layer of all selected glyphs. Glyphs with an applied stroke will be exported into color font formats. Use Element > Expand Stroke to convert the applied stroke to contours and export them into traditional monochrome fonts.

Previously, the thickness of a stroke applied via the Stroke panel were considered part of the “ink” (the printable area of the glyph), so it was taken into account when calculating sidebearings. Now, Preferences > Spacing has a new setting Ignore Stroke thickness when calculating sidebearings. If you turn this option on, FontLab will calculate the sidebearings based on the actual contours, ignoring the stroke thickness.

Note: this does not affect Power Brush or SVG elements that use strokes. FontLab always considers them “ink” and uses them to calculate the sidebearings.

Power Brush is now much faster. The resulting contours are smoother. We’ve also eliminated many problem cases when Power Brush was applied on sharp corners, especially with non-round brushes.

Font window and Glyph panel»

Index filter in Font Window»

When you now choose Index in the Filter dropdown of the Font window property bar, the Sort dropdown is disabled and the glyph cells are always sorted in ascending glyph index (GID) order.

Glyph panel with multiple selected glyphs»

When you select multiple glyph cells in the Font window with Shift or Cmd/Ctrl, the Glyph panel fields now show the word multiple if the width, a sidebearing, the kerning class within the current layer differs between the selected glyphs, or if the OT Glyph Definition Class or the Glyph Note differ. The fields show the actual value if it is identical across the selected glyphs.

You can set the OT Glyph Definition Class or enter a Glyph Note for multiple selected glyphs. You can enter a new value into any of the metric fields (width, LSB, RSB) to assign it to the current layer of all selected glyphs. You can also enter an arbitrary expression. For example, you can select the glyph cells for ÀÁÂÃÄÅ and enter A into the LSB and RSB fields to link the sidebearings of the accented glyphs to the base glyph.

Note: Sort the Font window by LSB, RSB or Width and use the List view to group glyph cells with similar metrics together for easier selection. You can also use Paste Special to paste into selected glyphs a simple metric expression that links to the copied glyph.

Glyph name synonyms in Font window quick preview»

When you hold Space in the Font window, a quick preview popup of the current glyph cell appears with additional information. The top portion of the popup now lists all synonyms available in the standard.nam database for the current glyph name.

Master switching on empty glyph cells»

When the Font window has a prospective filter and an empty glyph cell is active, you can now use the property bar master switcher to switch between font masters.

Components, Generate Glyphs and auto layers»

Generate Glyphs»

  • You can now use simple glyph names (e.g. Eth, Zhe, Aacute, uni0123) and simple legacy-syntax recipes such as a+>acute in the Custom tab of Font > Generate Glyphs even if the Use legacy (FLS5) code checkbox is off. Generate Glyphs will expect that the extended syntax is used if the recipe contains an equal sign (=), otherwise it will expect a glyph name or a simple legacy-syntax recipe.

  • You can add glyph notes to the glyphs you generate in Generate Glyphs. When you use the extended recipe syntax (Use legacy code off), FontLab will insert the text that follows !# at the end of the recipe into the glyph note, for example Agrave = A + gravecomb @ top, #! This is a note.

  • The bottom of the Generate Glyphs dialog now shows a glyphtext-formatted (slash-separated) list of glyph names that will be generated. This allows you to correct mistakes in your recipes and lets you copy that glyphtext for later re-use.

Auto Layers: showing built-in recipes»

If a layer is an auto layer that uses a built-in recipe (based on alias.dat or the Unicode decomposition), then the Auto Layer recipe text field in the Layers & Masters panel is no longer empty, but shows the built-in recipe (on gray background). This way, when you turn on Auto Layer, you immediately see what recipe FontLab uses to build the composite glyph.

To customize the recipe, click the Edit recipe button next to the text field. When the auto layer uses a custom recipe, that button turns into a Reset recipe button, and the background of the text field becomes white. Click the button to remove your custom recipe and to revert to using the built-in recipe.

Auto Layer column in Font window List view»

The List view of the Font window that you can open with the 4th button of the property bar can now display the Auto Layer column. This column shows whether the glyph layer is an auto layer (then the cell background is yellow), whether it uses a built-in recipe (then the recipe text is light gray) or a custom recipe (then the text is black).

