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Quick Start Tutorial

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:45 am
by Erwin Denissen
This short introduction explains how to generate a font with Scanahand. Besides a computer running Microsoft Windows you will need a printer, a scanner, and a black marker or felt-tipped pen.

First download and install the software. Download Scanahand here:

When you start Scanahand, you'll see a welcome dialog. To continue, click on the "Use Evaluation Version" button.

Step 1 - Print and fill out the empty template

To print the empty template, just click the Print button as shown below. A Print Setup dialog is shown. Most likely the correct printer is already selected, so just press the Ok button.


Take the printed template from the printer, and fill it out. Use a suitable pen (e.g. a black permanent marker of fine or medium thickness) to draw the characters the way that you normally write. The output of ballpoint pens will be too thin to give a satisfactory result. Make sure you draw your characters into the designated cells and ensure you don't touch the grid lines while drawing the characters.

All cells (except the signature cell) contain horizontal guidelines (actually four little marks on both left and right side of each cell) that should help you write the characters in the right dimensions, and in the best possible position in each cell. These guidelines, represent the cap height (C), x-height (x), the baseline (b), and the descender (d). The image below illustrates how to get the best results.


In the first row the characters are drawn with the recommended size and position. As you can see, most characters are placed on the baseline. The small letter "g" goes below the baseline. Capital letters and digits have the same size. Try not to draw your characters as shown in the second row. The capital letter "A" is positioned on the descender, the small letter "a" is too large, the small letter "e" has exaggerated connecting strokes, the small letter "f" is too small, the small letter "g" goes outside the cell, small letter "s" is drawn with a large-tip marker, and digit "8" is too small.


Step 2 - Scan in the completed template

When you've drawn all characters, put the template as straight as possible on the scanner bed.

Click on the "Completed Template" icon on the left, and then press the Scan button. A Scan Setup dialog is shown. Ensure the correct scanner is selected. A 300 dpi scan resolution is recommended, but if your characters contain little details (e.g. thin strokes) you should use a higher resolution. Press the Ok button to start the scan process. Click on the "Rotate 180 Degrees" toolbar button if you accidentally placed the filled-in template into the scanner, upside-down.


Step 3 - Generate and install the font

Click on the "Font" icon on the left, and then press the Generate button.

On the Font Setup dialog, fill in the Name and Copyright fields. The Name field is very important, as that name will appear as the font name in all applications. Don't change the conversion settings, as those are set to recommended values (Auto and Smooth). Press the Ok button.


Below you'll see how to select the font, named Quick Start, through Microsoft Word's font menu.


Finally press the Generate button. Just accept the default settings on the Font Generate Setup dialog, and then press the Ok button.

During the font generation process, Scanahand detects the template, and places the characters into your font. Upon completion, you instantly get to preview your finished font.

Finished Font


Finally click the Install button to make the font available to all applications (Microsoft Word, etc.) on your computer.