Font Formats - FontLab VI Help (2023)

Table of Contents

  • Font Formats
    • Table of Formats
    • Source Font Formats
      • FontLab VI format (VFC)
      • FontLab VI JSON format (VFJ)
    • Final Font Formats
      • OpenType TT (TTF)
      • OpenType CFF (OTF)
      • Color Font Formats
      • Web Open Font Format (WOFF and WOFF2)
      • EOT
      • PostScript Type 1
      • OpenType SVG
    • Interchange font formats
      • FontLab Studio 5 (VFB)
      • Unified Font Object (UFO)
      • Extended Font Object (XFO)
      • PhotoFont (PHF)
      • Fontographer (FOG)
      • Glyphs (.glyphs)
    • Working with font files

Table of Formats»

Font FormatImportExportComments
OpenType TT (TTF)++
OpenType CFF (OTF)++
FontLab VI binary format (VFC)++
FontLab VI JSON format (VFJ)++
Glyphs fonts (.GLYPHS)+
Unified Font Object (UFO)++v2 is supported now
Compressed UFO (UFOZ)++
Extended Font Object (XFO)++
FontLab Studio 5 (VFB)++
Mac PostScript Type 1 (suitcases)+
Win PostScript Type 1 (PFB)++
Photofont (PHF)+
Embedded OpenType (EOT)++
OpenType SVG fonts (SVG)++
Web fonts (WOFF & WOFF2)++

Source Font Formats»

FontLab VI offers two native file formats for saving: VFC (binary) and VFJ (JSON based). Both can keep all elements used in the font design process. Saving in any other format is actually an export and is likely to lose some elements such as glyph notes, pins, element references, etc. VFC is faster, but VFJ is human-readable.

FontLab VI format (VFC)»

The VFC file format is only used in FontLab VI (and potentially by future FontLab apps). It is an extension to the FontLab Studio VFB format. You cannot install VFC files in Windows or macOS, but this format can retain all your font production elements. VFC for FontLab is like PSD for Adobe Photoshop. It is binary and optimized for fast reading and writing by the computer, to make working with it very quick.

The format is cross-platform-compatible so VFC files saved from the Windows version can be opened in the Mac version and vice versa. In addition, the format is designed with the potential to be largely upward (future) compatible.

FontLab VI JSON format (VFJ)»

This is a JSON-format FontLab VI native file. Where VFC is binary and optimized for speed, VFJ is a text-based representation that is both human-readable, and also potentially good for interchange with, or analysis by, other apps.

Final Font Formats»

The following list shows the font formats FontLab can export, with some considerations for their usage and advantages/disadvantages.

(Video) Open and export .glyphs files and other highlights from FontLab VI 6.1.4

Final Font Formats are those that can be installed or used directly in operating systems and browsers. Some data that is useful in development may be lost or simplified in final formats.

OpenType TT (TTF)»

Also known as: TrueType, Windows TrueType, TrueType-flavored OpenType, TTF

Pros: Works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. May contain up to 65,535 glyphs, supports Unicode and can contain OpenType Layout features.

Suitable for Western Roman fonts, non-Latin fonts, multilingual fonts and advanced typography. May include class kerning allowing for smaller kerning tables. TrueType hinting allows better/stronger control of rendering at small sizes on screen. Can also contain bitmaps, although few operating systems will use them. Can include embedding permissions information defining whether or not the font may be included inside electronic documents (such as PDF and ebooks). Preferred by web developers.

Cons: Does not work on Classic Mac OS (8/9). May cause output problems on earliest PostScript (1993 and earlier) output and printing devices. Designers usually start by converting the outlines from cubic Bézier curves to TrueType, which may introduce very slight changes in the shape. When converted back to Bézier curves (e.g. by drawing programs), the resulting curves often have superfluous points. Manual TrueType hinting is powerful, but labor-intensive. The advanced typography features only work with new OpenType-savvy applications. For font families, requires two versions of the name information within each font: a typographic family first may contain any number of styles; the second “brief family” used on older Windows applications may contain only four styles.

OpenType CFF (OTF)»

Also known as: OpenType-PS, PostScript-flavored OpenType, OTF

Pros: Works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X. Uses the same cubic Bézier curves as PostScript Type 1, which are largely preferred by designers and in drawing apps, so letterforms can be drawn precisely and outlines need not be converted. May contain up to 65,535 glyphs, supports Unicode and can contain OpenType Layout features.

