Tip of the Day

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Tip of the Day

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:54 pm

As this thread is getting rather long, I have added a Table of Contents

The topic has been updated for FontCreator 12 by removing some tips that are now obsolete.
  1. Working in Clean Screen Mode
  2. To Quickly Remove Guidelines
  3. Adjusting Geometric Centre
  4. Designing Ligatures
  5. Skewing Contours
  6. Making a Smooth Bracket
  7. Making Stencil Fonts
  8. Changing Straight Lines to Curves
  9. Copy/Paste to Create Composites
  10. Arranging Toolbars
  11. Renaming Tags
  12. Optical Metrics for Superscripts or Petite Capitals
  13. Tagging Composite Glyphs
  14. Exporting Web Fonts
  15. Editing Complex Glyphs
  16. Using A Background Image
  17. Sorting Files on Loading
  18. Restoring Windows and Toolbars
  19. Saving Font Validation Results
  20. Installing to a Custom Folder
  21. Checking for Errors
  22. Checking Kerning Pairs
  23. Using Shortcuts to Speed Workflow
  24. Scripts, Features, and Lookups
  25. Alternate and Winding Fill
  26. Trimming Kerning Pairs
  27. Adjusting the Accent Position
  28. Aligning Accents Using Guidelines
  29. Tagging Multiple Glyphs in Several Fonts
  30. Autokerning Large Fonts
  31. Finding Glyphs in Large Fonts
  32. Creating an All Caps Font
  33. Adding Programs to the Launch Externals Submenu
  34. Using the Preview Toolbar to Aid Kerning
  35. Using Access Keys
  36. Permalinks in Forum Update
  37. Overriding Automatic Glyph Naming
  38. Kerning of Scottish Names
Working in Clean Screen Mode

In the Glyph Edit Window you can press "H" to hide the screen clutter, but did you know that by pressing "Alter H" you can hide it and keep it hidden?

Image

When you want to focus just on the shapes of the glyphs it helps to hide the guidelines, etc.
  • Hide the floating toolbars
  • Turn off automatic glyph validation to speed up scrolling
  • Display the Status line (F4)
  • Hide the screen clutter (Alter H).
  • Click back in the window to hide the menu
  • You can still select contours with the shortcut keys or mouse. The status line shows the position should you need it.
  • Scroll through the glyphs with Alter left and right
Do you have any more simple tips?
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat May 26, 2007 11:03 am

To Quickly Remove Guidelines:

Double-click on the ruler and clear all, or select individual guidelines and click on delete.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:24 am

Adjusting Geometric Centre

When FontCreator completes composites it aligns diacritics on the horizontal geometric centre of a glyph. The circumflex accent will be centred on the Capital E, for example. Acute accent is offset to the right so that its one third point is centred on the base glyph, while grave accent is offset to the left.

On some glyphs, like the capital E illustrated below, this looks off centre because the visual centre is a long way from the geometric centre.

Image
Single Node Contour.png
Single Node Contour.png (213 Bytes) Viewed 21216 times
To adjust the geometric centre of the capital E so that it aligns with its visual centre one can add a single node contour. (Single node, or two node contours won't print. We can use them at the design stage and remove them later by using the font validation wizard). Insert a rectangle from the Drawing toolbar, select three nodes and delete them to leave a single node contour.

Image

Move the single node contour until the geometric centre aligns with the visual centre. You can see where the geometric centre is from the middle handles when all contours are selected. Drag a vertical guideline to where you think the visual centre should be. This is best done with no bearing lines in view to distract you.

Now, when you use Complete Composites, the accents will be aligned optically rather than geometrically, and all other accents over or under the Capital E will be correctly aligned too, because the geometric centre has moved. One can also move the geometric centre of accents in exactly the same way by adding a single node contour.

Image     Image
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:56 am

Designing Ligatures

Select the ligatures in the glyph overview and press shortcut "P" to show them in the Preview Toolbar. Type a few letters to make words and repeat the whole words after the ligatures. Resize the Preview Toolbar so that pairs of words line up like this:

Image

Now, you can easily see if the spacing and kerning are right, and if the design works aesthetically or not in a line of text.

