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Release Notes: FontLab»

16 December 2019

These are the release notes for the stable 7.0.1 release.


Nodes at Extremes»

If one or more segments are selected in the Glyph window, Contour > Nodes at Extremes will now add nodes and extremes and remove unnecessary nodes only in these selected segments.

If no segments are selected, the operation will be applied to the current element, as in previous versions. In the Font window, it will be applied to all elements of the current layer of the selected glyphs. In Actions, to all current layer, visible layers or all masters.

Pasting vector artwork»

FontLab 7 supports two formats for clipboard exchange of vector artwork:

  • AICB: The legacy AI clipboard format, which is a simplified subset of Encapsulated PostScript. It stores Bézier paths with coordinates relative to the original artboard, supports simple fills and strokes, but has limited support for clipping masks and some other features of vector graphics.

  • PDF: The more modern clipboard format, which is used natively by many macOS apps. It handles more complex situations than AICB (such as clipping masks, complex fills and transparency), but stores Bézier path coordinates relative to the bounding box of the object. Support for PDF copy-paste is new in FontLab 7.

When you copy vector artwork (contours) in FontLab Studio 5, the app puts the representation of the artwork into the clipboard in its own native format and in AICB. Adobe Photoshop copies vector artwork as AICB. When you copy vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator, the app puts the representation of the artwork into the clipboard in AICB, in PDF and also in SVG. Apps like Affinity Designer and Sketch copy vector artwork only as PDF.

When both AICB and PDF representations are in the clipboard, FontLab VI and FontLab 7.0.0 for Windows always pasted AICB, while FontLab 7.0.0 for Mac pasted PDF. When the clipboard only had PDF, FontLab 7.0.0 for Mac pasted it, while FontLab VI and FontLab 7.0.0 for Windows pasted either a bitmap representation or nothing.

FontLab 7.0.1 has a new setting in Preferences > Paste & Duplicate: Prefer legacy AI clipboard format when pasting vector artwork. This setting in now on by default, and affects copy-paste into FontLab mainly from Adobe Illustrator.

  • If Prefer legacy AI clipboard is on, FontLab 7 will use the AICB representation rather than PDF if both formats are in the clipboard. This is best for monochrome artwork. FontLab will combine all paths that have the same appearance (fill and stroke) into a single element, so you’ll get immediately editable contours. When the Scale artwork preference is set to Do not scale or align, the artwork will be pasted at the same position in font units as the artwork had in points on Illustrator’s artboard when using global rulers. In Illustrator, you can control where the artwork will be pasted: in View > Rulers, choose Change to Global Rulers and turn on Show Rulers, then click the top-right corner of the rulers (where the horizontal and vertical rulers meet), and drag to the new origin point — this will define the placement of the 0,0 point.

  • If Prefer legacy AI clipboard is off, FontLab 7 will use the PDF representation rather than AICB if both formats are in the clipboard. This is generally better for multi-color and complex artwork, especially if it uses clipping masks. FontLab will the artwork as a group of elements, in which each compound path as an individual element (choose Element > Combine Contours to Element to make them all editable contours within a simple element). Also, if Do not scale or align is chosen, FontLab will place the artwork so that its bottom-left corner is at 0,0 — because PDF does not store artboard-based coordinates.

When only PDF is available (for artwork copied in Affinity Designer or Sketch), or only AICB is available (for vector artwork copied in FontLab Studio 5 or Photoshop), FontLab 7 will use the available format. Prefer legacy AI clipboard only affects situations when both AICB and PDF are in the clipboard.

STAT table in variable OpenType fonts»

FontLab 7.0.1 exports a more correct STAT table into variable OpenType fonts.

FontLab takes your axis instances declared in Font Info > Axes using design axis coordinates, and the corresponding Axis Graph that maps the design axis coordinates into user axis coordinates, and builds a STAT table in AxisValueFormat2 so that each axis instance forms the NominalValue of an AxisValue, and the RangeMinValue and RangeMaxValue are always in the middle between two axis instances.

For the axis instance with the lowest value, RangeMinValue equals the fvar axis MinValue, and for the axis instance with the highest value, RangeMaxValue equals the fvar axis MaxValue.

Implicit weight and/or width axis location»

When Preferences > Variations > Guess [weight/width] axis location from master style attribute or layer name is on, FontLab uses glyph layer names such as Regular or Bold or Condensed to infer the location on the width or weight axis if a corresponding font master is not defined. In 7.0.1, if these axes exist in Font Info > Axes, and if they use a non-default axis graph, FontLab will correctly infer the axis location of the implicitly declared masters using design axis coordinates. Previously, it was always using the user axis coordinates even if the axis used a different design scale.