Suitable for Western Roman fonts, non-Latin fonts, multilingual fonts and advanced typography. May include class kerning allowing for moderately-sized kerning tables. Uses Type 1 hinting that is relatively easy to create. Can include embedding rights information defining whether or not the font may be attached to electronic documents.

(Video) Font Formats

Cons: Type 1 hinting does not allow precise control in small screen sizes. Can theoretically contain bitmaps, but they are not displayed. Not all multilingual and advanced typography features work in all applications. As with OpenType TT, two alternative family naming schemes within each font must be devised: one where a family contains an arbitrary number of styles, and second “brief family” where one family does not contain more than four styles.

Color Font Formats»

Modern OpenType font formats support color outlines and/or bitmaps in glyphs. Different color formats have different capabilities and are supported in different places. Please see the Color Font Formats article for details.

Web Open Font Format (WOFF and WOFF2)»

Web Open Font Format (WOFF) is actually an OpenType or TrueType font with compression and some additional data for use on web pages. Its purpose is to support font distribution from a web server to a client browser over a network.

WOFF 2.0 (WOFF2), with reference code provided by Google, is an update with improved compression. WOFF 2.0 uses Brotli as the byte-level compression format, giving more than 30% reduction in file size.


The so-called Embedded OpenType (EOT) format was invented by Microsoft as a very early Web font format in the 1990s. Today, EOT files are mostly useful as Web fonts for older versions of Internet Explorer, which understand EOT but are not compatible with any other web font format.

Like other web font formats, EOT functions primarily as a way of packaging an existing font format, in this case usually TrueType (TTF). EOT packaging was originally a secret/proprietary encrypted format and included the ability to lock a file to only be viewable/useable on the web site it was intended for, but in trying to make it a generally useable web font format, Microsoft published the specification.

PostScript Type 1»

Also known as: Windows PostScript, PC PostScript, PC Type 1
File extension: .pfb + .pfm, with supplementary files .afm, .inf

NOTE: FontLab VI does not support:

(Video) How to make a multilingual FontLab font template

  • saving Mac suitcase-based Type 1 fonts (but can open them)
  • Type 1 Multiple Master fonts (opening or saving, whether Mac or Windows)
  • FontLab VI can, however, open a VFB or UFO representation of multiple master data

Pros: Works on Windows and Linux. Works on all PostScript output and printing devices. Uses the same curve system (cubic Bézier) as drawing applications such as Illustrator and Freehand, so letterforms are easy to edit when converted to curves. Type 1 hinting is comparatively easy to create and edit.

Cons: Does not work on Mac OS (it has its own distinct Mac-only flavor of Type 1), not cross-platform. Contains two parts, the outline file (.pfb) and the metrics font (.pfm), both of which must be in the same folder. Does not contain class kerning so kerning tables are large. Type 1 hinting does not allow precise control for very small screen sizes. Cannot include more than 256 encoded characters and lacks advanced layout features such as ligatures, making the format unsuitable for multilingual or non-Latin fonts. One family cannot contain more than four styles.

OpenType SVG»

OpenType SVG fonts are OpenType fonts that have glyph data in SVG format. This newer OpenType format variation allows for the inclusion of colors, gradients, and color bitmaps. OpenType SVG is supported in some recent apps, including Adobe Photoshop 2017, Mozilla Firefox, and also in the Microsoft Edge browser on Windows 10. These. Its primary purpose has been as a way of supporting color in a font.

NOTE: An “SVG font” (non OpenType) is a different format, an older way of wrapping SVG format graphics with minimal structure to work like a font. Support for SVG fonts has been increasingly removed from modern standards and browsers. FontLab does not export SVG fonts; they are mentioned here simply to clarify that they are a different thing from OpenType SVG fonts.

Interchange font formats»

Storage/interchange formats are those that are used by font editing apps, either as a main file format or for exchange with other font editors.

FontLab Studio 5 (VFB)»

The .vfb file format is the proprietary format in FontLab Studio 5. It is fully backwards-compatible, so FontLab VI can open any .vfb file created in FontLab 3.x and 4.x, or in FontLab Studio 5. The format is also cross-platform-compatible so .vfb files saved from the Windows version can be opened in the version for Mac OS X and vice versa. In addition, the format is largely upward-compatible. This means that a .vfb file exported by FontLab VI can be opened in FontLab 3.x, 4.x or 5.x, as well as other FontLab Ltd. products such as TransType or TypeTool.

FontLab VI imports and exports .vfb. However, it does not convert Variations back to FontLab Studio Multiple Master data. As MM imported into VI is upgraded into the Variations format, this means that MM cannot be easily round-tripped from 5 to VI and then back to 5.