Here is the same text with Pali Italic.

Image

You can tell at once that I forgot to adjust the right side-bearings on the Qu ligature after moving the "u" to join the "Q," and in the fi after moving the i to join the f.

The contour joining the st and ct is too heavy. It should be more like the contour joining the ck.

The sp ligature uses the "p" and "s" from the regular type style, not the italic typestyle :oops: Oh well! Back to the drawing board. :(

After Making a Few Corrections

Image
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:01 pm

Skewing Contours

Sometimes you don't know the precise angle to use in the Glyph Transform wizard, or the amount of skew to use on the Transform Toolbar. The easiest method is to use the skew handles. Select a contour or several contours with marquee or shift select, and click the selection again to get the skew and rotate handles when you mouse over the selection handles. Carefully grab the skew handle and skew the selection as you wish.

Image

After skewing glyphs you will see some off-curve extreme points highlighted by the validation toolbar.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:16 pm

Making a Smooth Bracket

Delete any excess nodes at the bracket, leaving only three on-curve nodes, or add an on-curve node if needed. Drag the middle node of the three horizontally in line with the third node until the first node shows as red. The red nodes indicate that an on-curve node is redundant because it is in a straight line with another on-curve node.

Image

Press the "F" shortcut to convert the middle node to an off-curve node.

Image

Now the Validation Toolbar shows a different error — the off-curve node is an off-curve extreme. Click the "Add on-curve extremes" button on the validation toolbar to correct this problem.

Image

The result is a smoothly curving bracket.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:05 am

Making Stencil Fonts

Stage 1
Draw a rectangle, select all and centre align middle.

Image

Stage 2

Image

Stage 3
Drag select with the mouse to select the three offcuts, and press delete.
Image

Stage 4
The end result.

Image
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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:48 am

Changing Straight Lines to Curves

In the latest version of FontCreator one can simply drag the centre of the line, but one will still have to fix off-curve extremes, so this method is still useful to know.
  • First add a node between the start and end of the line with the shortcut "a"
  • Convert this on-curve node to an off-curve node with the shortcut "f"
  • Select one or more nodes with marquee select (dragging with the mouse), or with the Lasso tool
  • Drag all of the selected nodes with the mouse to reshape the curve or curves together. Hold the shift key while dragging to restrain the movement to horizontal or vertical.
  • Use the keyboard cursor keys to move the nodes a precise distance: up/down/left/right to move by 10 funits. Hold down the Ctrl key to move by 1 funit, or the Shift key to move by 100 funits
Image
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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:29 am

Copy/Paste to Create Composites

If you have the Professional Edition, Complete Composites can be used to create many composites, for example to create subscripts from superscripts. However, if the glyphs are not mapped, for example, if you want to create denominators in the Private Use Area from superscripts, or if you're using the Home Edition, then Complete Composites won't be an option.

However, composite glyphs can be created by selecting the glyph members in the glyph overview, copying them to the clipboard, then pasting them into the empty glyph where you wish to create the composite glyph.

To speed up the process of creating all ten denominators from the ten superscripts, copy them all at once, paste them all into the target glyph, then delete those you don't need.

Step One
Select all ten superscript glyphs in the glyph overview using Shift + Click, and Ctrl + Click. They will probably be in the order: 2,3,1,0,4,6,7,8,9 if the font is sorted in the standard order.

Step Two
Insert ten empty glyphs at the end of the font. Denominators intended for use with OpenType Features don't need to be mapped. Or, you can map them to code-points in the Private Use Area.

