Tip of the Day

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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:15 pm

Optical Metrics for Superscripts, Petite Capitals

The Optical metrics feature is only available in the Professional Edition. This features calculates the optimal spacing for Basic Latin characters based on the character shape. If you add Small Capitals, Petite Capitals, or Superscript/Subscripts to your fonts, you might like to have FontCreator calculate the correct spacing for those glyphs too. Here's how to do it.

  1. Copy the glyphs to a new font project and paste them into A-Z and/or a-z.
  2. Run Optical Metrics. For lowercase superscripts you might need to use a smaller value than the default of 27 — I used a space factor of 17. For the Petite Capitals I used a space factor of 21. Experiment until you're happy with the result. The action can be undone.
  3. Copy and paste the optically spaced glyphs back to the original font

Superscript Optical Metrics.png
Superscript Optical Metrics.png (31.71 KiB) Viewed 4961 times


Petite Capitals Optical Metrics.png
Petite Capitals Optical Metrics.png (20.58 KiB) Viewed 4963 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:03 pm

Tagging Composite Glyphs

I sometimes want to recompose composite glyphs. Edit menu, Select Composites, Make Simple, Complete Composites is OK, but it is easy to lose the selection or one may want to exclude some composites from the process. Try this instead:

  1. Edit menu, Select Composites
  2. Tag them using one of the unused tags.
  3. Select the tagged glyphs using the Overview panel
  4. Work through the tagged glyphs, marking them as untagged when they have been fixed.

N.B. In FontCreator 10, the Tagging shortcuts (Ctrl+1 to Ctrl+5) now act as toggle keys.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:44 am

Exporting Web Fonts

My fonts typically have about 2,000 to 3,000 glyphs, with many symbols and dingbats. While the size of the fonts is not a problem for desktop publishing applications, on the web it would be a significant issue. Even without hinting, my Kabala Regular WOFF font is 277 Kbytes (2,369 glyphs). By removing the Symbols, Arrows, Enclosed Alphanumerics, and Dingbats that can be reduced to 153 Kbytes — still a lot, but the glyph coverage includes Latin Extended A, Latin Extended Additional for Vietnamese, Basic Greek, etc., (1,495 glyphs). By removing the GPOS kerning tables, the file size is reduced to 86 Kbytes, which is much more reasonable for the web.

To make this easy:

  1. Tag all of the glyphs that are not required for the Web
  2. Select the tagged glyphs using the Overview side panel and delete them
  3. Export the font to Web Font (WOFF) format
  4. Undo the deletion, or just close the project without saving it

Web Font Test Page using unhinted WOFF fonts.

Not in WOFF.png
Not in WOFF.png (97.77 KiB) Viewed 4916 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:28 pm

Editing Complex Glyphs

Note that FontCreator 10 can automate much of this work for you using the Optimize feature, which will reduce the number of nodes and remove off-curve extremes.

When editing complex glyphs with many contours, it sometimes helps to focus on one contour at a time to smooth curves and remove unwanted nodes. Using the mouse constantly leads to RSI so knowing how to get the most out of the keyboard shortcuts is helpful.

W and Q are the keyboard shortcuts for next and previous node in point mode, and next and previous contour in contour mode.

In points node, if nothing is currently selected, W will select the first node of the top contour in the stacking order (z-order), so to edit a contour it helps to bring it to the top of the stack first.

Stage One

In Contour Mode, select the contour that you wish to edit, zoom to selected, and bring it to the front using the icon on the Align Toolbar (you may have wonder what that was for, now you will learn how it can be used).

Bring to Front.png
Bring to Front.png (19.21 KiB) Viewed 4844 times


Stage Two

Switch to Point Mode to start editing the contour. Press W to select the first node, then Q and W to cycle around the nodes, moving the nodes with the Cursor keys: up/down and left/right, holding the Ctrl modifier to nudge them by 1 funit, or the Shift modifier to move them by 100 funits. The delete key removes an unwanted node. Now nothing is selected, so press the W key again to select the first node and continue editing.

Stage Three

If the contour has a large number of nodes, or is big, and you need to zoom in to work, you will need to change the first point. Right-click on any node to change it to the first point.