Unified Font Object (UFO)»

UFO is an XML-based interchange format, and is the native format of some font tools.

(Video) Making Diacritics with Anchor Super Fast in Fontlab 8

FontLab VI can import UFO, and save as UFO. However, as UFO can not represent all features and concepts used in FontLab VI, some kinds of advanced data will be lost or converted when saving UFO, such as smart corners, nodes being genius or servant nodes, etc.

Extended Font Object (XFO)»

XFO is an extended version of UFO created as a lossless representation of FontLab native data. It has an XML-based structure like UFO, but it adds representation of all FontLab VI data, so nothing is lost when saving to XFO. Third party applications and utilities wanting to interoperate well with FontLab VI are encouraged to consider using XFO as their interchange format.

PhotoFont (PHF)»

PhotoFont format is Fontlab BitFonter’s font format for saving color bitmap fonts. The PhF font contains glyphs as a set of true color bitmap images. The PhF font may consist of one or several files: the main XML-based text file (which may also contain bitmap image data) and the bitmap image (or images) files containing actual glyph shapes referenced from the main file. I.e. the bitmap image data can be placed either in the main file or in separate files referenced by the main file.

PhotoFont format is now supported by BitFonter 3, TransType 4, Fontlab Pad and FontLab VI. It is not supported by any OS so PHF fonts cannot be installed directly. FontLab VI can import fonts in PhotoFont format.

Fontographer (FOG)»

Fontographer format is the proprietary format in Fontographer. FontLab VI can import fonts in FOG 4 and 5 format.

Glyphs (.glyphs)»

Glyphs format is the proprietary format of Glyphs 2. FontLab VI can import fonts in Glyphs format.

Working with font files»

To start working on a new font, use the File > New Font (CmdN) command. See the Creating a New Font section for details.

To open or import existing fonts in the source, final or interchange format, use the File > Open Fonts (CmdO) command. You can open several fonts at once. See the Opening an Existing Font section for details.

(Video) How to export in fontlab (Part 8)

To save your work in the source font formats (VFC and/or VFJ), use the File > Save (CmdS) or File > Save As (CmdShiftS) command. You can save several fonts at once if you select them in the Fonts panel. See the Saving a Font section for details.

To export fonts in the final font formats (OTF, TTF, WOFF, EOT, etc) or in the interchange format (VFB, UFO), use the File > Export Fonts (CmdE) command or File > Export Fonts As submenu. You can export several fonts at once if you select them in the Fonts panel. See the Exporting Fonts section for details.


What format does FontLab use? ›

FontLab deals with three main categories of files: Source (working) file formats: VFC, VFJ. Final font formats: TTF, OTF, PFB, WOFF, EOT.

How do I use FontLab font? ›

Setting up. Open FontLab, and go to File > New Font… or press Cmd N to create a new font. What you see now is the Font Window. The Font Window displays all the glyphs that are in your font.

How do I resize a font in FontLab? ›

Hold down the Shift key on the keyboard to scale proportionally. Hold down Alt to scale around the center handle. Hold down Ctrl to scale by 50%, 100%, 150% etc. Release the button when you are done.

How do I preview fonts in FontLab? ›

In FontLab VI, you can preview glyphs in three ways: the Preview Panel allows you to enter and format arbitrary text with many view options and features. Press the ` or ++Spacebar++ for a Quick Preview right in a Glyph window or use Space + Shift to toggle the glyph fill in the Glyph window to a dark/opaque True Fill.

How to format fonts? ›

Go to Format > Font > Font. + D to open the Font dialog box. Select the font and size you want to use.

Which formats are commonly used for fonts? ›

Four of the most commonly talked about font formats are PostScript, TrueType, OpenType, and Web Open Font Format.

What is FontLab used for? ›

Create, open, extend, test and export font families, variable OpenType fonts, color fonts and web fonts for any Unicode writing system.

How do I activate my font? ›

Add a font
  1. Download the font files. ...
  2. If the font files are zipped, unzip them by right-clicking the .zip folder and then clicking Extract. ...
  3. Right-click the fonts you want, and click Install.
  4. If you're prompted to allow the program to make changes to your computer, and if you trust the source of the font, click Yes.