Metrics linking in Set Width action»

The Actions > Set Width operation supports metrics linking like Set Sidebearings now.

Updated friendly glyph names»

FontLab 7.0.1 includes an update to the built-in “friendly” glyph names, based on the December 2019 update to the Glyph Name Formatter project. FontLab’s built-in glyph name database now has 47,119 entries:

  • 545 common names, based on the AGLFN project curated by Adobe; these names are identical in the friendly, alternative and production naming schemes
  • 29,467 unique friendly names (if different from common), largely based on the Glyph Name Formatter project curated by Erik van Blokland and Frederik Berlaen
  • 6,717 unique alternative names (if different from common and friendly), based on the GlyphsInfo project curated by Georg Seifert
  • 12,833 synonyms (used in glyph name searching and when FontLab generates Unicodes from names), curated by the FontLab team

Preview panel»

The Size dropdown in the Preview panel’s sidebar now has an extra entry: Fit. Choose it and FontLab will fit the entire text into the current Preview panel size, adjusting the size as needed. If the Preview panel has Echo Text on and multi-select glyphs in the Font window, the glyphs will always fit in one line, but you can click the Preview panel and use Enter to make the text multi-line, the Fit size will adjust the size so that the entire text is always visible. (Thanks, Josh Finklea!)

Replace Component»

You can now use Glyph > Replace Component… (Mac: ShiftCmdC, Win: ShiftCtrlC) to search and replace a component in multiple glyphs that you can select in the Font window. Type the name of the component that you want to search for in From:, type the name of the component glyph that you want to use instead in To:. Keep Apply to all masters to perform the replacing in all masters.

Keep the X and Y fields empty to insert the new components at the position of the original component. Enter an explicit numerical coordinate in X and Y to additionally move the inserted component by the specified distance, relative to the original component’s position.


In Font Info > Other Values > PostScript Hinting, you can now specify, for each master, the range of thicknesses in which autohinting (Tools > Autohint or autohinting on export) will create hints.

  • The H minimum and maximum values specify the range, in which horizontal (y-direction) hints will be created. Set the minimum lower than your thinnest horizontal stem, and the maximum larger than your thickest horizontal stem.
  • The V minimum and maximum values specify the range, in which vertical (x-direction) hints will be created. Set the minimum lower than your thinnest vertical stem, and the maximum larger than your thickest vertical stem.

Restricting the autohinting range allows the autohinter avoid false positives.

If you work on a font that has very large contrast and run autohinting manually, you may turn off Preferences > Autohinting > Remove existing hints when autohinting a glyph. Then you can set the autohinting range to be around a specific stem, autohint all glyphs, then change the range to be around another stem, autohint again. This lets you to automatically create hints in a very selective manner.


These autohinting settings also affect TrueType autohinting that uses the FontLab TTH engine, and the Uncommon stems/Irregular stems FontAudit tests (FontLab will only compare the stems within the range).


Keep in mind that when you export instances or a variable font, FontLab always uses the hints that are present (or that it will create) in the main master (indicated with the blue circle in Font Info > Masters). FontLab will adjust those hints to match the stem thicknesses in the other masters, but will disregard the hints that are present in the non-main master.

Precision drag»

In 7.0.0, you could drag a contour selection with high precision when you held Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Win) and you dragged a point (node or handle), but not when you dragged a segment. In 7.0.1, you can also drag the segment with Cmd/Ctrl.

Font window filters»

When your Font window is set to Hide unfiltered glyphs and you switch to a font filter that does not include the current glyph, FontLab now makes the first glyph of the filtered section current, rather than the last.

OpenType+SVG fonts»

  • FontLab 7.0.1 opens OpenType+SVG fonts with compressed and scaled SVG glyph descriptions

Bug fixes»

  • FontLab 7.0.1 correctly converts the rvrn feature into conditional tilde tags when it opens Variable PS (.otf) fonts
  • When you open a VFC in FontLab 7 and save, then open it in FontLab VI and save, and then open that file in FontLab 7, FontLab 7 no longer crashes.
  • When you click Auto space in the Glyph panel, the History panel no longer incorrectly shows Change glyph OT class.
  • The Auto space button in the Glyph panel, the Auto space button in the Glyph window Metrics mode property bar and the ; key now yield consistent, automatically calculated advance widths.
  • When you select multiple glyphs in the Font window, and in the Glyph panel click Auto space, FontLab calculates the width of each glyph in the current layer separately. Previously, it would assign the same auto-calculated width to all selected glyph cells.
  • When you enter numeric values in Actions > Set Sidebearings, FontLab will now correctly overwrite metrics expressions with the specified numeric values.
  • When you click in the blank area of the Features panel sidebar and then start typing in the feature editor, FontLab no longer overwrites the content of the last-active feature.
  • When you paste PDF artwork that has a stroke, FontLab no longer creates two identically-shaped elements per path (one with a fill but no stroke, the other with stroke but no fill). But fill and stroke are now assigned to the same single element.
  • When you select multiple fonts in the Fonts panel and choose Font > Merge Fonts to Masters, FontLab no longer creates an unnecessary extra layer named Regular.
  • When you click the Smart Corner control point and choose Apply Smart Corner and then Undo, the contours no longer disappear.
  • When Font > Live Update > Live Metrics is on and you select an element or component with the Element tool and turn Nonspacing on/off, FontLab instantly updates the glyph’s metrics the glyph uses expressions. Previously, you had to choose Font > Update Glyphs
  • FontLab no longer lets you create a smart corner on the end node of an open contour.