To edit a recipe right in the cell, double-click the cell.

To sort the List view by the Auto Layer property, click the Auto Layer column heading. The ascending sort first lists cells that are auto layers without recipes, then alphabetically sorted auto layers with recipes (built-in and custom, intermixed), and finally “manual glyph layers” (non-auto layers). Click the heading again to reverse the sort.

To show the Auto Layer column, click the gear icon, turn off Sync with cell caption, turn on Auto Layer and any other columns you wish to show, and use drag-drop to change their order. Then click OK.

Custom glyph metrics in auto layers»

In FontLab 6.1.2, you can now override the auto layer metrics (width, LSB, RSB) generated by the recipe. To do that, enter a metrics expression directly in the appropriate glyph metrics field (width, LSB or RSB): in the Metrics Table, the property bar of the Metrics mode or in the Glyph panel.

Normally, auto layers inherit the advance width and the sidebearings from the base components. For example, if the auto layer recipe in the dcaron glyph is = d + caron.alt @ `right + 100`,, then the glyph will inherit the left sidebearing and the advance width from d. If the caron.alt glyph has the OT Glyph Definition Class “Mark” set in the Glyph panel and Preferences > Open Fonts > Automatically assign nonspacing… is on, then the caron.alt component in dcaron will be set to Nonspacing so the right sidebearing of the dcaron glyph will also be identical to that of d.

This is not always what you may want. Sometimes, you may wish to change the width or the sidebearings of the auto layer glyph. In previous versions, it was already possible to specify different sidebearings right in the extended-syntax recipe, such as = d + commaaboverightcomb @ `right + 100`, ^ d, d + 50 (that would increase the RSB by 50). However, this made the recipe less portable and difficult to use.

Now, you can override the auto layer-generated metrics using metric expressions. In the above example, use the first recipe to generate the glyph, and then in the dcaron RSB field enter d+50. This will set the RSB to be 50 units larger than the RSB of d (ignoring the comma.alt nonspacing mark). To override auto layer-generated metrics in an auto layer with a specific numeric value (e.g. 350), use the expression =350 or 350+0.

To reset the overridden value back to the value generated by the recipe, enter 0 into the appropriate metrics field and press Enter.

Note: If you use _both the ^ operator in the extended-syntax recipe to set custom glyph metrics in the auto layer (as in the 2nd example above) and an expression override, the resulting metrics will be incorrect. Please only use one or the other of the two mechanisms._

Other improvements»

  • If a glyph has an auto layer, Glyph > Decompose turns off the Auto Layer property, and decomposes the glyph. Previously, you had to turn off Auto Layer before decomposing.

  • The Tools > Actions dialog now has a Contour > Decompose action. This way, you can easily decompose composite glyph layers (convert components into simple contours) in all masters of selected or all glyphs.

  • Glyph > Add Component has keyboard shortcuts: CtrlShiftA on macOS and AltIns on Windows.

  • The Add Element Reference and the Replace Element Reference dialogs remember the last-used settings.

  • Extended-syntax recipes can now produce zero-width glyphs if you specify a zero width in the recipe (e.g. acutecomb = acute@center, ^ 0) or if your base component has a zero width.

  • The positioning operator @ in the extended recipe syntax recipes now accepts named Font Info parameters and font metrics (such as ascender) as the first value after the @.

Metrics and classes»

Glyph metrics without and with Measurement line»

The values shown in the editable text fields for the advance width and for the sidebearings in the Glyph panel and in the Metrics mode property bar depend on whether you have View > Measurement Line on or off. But next to those fields, you can now always see two values:

  • The upper gray values show the traditional metrics calculated based on the extrema. These values take slanted sidebearings into account but ignore the Measurement line and Nonspacing elements.
  • The lower violet values show the metrics calculated where the design intersects with the Measurement line, even when the Measurement line is not visible. They ignore Nonspacing elements.

Also, the Auto spacing button has a new icon and the text fields for the width and the sidebearings in the Glyph panel are now slightly wider.

Metrics panel»

You can now easily show and hide the preview area of the Metrics panel with the Show metrics preview button at the bottom. Previously, you could hide and show the preview area only by dragging the top of the area.