How do I set my fonts? ›

Change the system font with built-in tools
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Display.
  3. Choose Font size and style.
  4. Select your choice of Font from the Font Style menu, and you're done.
Dec 15, 2022

How do I fix my font size? ›

To change your display in Windows, select Start > Settings > Accessibility > Text size. To make only the text on your screen larger, adjust the slider next to Text size. To make everything larger, including images and apps, select Display , and then choose an option from the drop-down menu next to Scale.

What's the best way to change font size? ›

Change Text Size with Zoom
  1. In Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS: To zoom bigger: "Ctrl" and "+" keys. To zoom smaller: "Ctrl" and "-" keys.
  2. Mac OS: To zoom bigger: "⌘" and "+" keys. To zoom smaller: "⌘" and "-" keys.

How do I change font size and style? ›

Change the font for all text using styles
  1. Click Format > Text Styles.
  2. In the Item to Change list, click All, then select the font, size, or color you want for all text in the current view. ...
  3. Repeat this process for other views.

How do I view different fonts? ›

In Windows 10 or 11, type Control Panel in the search field and select it from the results. With Control Panel in Icon View, click the Fonts icon. Windows displays all the installed fonts.

How do I inspect font type? ›

First, right-click on the webpage containing the font you want to find. From the resulting menu, select Inspect: If you'd rather use a keyboard shortcut, try Ctrl+Shift+I for Windows or Linux.

How do I edit kerning in FontLab? ›

To edit a kerning combination, click on the second class (or glyph) in the pair and then drag it closer or farther to the first class (or glyph). You can also do this by using the cursor keys ← for moving the glyphs closer and → for moving them farther.

What is the 3 font rule? ›

In general, you should only use a maximum of three fonts per design: the title, the subhead, and the body of the text. You get an exception if your design text is long.

What is the best font format? ›

Web Open Font Format 2 (WOFF2): WOFF2 is an update to the original WOFF format. Developed by Google, this is considered the best format of the bunch because it offers smaller file sizes and better performance for modern browsers that support it.

What are the two common types of fonts? ›

Typefaces can be divided into two main categories: serif and sans serif.

Is FontLab good? ›

Fontographer and FontLab

They are powerful enough to create robust, commercial-quality fonts and they run on OS X as well as on Windows. Using FontLab, you can fine-tune everything from OpenType features (advanced typographical features like small capitals) to manual TrueType hinting (for superb rendering on screen).

Is there a free version of FontLab? ›

With our free FontLab Pad, all these color fonts work everywhere — on all versions of macOS and Windows! FontLab Pad is our typesetting helper for color fonts. In fact, you can use FontLab Pad to typeset using any font, and then copy or export the result as PDF, SVG or PNG, and place it in your favorite app!

Why won t fonts work? ›

Easiest fix: Download and reinstall the correct version of the file, making sure the font is compatible with your operating system. Locate the font files on your system and remove any duplicates. If that doesn't work, use the font in a different app to see if the font works at all.

Why are my fonts not activating? ›

Check for network proxy or firewall issues

If your network proxy or firewall blocks access to any of the required network endpoints, Adobe Fonts will not work. Your computer needs to be able to reach these endpoints and download files from them. Here is a list of the required domains; port 443 also needs to be open.

Why is my font suddenly smaller? ›

1) Check the DPI scaling level to make sure the percentage didn't get reduced. 2) Check the screen resolution to make sure it's not set to high. 3) Check to see what the text size is currently set to, and increase as needed.

What is the size of font? ›

The font size or text size is how large the characters displayed on a screen or printed on a page are.

How do I increase print size? ›

On Android devices, you can adjust the font size, zoom the screen, and adjust the contrast level. To change the font size for Google Pixel phones and devices running plain Android, go to Settings > Accessibility > Text and display > Font Size and adjust the slider on the screen.

Does font size matter? ›

Having some weight on the page can rarely appear clunky, rather, larger font sizes can help page hierarchy and stimulate powerful emotions even more effectively too. Designing headlines larger also contributes to how a viewer perceives what's to come on the page, and if they should invest more time reading.

What is the default font size in browser? ›

The default text size in browsers is 16px. So, the default size of 1em is 16px.

What are the three steps in changing text font style? ›

Changing the Font Style
  1. If you have already started typing before changing the font style, select your text. Click on the Home tab.
  2. Look for the Font options.
  3. From the drop down menu select the font you want to use. ...
  4. In the drop down menu next to the font style, you can change the font size.
Sep 12, 2022

What is font style and font size? ›

FontItalic specifies whether the component's text should be italic or not. FontSize specifies whether the component's text is BIG or small, with the unit as points. FontTypeface specifies whether the component's text should be in 𝚍𝚒𝚏𝚏𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚗𝚝 fonts or not.