Open the first empty glyph and paste the ten superscripts from the clipboard. You will see a confused mess of glyphs like this:
Pasted Composite Glyph Members.png
Pasted Composite Glyph Members.png (10.66 KiB) Viewed 15718 times
Step Three

To select the superscript zero cycle through the composite glyph members using the "w" shortcut key — the zero, which is the fourth on the clipboard will be selected with three presses of the shortcut key. Holding shift, press the down cursor about five times to separate the selected glyph from the group. If you get the wrong one at first, try again until the target glyph is separated from the group and in the right position on the baseline like this:
Target Glyph Member.png
Target Glyph Member.png (13.53 KiB) Viewed 15718 times
Step Four

Use the shortcut key "Ctrl T" to invert the selection to get this:
Invert Selection.png
Invert Selection.png (13.76 KiB) Viewed 15718 times
Press the delete key to delete the selected glyphs, and use the shortcut Alt Right cursor to move to the next glyph. Paste the clipboard contents again (Ctrl V), and repeat the process for the next denominator.

Using composites instead of simple glyphs reduces the size of the TrueType font file and makes the font easier to edit. If you later decide that the superscripts need to be bolder, for example, you only need to edit the superscripts, for the subscripts and denominators to be updated too.

Update: If a large numbers of glyphs are pasted, disable Automatic validation, and hide the Glyph Fills (shortcut Ctrl H in FontCreator 9.0.0.1916). Fill Outlines is a global setting that affects all Glyph Edit Windows.
Hide Fills.png
Hide Fills.png (13.24 KiB) Viewed 10858 times
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Copy/Paste to Create Composites

Post by Dave Crosby » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:53 pm

Cool! THANKS!
Aut nunc aut nunquam

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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:32 pm

Arranging Toolbars

Maximise working space by arranging undocked toolbars over the otherwise unused FontCreator Window Title Bar to the right of the Help Menu.

Drag the toolbars to the position shown by grabbing the bottom of the toolbar’s title to undock any docked toolbar leaving its title bar just outside of the monitor. This is much easier to do without a font loaded, or with a category selected that contains only a few glyphs — then the Font Overview will not need to be redrawn when toolbars are moved.

On a 1920 x 1080 monitor, the Grid, Align, Glyph, and Overview toolbars will fit on one row with a few pixels to spare. Floating Toolbars like the Transform Toolbar can be moved up into any free space on the Tab Bar.
Rearranging Toolbars.png
Rearranging Toolbars.png (35.91 KiB) Viewed 1373 times
After arranging the toolbars as you want them, right-click on any toolbar to lock the docked toolbars. The undocked toolbars will also be locked wherever you have positioned them, but they can redocked by double-clicking on their title bar.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:43 pm

Renaming Tags
Tags.png
Tags.png (3.95 KiB) Viewed 12696 times
The five tags used in the glyph overview panel can be renamed:
  1. From the Tools menu, open the Options dialogue
  2. On the Advanced tab, click on “Copy Data Files to User Data Folder”
  3. Then click on “Open User Data Folder”
  4. Open “tags.txt” in Notepad and edit each name to whatever you want, like the code shown below
  5. Save the file, and restart FontCreator to see the changes

Code: Select all

;This file allows you to modify the names of the tag categories
;Type an Ampersand before the letter that you wish to use as an access key
;Restart FontCreator after modifying this file in order see the changes

[tags]
;Red
1=&To Do
;Orange
2=&Recently Added
;Green
3=&Done
;Fuchsia
4=&Colour
;Blue
5=Not in &WOFF
The Tags submenu will now look like this:
Tags Submenu.png
Tags Submenu.png (1.83 KiB) Viewed 1021 times
In FontCreator 7.5, “tags.txt” is in the FontCreator installation folder in C:\Program Files (x86)\. You can still edit it, but you will need Admin permissions to modify it.
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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by 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 10141 times
Petite Capitals Optical Metrics.png
Petite Capitals Optical Metrics.png (20.58 KiB) Viewed 10143 times
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Re: Tip of the Day

Post by 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

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

Exporting Web Fonts

In FontCreator 12, this can be automated by using the new Include in Exports Feature
Include in Exports.png
Include in Exports.png (6.62 KiB) Viewed 1368 times
Any glyphs that are marked (d) for Include in Export to Desktop (otf/ttf) will be excluded when exporting fonts for the Web (woff). I still need OpenType versions of the smaller fonts. This tip may still be useful to users of earlier versions of FontCreator.

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.
Not in WOFF.png
Not in WOFF.png (97.77 KiB) Viewed 10092 times
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