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Release notes for FontLab

7 July 2022

Explore & prepare

User interface

We have updated more UI icons to match the FontLab 8 interface style.

Build & assemble

Element tool context menu

New If you use the Element tool on a blank glyph (where the current layer has no content), right-click now opens a context menu with relevant commands. Previously, the context menu was only available if the glyph had content.

Test & adjust

Go Back and Forward between changes of the Glyph window text

In FontLab, you can use many methods to change the Glyph window text: type with the Text tool or in the Glyph window sidebar or in the Text Bar, use the Window texts selector in the sidebar, click the entries in the Pairs & Phrases or in the Kerning panel, and so on.

If you’ve changed the text, it’s now possible to restore the previous text. New The Glyph window has two new buttons, and the Text menu has two new commands:

  • Back: the window text changes to the text that was in the window before the change
  • Forward: the window text changes to the text that was in the window before you used Back

If you use these commands often, you can use Tools > Commands & Shortcuts > ⚙ to assign custom keyboard shortcuts to them.

Glyphs & fonts

Dialogs for adding glyphs

FontLab has many dialog boxes where you can type a partial glyph name and select a glyph from a list of glyph cells: Add Component, Add Element Reference, Add Skin Filter, Set 1st/2nd Kerning Class and others.

New In all these dialogs, the list of glyph cells now shows color flags for glyphs that have them. This is useful for visual differentiation if you’re choosing glyphs that have visually small content, such as serif component sources.

Bug fixes

  • Fix If you make the Variations panel wider, the List view shows round knobs that you can use for anisotropic interpolation (set different axis locations for X and Y to produce an instance). These controls are also used in Font > Generate Instance. The Y control is now working correctly if the X control is at 100%.

Changes in FontLab beta

Edit & refine

Contour > Overlap operations

New With the new commands available in the Contour > Overlap sub-menu, you can perform Boolean geometric “path finding” operations on the closed contours in the current element: Subtract, Intersect and Exclude. This is similar to Geometry operations in Affinity Designer, Pathfinder operations in Adobe Illustrator, or Path Operations in Adobe Freehand.

The Contour > Overlap operations are immediate: they directly produce the final contours. FontLab has alternative techniques for achieving the same results in a non-destructive way.

Choosing the “front” and “back” contours

FontLab needs one “front” and one “back” contour to perform the Contour > Overlap operations.

If you select one or more contours and perform a Contour > Overlap operation, FontLab combines all selected closed contours into one “front” contour, and combines all unselected closed contours into one “back” contour. If you don’t select any closed contours, FontLab uses the last closed contour in the element as the “front” contour, and combines all other closed contours as the “back” contour.

FontLab performs Contour > Remove Overlap in the “front” contour, and does the same in the “back” contour. Finally, FontLab performs the chosen Contour > Overlap operation between the “front” and “back” contour.

Contour > Overlap > Subtract

New If you choose Contour > Overlap > Subtract, FontLab uses the “front” contour to “punch a hole” in the “back” contour, or in other words: subtracts the “front” contour from the “back” contour. The result is the “back” contour, with overlaps removed, and the content of the “front” contour removed. FontLab removes the original “front” contour.

This is similar to Subtract in Affinity Designer and Adobe Illustrator, and to Punch in Adobe Freehand.

A non-distructive alternative to Subtract is the Fill tool: click the intersecting areas that should be kept, Alt-click the areas that should be removed. You can edit the contours. To produce the final contours, choose Element > Expand Filters.

Contour > Overlap > Intersect

New If you choose Contour > Overlap > Intersect, the result is an intersection contour that contains the overlapping areas of the “front” and “back” contours. The original direction of the “front” and “back” contours doesn’t matter. FontLab removes the original “front” and “back” contours.

This is similar to Intersect in Affinity Designer, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Freehand, and is, in a way, the reverse of FontLab’s Contour > Remove Overlap.

A non-destructive alternative to Intersect is the Fill tool (see above), or Element > Clipping Group: select the “front” contours and choose Contour > Convert > To New Element and click Create, then activate the Element tool, select the new “front” element and the previous element, and choose Element > Make Clipping Group. You can still edit the contours of the “front” and “back” elements. To produce the final contours, choose Element > Expand Filters.

Contour > Overlap > Exclude

New If you choose Contour > Overlap > Exclude, the result is a union contour, which contains the union of the “front” and “back” contours (same as the result of Contour > Remove Overlap), and an intersection contour, which contains the overlapping areas of the “front” and “back” contours (same as the result of Contour > Overlap > Intersect). The intersection contour has the opposite direction of the union contour. The original direction of the “front” and “back” contours doesn’t matter. FontLab removes the original “front” and “back” contours.

This is similar to Exclude in Adobe Illustrator.

A non-distructive alternative to Exclude is the Fill tool (see above).

Protecting contours from Contour > Overlap operations

FontLab performs the Contour > Overlap on closed contours in the current element, removes overlaps in the “front” and “back” contour before the operation, and always ignores open contours even if they’re selected.

To “protect” contours, that is, to exclude them from being merged into the “back” contour (especially: to protect them from overlap removal), you can do one of two things:

  • Make each contour that you wish to skip an open contour: right-click a node on the contour and choose Break, then perform the overlap operation. Next, use Contour > Join to close it again.
  • Move all contours that you with to skip into a new element: select the contours and choose Contour > Convert > To New Element and click Create, then activate the previously selected element and perform the overlap operation. Next, activate the Element tool (second arrow), select all elements, choose Element > Contours > Combine to Element, and activate the Contour tool (first arrow).

Improved Font Info > Other Values and File > Export Profiles

New We’ve improved the tabular user interface of the main area of the Font Info > Other Values page, and of the File > Export Profiles dialog:

  • If you click a row that has a checkbox, FontLab doesn’t immediately toggle it, so you can read the description at the bottom. To toggle the checkbox, click the actual checkbox.
  • If you hover over the property name, the tooltip that appears with a description of the property is now more readable.
  • If you click a row that has a dropdown list, the list now shows a check mark next to the entry which is selected.
  • Values in numerical fields that have more than 3 digits now show a thousand separator.

Consistency & precision

Measurements panel

The Measurements panel is a table in which you can record numeric values for design features of each master of your font, for example the vertical dimensions, contrast, overshoots or stem thicknesses. These values don’t need to correspond to technical measurements in the Font Info dialog. Quite often, the technical measurements need to comply with some software requirements, while the values in the Measurements panel do not. FontLab does not export these values into the final font formats.

FontLab can automatically calculate many values in the Measurements panel: click any cell in the panel, press CmdA or CtrlA, and click the Recalculate button.

New The Measurements panel now has new icons that illustrate the design features.

Bug fixes

  • Fix Fixed additional problems that occurred when you disconnected external monitors when the computer was hibernated.
  • Fix Fixed other problems reported by users, including some crashes.