What is font style in Word? ›

Use font style, not type style, to refer to the formatting, such as bold, italic, or small caps, and font size, not type size, for the point size, such as 12 points or 14 points. When referring to bold formatting, use bold, not bolded, boldface, or boldfaced.

How do I import SVG into FontLab? ›

To import artwork into FontLab, open a Glyph window or Sketchboard and choose File > Import > Artwork . Select the file you want to import in the open dialog. Use the dropdown menu with the list of different image formats to filter image files.

How do I export a font from FontLab? ›

To use or test your font in other apps, you must export it to one of the formats supported by apps and operating systems. To export a font, use the File > Export Fonts or Export Fonts As commands; this will bring up the Export dialog box.

What is the ISO standard for fonts? ›

Introduction. ISO/IEC 9541 is a font information interchange standard and is designed to be independent of any concrete font file format. The Open Font Format (ISO/IEC 14496-22) is a font file format specification that is based on the TrueType font file format.

What is the free alternative to FontLab studio? ›

  • FontForge. Free • Open Source. Font Editor. ...
  • FontCreator. Paid • Proprietary. Font Editor. ...
  • BirdFont. Freemium • Open Source. Font Editor. ...
  • Glyphs. Paid • Proprietary. Font Editor. ...
  • FontStruct. Free • Proprietary. Font Editor. ...
  • Glyphr Studio. Free • Open Source. Font Editor. ...
  • Freemium • Proprietary. ...
  • FontLab. Paid • Proprietary.
Nov 14, 2022

What fonts are supported in SVG? ›

List of available fonts
font-familyfont-stylesCharacter sets
KinnariRegular, Italic, Oblique, Bold, Bold Italic, Bold ObliqueLatin, Thai
LaksamanRegular, Bold, Italic, Bold ItalicLatin, Thai, Math
LateefRegularLatin, Arabic
Liberation MonoBold, Bold Italic, Italic, RegularLatin, Greek, Cyrillic, Math
137 more rows

How do I convert a text File to SVG? ›

How to convert Text to SVG
  1. Open free Text website and choose Convert application.
  2. Click inside the file drop area to upload or drag & drop files.
  3. Click on Convert button. Files will be uploaded and converted.
  4. You can also send a link to the file to your email address.

How to convert SVG into image? ›

How to convert SVG to PNG
  1. Open Canva. Launch Canva from your mobile app or desktop browser to start your SVG to PNG conversion.
  2. Upload your SVG image. Upload your SVG file on the editor by selecting it from your device or dragging and dropping it onto the page. ...
  3. Edit your file. ...
  4. Convert SVG to PNG. ...
  5. Share your PNG image.

How do I Import my own font? ›

Add a font
  1. Download the font files. ...
  2. If the font files are zipped, unzip them by right-clicking the .zip folder and then clicking Extract. ...
  3. Right-click the fonts you want, and click Install.
  4. If you're prompted to allow the program to make changes to your computer, and if you trust the source of the font, click Yes.

How do I save a font in TTF in FontLab? ›

If the file was not already a . vfc file and you select the File > Save Font command, FontLab will present the “Save Font As” standard dialog. If you are working with a new font or you want to select the destination folder or change the name of the file, use the File > Save Font As ( Cmd Shift S ) command.

How do I create a Unicode in FontLab? ›

To generate Unicode codepoints for all glyphs in the font, choose Edit > Select All in the Font window, then Font > Generate Unicodes .

What are the standard 14 fonts? ›

Base-14 Fonts
  • Courier.
  • Courier Bold.
  • Courier Oblique.
  • Courier Bold-Oblique.
  • Helvetica.
  • Helvetica Bold.
  • Helvetica Oblique.
  • Helvetica Bold-Oblique.

What is the ideal readable font size? ›

Optimal font sizes for desktop

Body text - Font sizes should be around 16px to 18px for legibility (or 1.6rem to 1.8rem using our sizing rules mentioned above). If you can afford to go a bit larger, then even 21px can be pleasant to read.

What is standard code font? ›

We use monospace fonts to keep code aligned. Courier is just one of many monospace fonts. They are also called fixed-width fonts.

Is there a free font maker? ›

If you want to create a custom font for your website, Fontstruct is one of the best options that allow you to do so entirely for free. Once you create your font, you can download it as a TrueType file and use it anywhere — including your website.

Is there a free font maker app? ›

FontForge is a free and open source font editor brought to you by a community of fellow type lovers.


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