First Point.png
First Point.png (21.63 KiB) Viewed 4844 times


Stage Four

Using the W and Q keys in Contour Mode will select the previous or next contour, then zoom to selected to focus on the next contour to work on, or zoom out to select one with the mouse.

Complex Glyph.png
Complex Glyph.png (29.68 KiB) Viewed 4844 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:14 pm

Using A Background Image

I spend a lot of time smoothing glyphs to reduce the number of nodes. A nearly perfect circle can be created with just 12 nodes (create one with the ellipse tool to see), so only two off curve nodes are needed between two on-curve nodes for a smooth quadrant. After applying an italic transformation, and removing off-curve extremes with the validator, you will see many intermediate nodes that are not really necessary. Use the background image to take a snapshot of the current glyph's shape before you start removing nodes.

  1. Show the Background Image Toolbar (F9)
  2. Copy from current glyph
  3. Select a vivid colour like yellow for the colour
  4. Hide the Fill of outlines.
Now, after deleting all but the two off-curve nodes nearest to the on-curve nodes of a quadrant, you can simply move these two nodes until the curve fits the background image. Here's a screen shot from an italic figure eight. The background image toolbar can be hidden once you have copied the current glyph.

Background Image.png
Background Image.png (15.57 KiB) Viewed 4608 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:09 pm

Sorting Files on Loading

Here's a simple trick. I like to have all four fonts in a family arranged in a logical order Left to Right: Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic.

When opening projects, in the File Open dialogue, click on the Name heading twice to sort them in reverse order, like this.

Sort by Name Reverse.png
Sort by Name Reverse.png (11.69 KiB) Viewed 4523 times


Now select the four files and click on Open. They will open in this order on the Tab bar.

Sort by Name.png
Sort by Name.png (2.3 KiB) Viewed 4523 times


See this earlier tip on how to rearrange the tabs by closing and reopening FontCreator.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:56 pm

Using Localised Forms for Roman Numerals

My fonts contain a full set of Number Forms, which includes the Roman Numerals. They are mostly designed as ligatures, but unless someone knows that they are available, they won't ever get used, and even then, inserting them is troublesome. Numbered lists or page numbering that use Roman Numerals also won't use them. It was a puzzle, for which I had not found a satisfactory solution, until now.

I have added a LocalisedForms (locl) feature to substitute Roman Numerals.

It is important to arrange the Glyph Substitutions in the correct order:

Code: Select all

feature LocalisedForms locl {
    lookup LocalisedForms;
}  lookup LocalisedForms {
    sub I I I -> uni2162;
    sub I I -> uni2161;
    sub I V -> uni2163;
    sub I X -> uni2168;
    sub I -> uni2160;
    sub V I I I -> uni2167;
    sub V I I -> uni2166;
    sub V I -> uni2165;
    sub V -> uni2164;
    sub X -> uni2169;
    sub i i i -> uni2172;
    sub i i -> uni2171;
    sub i v -> uni2173;
    sub i x -> uni2178;
    sub i -> uni2170;
    sub v i i i -> uni2177;
    sub v i i -> uni2176;
    sub v i -> uni2175;
    sub v -> uni2174;
    sub x -> uni2179;


Edit: The script works better for higher roman numerals without the lines for XI, XII, xi and xii. xxii will be treated as x x ii instead of x xi i etc.

Comparison of Text and Number Forms in the Preview Toolbar

Roman Numerals.png
Roman Numerals.png (13.14 KiB) Viewed 4463 times
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Reason: Changed Historical Forms Feature to Localised Forms Feature
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:23 pm

Restoring Windows and Toolbars

After carefully arranging the toolbars where you want them, export the FontCreator Windows Registry key to keep a backup of the settings. The exact path will depend on the version. For FontCreator 9 it will be found here:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\High-Logic\FontCreator\9.0]

Keep a backup of your registry keys on external media too. If you need to reinstall FontCreator, run the registry file from Windows Explorer to add the settings back to the Windows registry.

Note that after the update to FontCreator 9.1, this registry key is unchanged.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 15, 2016 6:58 pm

The latest version of FontCreator makes this tip obsolete as validation errors are now shown in the Trouble-shooting category of the Overview Panel, but the tip is still useful for those with older versions.