  • Pasting vector artwork from apps that use PDF for clipboard exchange (such as Affinity Designer) now correctly works in FontLab 7 for Windows. In FontLab 7.0.0, it worked in the Mac version, but on Windows, FontLab 7 pasted bitmap images.

  • Element > Make Power Brush could under some circumstances remove the underlying contour. This no longer happens.

  • In Font Info, adding a master using the master in another open font copies composite glyphs correctly.

  • When a layer with a certain name exists in a glyph, and you try to give the same to another layer using the Layers & Masters panel, FontLab now appends a numeric suffix to the layer you just renamed.
  • File > Revert is now enabled after sorting glyphs in the font using Font > Sort Glyphs menu.
  • Undo for Rapid tool is fixed and works consistently now.
  • When you enter negative values in Actions > Bold (Change weight) > Simple algorithm, FontLab no longer moves components and element to the 0,0 position.
  • When you use Glyph > Rename Glyph… to rename a glyph that is used in composites, FontLab adjusts components in the composite glyphs to use the new name. When you Undo, FontLab 7.0.1 now also correctly adjusts components back to use the old name.
  • VFC and VFJ files got their own icons on Windows.
  • When Free Transform is used for contours in the shifted element, FontLab no longer misplaces the transformation rectangle.
  • In the Glyph window, undoing of the left sidebearing move no longer undoes the creation of a smart corner.
  • The Nodes At Extremes and Clean Up operations have been improved to minimize contours distortion. This also improves the result of exporting OTFs with the built-in OpenType PS profile.

  • When generating a font from the instance using Font > Generate Instance, FontLab no longer creates two layers.

  • When doing custom glyph renaming, FontLab correctly updates renamed glyphs in the Kerning panel even if masters have different sets of pairs.
  • Reset in Font Info > Axes > Axis Graph no longer extends the min/max of the design range “horizontally” (keeping the same user range, which created ambiguous mapping), but extends both ranges proportionally.
  • If you have font guides names e.g. TopLine in two masters at different positions, and you have top anchors in both masters, and you enter enter the Y expression TopLine to the top anchor of one master and you the Copy to Masters button, FontLab now not only copies the expression to the top anchor in the other master but also updates that anchor’s position.

  • When you add a font master in Font Info or in Variations panel, FontLab now uses glyph layers with the target name if they already exist in any glyphs.

  • When you export instances as OpenType PS using the built-in profile, FontLab now removes overlaps in all instances, including those that are at the axis locations of masters. FontLab 7.0.0 did not remove overlaps at these axis locations.

  • When you Copy font guides from the current master in the FontInfo > Guides page, you can now use Alt-Paste to paste the font guides to all masters.

  • View > Show > Quick Measurement is now on by default.

  • Undo now works correctly after Font > Generate Unicodes.

  • FontLab no longer fails to properly redraw on screen elements that use Smart Corners.

  • In Preview panel, when you applied features including kern, FontLab doubled the effect of kerning (using both the internal kerning and the kern feature adjustments at the same time). Now the Preview panel only shows the result of the kern feature, and not the internal kerning, if the feature is applied.

  • Drag-drop of selected glyph cells in the Font window works correctly now.

  • The problem with copy-pasting contours in fonts having UPM size than 1000 is fixed.

  • FontLab no longer removes contours from some elements that use Smart Corners when it opens a VFC/VFJ.

  • FontLab no longer crashes when using FontAudit to fix an error for the test which was just ignored or turned off (Win-only).

  • If a master has the service layer attribute set in the Layers & Masters panel and you export masters, that master is no longer selected for export in the Export Font dialog box, the blue checkbox is off.

  • The error [F] <Font> invalid token (text was "?") no longer occurs when FontLab compiles OT features.

  • FontLab correctly applies the Unicode range selected in Preferences > Font Window > Default encoding as a default filter for new and imported fonts.