Classes panel»

We have extended the List view of the Classes panel:

  • It shows a glyph thumbnail along the glyph names
  • If only one class is selected in the panel’s sidebar, it shows additional columns that you can sort by clicking the headings (Unicode, LSB, Width, RSB, OT Def).
  • For alternate glyphs such as, the Unicode of the base glyph is shown in gray if it is known.

When you select some glyph cells in the Font window, or when you select a source class in the Classes panel sidebar and select some glyphs in its Table or List view, you can copy (CmdC/CtrlC) or drag-drop. Then:

  • To add glyphs to an existing class, select a destination class and drop or paste (CmdV/CtrlV) into the Table, List or Text view of the class.

  • To add glyphs to a new class, drop or paste into the Classes panel sidebar. Them select the type of class you wish to create (Kerning 1st, Kerning 2nd, OpenType, Glyph tag), and a new class will be created that contains the pasted or dropped glyphs.

To remove glyphs from an existing class, you can now select them in the panel’s Table or List view, and tap BkSp.

Also, FontLab now preserves the order of classes when you open a VFB file.

Font Info and Variation»

Automatic master location on the width and weight axes»

In fonts with multiple masters, FontLab uses the Font Info > Names > Weight and Font Info > Names > Width style attribute values to automatically build the weight (wght) and width (wdth) axes, and to infer the location of the master on those axes — even if these axes are not defined in Font Info > Axes. FontLab also makes glyph layers work as font masters if the glyph layers use names such as Regular, Bold or similar (using one of the registered weight or width keywords) — even if these font masters are not defined in Font Info.

This behavior was always on. Now, there is a new checkbox in Preferences > Variations: Guess [width | weight | width and weight] axis location from master style attribute or layer name. When the checkbox is on and one of the entries (weight, width, width and weight) is chosen in the dropdown, FontLab will behave the same as it did in previous versions.

To disable this “guessing”, turn the checkbox off. If the Output panel reports errors like KeyError: : 'wght' when you export an OpenType Variations font, turn the checkbox off. Then, masters and layers will be variable along the weight and/or width axes only if the axes are defined in Font Info > Axes and if the corresponding masters are defined and set to variable using the blue AAA toggle in Font Info > Masters.

Font Info: Adding font masters improved»

To add a master to a font, you click the Plus button in Font Info and pick one of the entries from the dropdown that appears. We have redesigned the dropdown to make these choices clearer.

Choose Duplicate master, copy glyph layers to duplicate the current font master entry, the current masters’s glyph layers for all glyphs, kerning classes and the kerning pairs list and values.

Use this if you’ve finalized the design of the current master and you want to derive a new master from the current one for all glyphs (for example making a condensed or bold variant). The new master will have the same axis coordinates as the source master, you should change it on the Masters. Rename the master on the Names page.

Choose Duplicate master, blank glyph layers to duplicate the current font master entry and kerning classes, and create glyph layers for all glyph with the same advance widths as the current master’s, but without any contents (elements, contours or images). This does not create any kerning pairs.

Use this if you have not finalized the design of the current master and plan to draw contours in several masters concurrently or copy-paste between layers.

Choose Duplicate master, no glyph layers to duplicate the current font master entry and kerning classes but without creating any glyph layers or kerning pairs. Change the name of the new master on the Names page. Then select one or more glyph cells in a Font window, click the + button on the Layers & Masters panel and enter the same name as the new master. The new layer will appear in the panel only in glyphs where you created it.

To only make a few glyphs variable, for example along the Ascender axis, you can add a “long ascenders” font master without glyph layers and then add glyph layers only to the glyphs that actually change.

Choose Empty master to create an empty font master with no glyph layers, no kerning classes and no kerning pairs.

The Copy from entries list all currently open fonts and (in submenus) their masters. Choose one to copy glyph layer contents, kerning classes and kerning pairs from another font and master into a new master in the current font.

When you copy a master from another font and the Add missing glyphs when copying from font checkbox in the dropdown is off, FontLab will only copy glyph layers and kerning for glyphs that exist in both fonts.

To add all glyphs that are present in the other font but not in the current font, and to copy all glyph layer contents and kerning from the other font and master into the new master, click +, turn the option on, click + again and choose Copy from a font and master. Note: This will create additional glyphs in the current font, but will not create additional glyph layers in the masters of the current font for glyphs that are not present in the source font.