Validation Issues.png
Validation Issues.png (13.08 KiB) Viewed 945 times


Saving Font Validation Results

A few users have requested that the Font Validation results window be made non-modal so that it can be referred to while correcting errors, but for the reasons stated in this post it is not practical to do that.

Here is a work-around for the problem:-

  1. After running the validation wizard, click on the "Save as Text ..." button. It doesn't matter much where you save it, as we're going to delete it very soon.
  2. Click on the button to save it again, which will open the file save dialogue in the same folder
  3. Select the previously saved file, right-click, and Edit it in Notepad (or whatever is your default text editor)
  4. Select all of the text, and copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl C)
  5. Close your text editor (Alt F4)
  6. Delete the previously saved file (press Delete)
  7. Cancel the save text file dialogue (Escape)
  8. Close the Font Validation Wizard (Escape)
  9. Open the User Notes Toolbar (Shortcut F2).
  10. Paste the clipboard contents (Ctrl V)
  11. Save your FontCreator project file (Ctrl S).
It may seem like a lot of steps, but it does not take long to do. You can now correct even a long list of validation errors that FontCreator was unable to fix automatically (usually Intersecting co-ordinates), deleting each error readout from the User Notes toolbar as you go.

Font Validation Report.png
Font Validation Report.png (96.6 KiB) Viewed 2429 times
User Notes.png
User Notes.png (40.41 KiB) Viewed 2429 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:56 pm

Installing to a Custom Folder

If, for some reason, you want to install FontCreator into a custom folder, that is not the one chosen by FontCreatorSetup.exe, you can use a command line to specify both the location of the installer and the destination folder where you wish to install FontCreator.

Replace <username> with your own Windows username in the string below, or if the installer is not in your Downloads folder, change that too.

Hold the Windows key to open the Windows Run command dialogue, and paste the appropriate command line to install FontCreator. As with all commands, the syntax has to be 100% correct or it will fail, or install to the wrong location.

Code: Select all

%UserProfile%\Downloads\FontCreatorSetup.exe /DIR="C:\Program Files (x86)\High-Logic FontCreator 10"


Run Command Dialogue.png
Run Command Dialogue.png (23.14 KiB) Viewed 2121 times
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to correct command line. "Paths with spaces" must be within quotes.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Alfred » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:00 pm

If you specify the path as

Code: Select all

%UserProfile%\Downloads\

(assuming that the installer is in your Downloads folder) Windows will replace the environment variable '%UserProfile%' with the correct folder path for the current user.
FC10.1 Pro (Help) + MT7.0 (Help) • Windows 10

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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:23 am

Checking for Errors

While scrolling through glyphs in the Glyph Edit Window using the Alt + Right/Left cursor keys to check for errors with alignment of accents, etc., you can also check for kerning errors.

  • On the Preview Toolbar, enable kerning
  • On the Comparison Toolbar, enable OpenType Layout Features

Here, I came across Ŵ circumflex, which was not kerned with A or a.

W Circumflex.png
W Circumflex.png (26.28 KiB) Viewed 910 times


By selecting the W and opening it in a new Glyph Edit Window, one can see that the Capital W is already kerned with both A and a.

W Capital.png
W Capital.png (23.13 KiB) Viewed 910 times


To fix this, I realised that I needed to add Ŵ circumflex to the Capital W kerning class.

  • Press Ctrl F8 to open the Visual OpenType Designer
  • Click on the icon at the top to open the Class Manager
  • Add Ŵ circumflex to the list of glyphs in the W_Caps Class
  • OK the Visual OpenType Designer dialogue to accept the changes,

W Circumflex Fixed.png
W Circumflex Fixed.png (25.66 KiB) Viewed 910 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:11 pm

Checking Kerning Pairs

Improvements in FontCreator 10.1 make it easier to identify kerning pairs that might need attention, but there is another feature that I only rediscovered recently.

Kerning Pair Drop List.png
Kerning Pair Drop List.png (30.71 KiB) Viewed 877 times


  1. Type a single character in the filter box at the top of the list of kerning pairs, taking care not to click the add or delete kerning pair green and red buttons just above it
  2. Select a kerning pair of interest
  3. Highlight the drop list for the first or second member of the kerning pair (there is no need to open it).
  4. Press the up and down cursor keys to scroll through the glyphs in the kerning class.
A kerning pair may be right for one glyph in the class, but wrong for another. Open the Class Manager from the top of the dialogue to edit the kerning classes, Make sure that you remove a glyph from one class before adding it to another to avoid "Class overlap" errors. These are shown as warnings in the Code Editor validator. They won't prevent your font from exporting, but they will flatten all kerning classes in the exported font.

