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FontForge icon.svg
FontForge as of September 12th, 2014.png
FontForge running under Xubuntu 14.04
Developer(s) George Williams
Stable release 20141126[1] / November 26, 2014; 60 days ago (2014-11-26)
Development status Active
Written in C
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Font editor
License BSD license (Free software)

FontForge (known until March 2004 as PfaEdit)[2][3] is a full-featured font editor which supports all common font formats. Developed primarily by George Williams until 2012, FontForge is free software and is distributed under the 3-clause BSD license.[4] It is available for several operating systems (including Linux, Windows[5] and Mac OS X[6]) and is localized into 12 languages.


FontForge is “an extremely powerful software system offering practically all the features of FontLab, together with some unique and often revolutionary features of its own.”[3]

To facilitate automated format conversion and other repetitive tasks, Fontforge implements two scripting languages: its own language and Python.[7] FontForge can run scripts from its GUI, from the command line, and also offers its features as a Python module so it can be integrated into any Python program.[8]

Fontforge supports Adobe's OpenType feature file specification (with its own extensions to the syntax).[9] It also supports the unofficial Microsoft mathematical typesetting extensions (MATH table)[10] introduced for Cambria Math and supported by Office 2007, XeTeX and LuaTeX. At least one free OpenType mathematical font has been developed in FontForge (see below).

FontForge uses FreeType for rendering fonts on screen.[11] Since the November 15, 2008 release, FontForge uses libcairo and libpango software libraries for graphics and text rendering[12] providing anti-aliased graphics and complex text layout support.

FontForge can use Potrace or AutoTrace to auto trace bitmap images and import them into a font.

Parts of FontForge code are used by the LuaTeX typesetting engine for reading and parsing OpenType fonts.[13]

The FontForge source code includes a number of utility programs in the 'fonttools' directory, including 'showttf' which shows the contents of binary font files, and a WOFF converter and deconverter.

Supported formats[edit]

FontForge supports a wide variety of font formats.[14] Its native Spline Font Database format (.sfd file name extension) is text-based[15] and facilitates collaboration between designers, as difference files can be easily created. FontForge also supports the interoperable UFO source format, which is based on XML.

The software supports many other font formats and converts fonts from one format to another. Supported font formats include: TrueType (TTF), TrueType Collection (TTC), OpenType (OTF), PostScript Type 1, TeX Bitmap Fonts, X11 OTB bitmap (only sfnt), Glyph Bitmap Distribution Format (BDF), FON (Windows), FNT (Windows), and Web Open Font Format (WOFF). FontForge also imports and exports fonts to and from the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format and the Unified Font Object (UFO) format.

Free fonts developed with FontForge[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Releases · fontforge/fontforge · GitHub". GitHub. frank-trampe. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  2. ^ "The history of the development of FontForge". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  3. ^ a b Yannis Haralambous (3 October 2007). Fonts & Encodings (1 ed.). O'Reilly Media, Inc. pp. 444, 988. ISBN 978-0-596-10242-5. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  4. ^ FontForge main page, license
  5. ^ Gurdy Leete; Mary Leete (12 June 2007). Microsoft Expression Blend Bible. John Wiley & Sons. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-470-05503-8. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  6. ^ James, Daniel (2009-12-04). Crafting Digital Media: Audacity, Blender, Drupal, GIMP, Scribus, and other Open Source Tools (1 ed.). Berkeley, CA: Apress. p. 114. ISBN 1430218878. 
  7. ^ "Writing scripts to change fonts in FontForge". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  8. ^ "Writing python scripts to change fonts in FontForge". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  9. ^ "FontForge's implementation of Adobe's Feature File syntax". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  10. ^ "MATH typesetting information". 2007-08-04. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  11. ^ "Building FontForge from source". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  12. ^ "Change log for FontForge". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  13. ^ "LuaTeX — Taco Hoekwater, July 24, TUG 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  14. ^ Lunde, Ken (2009-01-13). CJKV Information Processing. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. p. 447. ISBN 9780596514471. 
  15. ^ "Spline Font Database File Format". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  16. ^ "Natanael Gama's homepage" (Website). Retrieved 2012-06-09. 

External links[edit]