Font Info: Parameters»

Parameters are named variables that you can define in Font Info > Parameters and use in expressions.

  • You can now use fractional values in Font Info > Parameters.

  • The range of the Font Info > Parameters slider has been reduced, and now goes from –UPM/2 to UPM, to allow finer movement of the slider.

  • The parameters section of the Font Info panel (not the Font Info dialog) now has three buttons to control what is shown: font metrics, font guides and parameters. (Note: of the three, only parameters are editable directly in the panel.)

Font Info: Guide expressions»

When you start typing in any of the fields in the Font Info > Guides dialog section, an autocomplete dropdown will now appear if your input matches a parameter or guide name.


  • Tools > Add Vertical/Horizontal Hint now adds hints even to very thin features (less than 10 units).

  • Autohinting no longer affects composite glyphs if they consist solely of components.

User interface enhancements»

  • The main Toolbar has smaller margins now, so more tools fit on smaller laptop screens

  • The Show spacing controls and Show kerning buttons in the Glyph window property bar have new, clearer icons.

  • When you turn on Show properties in the Element and Layers & Masters panels, the properties area now has a contract/expand button that hides some less-essential properties. When properties are contracted, the panel’s status bar shows a zigzag line.

  • FontLab Studio 5 for Windows saves glyph notes in VFB files using pre-Unicode encodings. When you open such a VFB, FontLab will show a dialog asking you to identify that encoding, and will correctly convert the glyph notes to Unicode. Glyph notes in VFB files saved in FontLab Studio 5 for Mac are saved in Unicode, so the dialog will not appear.

  • When you type in a glyph name in the Glyph panel, the Font window List view or the Font window cell captions, FontLab will validate the glyph name after you’ve finished typing and not while you are typing.

Bug fixes»


  • When you Undo a node movement, and the node has a link, the apparent position of the link is correctly updated on screen.

  • Undo now works on more things. The following are now correctly handled by Undo:

  • Moving a link.
  • Changing color of a guide, hint or alignment zone.
  • Changing the recipe field for an auto layer, or activating/deactivating the auto layer in the Elements panel

Editing contours»

  • When Round when Editing is on and the element is scaled vertically or horizontally, moving a selected node with arrow keys works correctly now.

  • Moving a segment with Cmd-arrows. When the option to click in an outline to select a segment is off (Preferences > Editing), using Cmd with an arrow key still moves the segment by 100, as you would expect.

  • FontLab no longer hangs or fails to convert the curves, when the user converts some particular configurations of TrueType curves to to PostScript, using the Alt+click procedure.

  • Free Transform scale with AltShift keeps proportions correct (even when center handle has been moved).

  • Calling Contour > Remove Smart Corners when there are no smart corners in the current glyph no longer causes a crash.

  • Contour > Expand Contour command correctly uses its settings and options when called from a Font window (instead of only when used from a Glyph window).

  • Fixed a problem moving a selected node using the arrow keys, when Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on.

  • When doing direct segment editing, pressing and releasing Alt (i.e. switching between fixed and free handle direction) no longer turns smooth nodes into sharp nodes. Releasing Alt no longer changes the handle’s direction before fixing it.

  • When Preview Rounding and the crosshair are both on, and you move a point, the crosshair snaps to integer coordinates along with the point.

  • When you create a handle by dragging it from a node with Alt, and then Undo, it does not change links.

  • ShiftCtrlAlt-click a TrueType segment consisting of two or more consecutive TT off-curve points now correctly inserts the implied TT node instead of producing odd results

  • Dragging guides in the Glyph window is much faster now.

  • Font metrics no longer visually jump in the Glyph window when you perform a marquee selection.

Classes, metrics and kerning»

  • Color flags for glyph classes (which can be set in the Classes panel) respect Preferences > Font Window > Color flag brightness.

  • In the Classes panel List view, Unicodes are now shown in either uppercase or lowercase, depending on the Preferences > Font window setting.

  • Applying a flag (color) to a class in the Classes panel no longer gives an unnecessary warning about removing the kern feature.

  • Adding a tag in the Classes panel could prevent the class/tag from updating its content. This is now fixed.