OpenType Code Editor.png
OpenType Code Editor.png (32.41 KiB) Viewed 877 times


While comparing similar glyphs in this way, you may spot some other previously unnoticed errors like misaligned accents, or even differently shaped base glyphs where some have been updated, but others have not. The screen shot above highlights an error in the ff ligature. While creating the ligature, I moved the glyphs closer together by 150 funits, but forgot to edit the right side-bearing to compensate. The right quotation mark is therefore spaced too far away from the ff ligature, but is OK for the lowercase f.

There's another trick worth knowing for ensuring which glyph in a class is displayed in the list of kerning pairs. In the Class Manager, use the Up button to promote the glyph most likely to cause clashes with the other glyph in the pair to the top of the class. Although è acute comes before e double grave, I have promoted it so that it appears first. If that does not clash, then I can be confident that none of the other glyphs in the class will clash either. Autokern will use this first glyph to calculate adjustment pairs.

First in the Class.png
First in the Class.png (65.94 KiB) Viewed 862 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:26 am

Using Shortcuts to Speed Workflow

There are often requests for more shortcuts because when you do something repeatedly clicking buttons is slow and error-prone. It is too easy to delete a kerning pair by clicking the red button when trying to add a pair by clicking the green button.

To open the OpenType Designer Dialogue, Press the Ctrl F8 shortcut
This can be done from the glyph edit window or from the glyph overview.

With focus on the kerning pairs list,¹ press the Insert Key

This will bring up the dialogue to add kerning pairs.

Add Kerning Pair.gif
Add Kerning Pair.gif (106.84 KiB) Viewed 869 times


Press the tab key to switch focus to the list of second kerning pair members. Scroll up or down using the cursor keys. Notice how the OK button gets greyed out when a kerning pair already exists, and is only available to click if a pair does not exist.

Press shift tab to switch focus back to the list of first kerning pair members. Scroll down, Tab to the second list, and scroll again. With Insert, Tab, Up/Down, one can quickly find missing kerning pairs and add them to the lookup table.

To save changes click on OK. If you were just looking, or opened the dialogue in error, press Ctrl W to close it.

¹ Ctrl F8 with focus on the kerning pairs list will bring up the code editor.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:14 am

Scripts, Features, and Lookups
Scripts Features Lookups.png
Scripts Features Lookups.png (7.13 KiB) Viewed 813 times

In the OpenType Designer dialogue, there are three trees on the left, which may be expanded or collapsed. I found that I was spending a lot of time collapsing and expanding the script tree, and scrolling to find the feature or lookup that I wanted to edit. There is a better way to work.

Script Tree
One usually does not need to add scripts, so you can leave this tree collapsed.

Feature Tree
Features.png
Features.png (19.4 KiB) Viewed 813 times

The features are arranged in alphabetical order and cannot be rearranged. I expand this tree when I am exporting fonts as WOFF. Before exporting WOFF versions I delete a lot of glyphs, so some features need to be deleted. Features with empty lookups won't be exported anyway, so there's no need to delete those, but those like Character Variants, which have depleted lookup tables need to be deleted.

Lookup Tree
Lookups.png
Lookups.png (22.71 KiB) Viewed 813 times

The most frequently edited lookup is the pair adjustment for kerning pairs. I move this to the top of the tree, where it's most easily accessible and I leave this tree expanded. FontCreator remembers the previous state when restarted.

Note that lookups can be moved up or down in the tree by using the arrow buttons on the toolbar. The order of lookups is important. If, for example, Discretionary Ligatures is above Small Capitals, and if both features are enabled, the discretionary ligatures will take precedence over Small Capitals, which can leave documents looking Tacky.

Tacky.png
Tacky.png (5.16 KiB) Viewed 813 times


Give some careful thought about which features are most important and rearrange the order of the lookups accordingly. Please ask on this earlier thread if you have any questions about the best order for OpenType features.
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