  • Extend Class Kerning works not only for glyph to glyph pairs but also for class to glyph pairs.

  • Under some circumstances, FontLab flattened bound sidebearings and/or linked metrics information when opening a VFC, converting the information to simple numeric values and losing the link. This has been fixed.

  • When edit a glyph that has bound sidebearings, the Preview panel correctly updates glyph metrics.

  • Clicking in the non-editable metrics readout fields in the Metrics mode property bar no longer inserts a text cursor that cannot be removed.

Font and Glyph windows»

  • When the 2nd or 3rd Preferences > General > Windows and tabs setting is active, closing the Sketchboard no longer disables menu items such as File > Font Info or Edit > Find Glyphs.

  • When you open FontLab or any window, the windows or panels no longer flash (blink) briefly. .

  • When you double-click a cell in the Font Map to open it in a Glyph window, FontLab moves the app focus to the Glyph window. (So for example, if you then select all, it affects the Glyph window instead of the Font Map.)

  • Switching between fonts in the Font Info dialog is faster.

  • Switching fonts in the Fonts panel, and cells in the Font Map panel, updates the contents of the Glyph window correctly.

  • Switching between the basic and alternative view with Cmd/ updates the Glyph window correctly.

  • Power Brush contours are now smooth when Contour > Coordinates > Round when Editing is on.

  • Switching to the mask no longer moves the Glyph window content if View > Center Glyph or Pair is on.

  • We’ve made cosmetic UI improvements to the dropdown next to the Filter dropdown in the Font window property bar.

Elements, components, Generate Glyphs, auto layers»

  • When changing the font UPM and scaling glyphs was on, components in composite glyphs no longer are scaled twice.

  • Edit > Select All (CmdA) now works correctly with groups of elements.

  • Edit > Paste Components now works as expected in the Font window.

  • Unlinking an element reference no longer changes the angle of element guides.

  • When you add a component or element reference, it becomes the current and selected element.

  • You can no longer paste contours into a locked element reference.

  • Element > Element Reference > Add Element Reference now consistently adds references for named elements to all layers.

  • Moving a component position in one glyph (which has no effect on any other composite glyphs) no longer marks all glyphs sharing the same component as changed.

  • In a glyph with a group of elements and also a separate one, selecting the group no longer also shows the separate element as selected.

  • In the Elements panel, buttons for flipping elements and components now work as expected, adding to the corresponding edit box.

  • A composite glyph built from a recipe using auto layers, now only gets anchors from its base glyph (not from diacritics). If the composite has a diacritic above or below the base glyph, the anchor position is adjusted to allow stacked diacritics.

  • Anchors in auto-layer diacritic glyphs: With auto layers, it is possible to replicate a glyph by using its name in the recipe field, like Alpha=A to produce a Greek Alpha identical to the Latin A. When you use this to duplicate a stand-alone diacritic (accent), FontLab no longer omits the the _name anchors (e.g. _top or _bottom) in̤ the replicated glyph.

  • When you turn on Auto Layer in a Glyph window, odd rotated hints or guides no longer appear on screen.

  • Fixed a problem with automatic building of the glyphs LJ and NJ. Their built-in recipes are now fixed in alias.dat.

  • Toggling the Generate Glyphs > Use legacy (FLS5) code checkbox now correctly updates the preview.

  • Sidebearings specified in extended-syntax glyph generation recipes such as dcaron = d + caron.alt @ `right + 100`, ^ d, d now correctly ignore Nonspacing components

Opening, saving and exporting»

  • FontLab no longer occasionally loses glyph contours in a saved file if the glyph also contained elements without any content.

  • If FontLab cannot complete saving a file because the save folder is not writeable, an error message will now appear.

  • When you turn on additional save formats (VFJ, UFO, VFB) using Preferences > Save Fonts > Save VFC and also and you perform File > Save As:

  • FontLab now always “also saves” the files in the same folder as the VFC file.

  • The Font window tab heading and window heading now points to the VFC file rather than to the last “also saved” file.
  • “Also saved” files no longer appear in File > Recent Fonts.

  • FontLab no longer crashes when opening certain fonts such as Apple Chancery.

  • The preview of fonts in the File > Open > Installed Fonts dialog no longer shows odd spacing, esp. for condensed and wide fonts.

  • When you export an OpenType PS+SVG or OpenType TT+SVG font, FontLab will correctly export the monochrome bw layer and will create the layer on the fly if it is not present.

  • When you export UFO files, FontLab no longer includes its own auto-generated node names.

  • After File > Revert, Save As no longer presents two save dialogs.

  • FontLab now correctly exports rotated components into OpenType TT (.otf).

  • Some glyphs without contours no longer get unexpected zero width when exported to UFO 2.

  • In VFJ, the name attribute of a master is now stored inside the fontMaster element.

  • The keyboard shortcuts ShiftCmdO (Open > Font Folder…) and
    AltShiftCmdO (Open > Installed Fonts…) were no longer available in 6.1.1; they have been restored.

Layers and variation»

  • When generating/exporting individual instances from a font that has multiple masters:

  • names for ssXX (stylistic sets) and cvXX (character variants) features that you define in the Features panel are now exported correctly.

  • if strikeout and/or underline thickness/position values are different in different masters, they are interpolated in the instances.
  • All zones and stems are included.

  • OpenType variable font export no longer fails when some masters are outside the design space (axis range) and are not included for interpolation.

  • When exporting .designspace files, FontLab now correctly uses periods (never commas) for decimal notation, regardless of your computer’s region or locale settings.

  • Exporting some OpenType Variation fonts no longer fails if they contain an axis with the code st.

  • Exporting some OpenType Variation fonts no longer fails with IndexError: list index out of range

  • Adding new layer/master by duplicating the current one no longer reverses hints or breaks links in the glyphs on the new layer.


  • After editing a sticker, clicking outside its edit box closes it as expected.

  • Closing or opening the Glyph window after sticker edit box was not closed no longer crashes.

  • If handles of a sticker are visible in the Glyph window, they move together with the rest of the window contents when you scroll.


  • In the Preview panel, handling of right-to-left text rendering triggered by turning on the Features button produces better results than previously. The mark and mkmk features are on by default.

  • FontLab generates mark and mkmk features even when layers are hidden.

  • One-to-many glyph substitutions are rendered correctly now, including in the Glyph window and the Preview panel.

  • When a diacritic is added to an uppercase base glyph, anchors are not in use, and the diacritic has a glyph name with an extension such as .cap or .uc, the automatic diacritic positioning is improved (no longer far above a reasonable position).

  • You can now delete selected anchors in the Anchors & Pins panel with the Delete key (in addition to the button).

  • Choosing Edit > Append Glyphs with glyphs copied from the same font no longer crashes.

  • Select All now only selects contents from other layers when Edit Across Layers is on.

  • The Font window MS Windows 1252 Western encoding filter no longer shows one glyph (such as exclaim or dollar) moved to the end of the encoding.

  • In the Glyph panel, the numeric field for glyph color flag values accepts numbers from 1 to 360 (instead of only up to 255), and works correctly now.

  • Glyph color flags are better preserved when importing/exporting to and from VFB. (Previously there were some color shifts related to the different value system involved.)

  • FontLab sometimes crashed when you moved panels around in compact (bar) mode. This is fixed.

  • You can now edit a Tunni line even if it appears on top of another Tunni line.

  • The scrollbars for top and bottom parts of the Generate Glyphs dialog have the same size and position now.

  • Ghost hints set in masters are shown correctly on the #instance layer.

  • In Python macro scripting, FontLab no longer crashes if you use the old fl.glyph method to access a multilayer glyph that has different numbers of nodes on different layers.

Windows-specific bug fixes»

  • The Font Info dialog box no longer gets hidden behind Font windows.

  • Pressing the Windows button to open the Start menu while using the Free Transform operation no longer crash FontLab.

  • Signing fonts with a digital signature (DSIG) works again on Windows.

  • Profile names in the Profiles dialog box now have normal spacing.

  • Ctrl-click now acts like Cmd-click macOS, instead of opening context menus like a right-click.

  • Clicking the glyph canvas, outside the Similar Glyphs pane, closes the pane as expected (Windows-only bug)

  • Clicking outside the modal Texts pane closes the pane as expected (Windows-only bug)

  • The Font > Add Glyphs dialog displays glyphs with diacritics now. Previously they were mostly clipped.