Desktop operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) have traditionally used outline-based fonts (OpenType, TrueType, Type 1). Outline fonts can be scaled to any size but in very small sizes and low resolutions, they may not be very legible.
In bitmap fonts, the designer can control the precise positioning of each pixel, which is why bitmap fonts are popular on low-resolution devices such as portable communication devices, PDAs, mobile phones, LED displays, printers, ticketing machines, games etc.
Also, while outline fonts are limited to monochrome letterforms, bitmap fonts can use the full color palette and transparency. That is why bitmap fonts are widely used in computer games as well as in TV, film and motion graphics applications.
Due to the popularization of emoji, bitmap-based color fonts are now also supported on desktop platforms, mobile platforms and on the web.
BitFonter is a professional bitmap font editor for macOS and Windows.
With BitFonter, you can create and edit bitmap fonts for print publications, web pages, animations, computer games and electronic devices. You can also convert between bitmap font formats as well as from and to outline font formats, and apply special effects to your outline fonts when used together with FontLab 7, Fontographer or TypeTool.
BitFonter does not directly support Color OpenType fonts. However, you can create a color bitmap font in BitFonter, export it as Photofont PHF, then open the PHF in our FontLab 7 pro font editor or our TransType 4 font converter, and export the result as a color OpenType SVG, sbix or CBDT font.
Get the BitFonter PDF manual and watch our tutorial video on color font formats and see how to use BitFonter together with Photoshop, FontLab 7, TransType and FontLab Pad.
Automatically convert scanned images or digital photos into bitmap or outline fonts. BitFonter will automatically find character shapes on your image and separate them from the background, will find the baselines and will let you assign the image cells to glyphs (characters) per drag-and-drop.
To create an outline font, can use BitFonter’s sophisticated fine-tunable autotracing algorithm to turn your bitmap images into outlines. Turn on Tools > Options > Outline Font Editor, turn on Export outline font into VFB file, and choose Font > Export > Outline Font or Outline Pixelfont. This will export the outline font into the FontLab VFB format. Finally, open the VFB file in TransType, TypeTool, Fontographer or FontLab 7, and export as an OpenType PS (.otf) or OpenType TT (.ttf) font.
Create fonts in a variety of formats usable in printers and imaging devices, mobile electronic devices, phones and electronic displays. Convert between any of the supported bitmap font formats (universal as well as vendor-specific: Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Palm and Unix), optionally changing between color, grayscale and monochrome modes.
Create razor-sharp fonts that improve screen text legibility in small font sizes. BitFonter supports Unicode-compatible OpenType SBIT fonts with embedded bitmaps that work on older Microsoft Windows systems and on numerous portable electronic devices. Achieve the same crisp font quality in other apps by exporting your bitmap font as an Outline Pixelfont, where each pixel is represented as a small square, circle, or another geometric shape.
With BitFonter, you can remix, “scratch” and customize your existing OpenType or TrueType fonts using built-in bitmap operations such as blurring, softening, sharpening, embossing, adding noise or texture.
You can even apply sophisticated bitmap effects in Adobe Photoshop or any other image-editing application. Open a font in BitFonter, set Tools > Options > Export > Photofont > Put glyph data to Outside of font file, as one table image. Save as Photofont (.phf), then open the PNG file in Adobe Photoshop or any other image-editing application. Apply any bitmap effects, save the PNG, then in BitFonter close the font and re-open it — voilà! Your glyphs have now a new look.
Open the photofont in our free FontLab Pad app, type any text and copy-paste PNG, PDF or SVG into any app. Or use TransType 4 or FontLab 7 to convert the photofont into a Color OpenType font and use it in Adobe CC apps and Apple macOS apps.
BitFonter isn’t limited to black-and-white! With the Photofont intermediate format and the new Color OpenType font format extensions, you can create full-color fonts with transparency, and use them on the web and in print! Imagine computer letters with true calligraphic expression, visible brush strokes and paper structure — a new dimension in the field of typography.
To create Color OpenType fonts, export the font as Photofont PHF, then open the PHF file in TransType or FontLab VI, and export a Color OpenType font in the SVG, sbix or CBDT flavor. Finally, use the Color OpenType font in Adobe CC apps, web browsers or in our free FontLab Pad app!
You can also export a color bitmap font into a monochrome Outline Pixelfont: BitFonter will halftone your pixels using vector squares, circles, lines or luminance-based shapes, and export outline-based VFB font that you can open in FontLab VI, Fontographer or TypeTool to produce a final monochrome OpenType font that approximates your bitmap design with scalable outlines. To achieve this, turn on Tools > Options > Outline Font Editor, turn on Export outline font into VFB file, and choose Font > Export > Outline Font or Outline Pixelfont.
To learn more about color font formats and to see how to use BitFonter together with Photoshop, FontLab VI, TransType and FontLab Pad, watch our tutorial video!
Discover your creativity! Create fonts from photos, images of any kind. Break free from the traditional black-and-white lettering and make fonts from real calligraphic brush strokes, everyday objects, scanned historical documents or felt-pen doodles.
BitFonter has a set of powerful built-in image editing tools. You can draw with a brush or pencil, add rectangles and ellipses, fill, slant, rotate. You can convert between different color modes (from black-and-white through grayscale and 8-bit palette to 24-bit RGB color with alpha transparency). BitFonter has the same set of built-in image-editing filters as our pro FontLab VI font editor— Sharpen, Soften, Gaussian blur, Smart blur, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Colorize/Texturize, Remove background, and more.
You can also use other image apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Pixelmator or Paint Shop Pro to edit the bitmap glyphs, and then bring them into BitFonter, where you can set and refine the spacing and kerning of your bitmap font automatically or manually.
Create bitmap fonts for any script, alphabet or language. BitFonter ships with a multitude of codepage and encoding definitions and support the basic multilingual plane of the Unicode Standard, multiple Unicode codepoints per glyph, and fonts with up to 65,535 glyphs.
In order to assign non-BMP Unicode codepoints (e.g. to emoji), you need to use a font editor such as FontLab 7.
Drawing tools: Pencil, Eraser, Brush, Text tool, Line, Rectangle and Ellipse tool, Fill, Rotate, Marquee selection, freeform selection, magic wand selection. All tools can work in various color modes, from black/white through grayscale and 8-bit palette to 24-bit RGB color with alpha transparency.
Special tools: metrics editor, tools to extract characters from image.
Transformation: Scale, Slant, Rotate, Bold (for black-white fonts only).
Filters and effects: Change color depth, Resize, Merge fonts, Sharpen, Soften, Gaussian blur, Smart blur, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Colorize/Texturize, Remove background, Median noise, Custom filter and more.
Encoding: support for the Unicode basic multilingual plane, various codepages and encodings.
Opens: BitFonter 3 Document (.bfb), Photofont (.phf), TrueType-flavored OpenType SBIT font (.ttf with EBLC and EBDT tables), Adobe/Unix BDF font (.bdf, monochrome, grayscale and color), Windows Font Set (.fon), Adobe Binary Screen font (.abf), Windows Font (.fnt), X11 Font (.pcf), PalmOS Font (.pdb), IBM AFP bitmap Font Resource (.afp), HP PCL Soft Font (.sfp), BitFonter Font Project (.fnp), ScanFont 3 Document (.sfd), ScanFont 4 Document (.sf), FontLab Studio 5 Glyph Template (.dat), Encapsulated PostScript (.eps), PNG Image (.png), TIFF image (.tif), JPEG image (.jpg), GIF image (.gif).
Imports: Hinted rasterized bitmaps at any PPM/point size from any TTF font installed on the system (note: BitFonter may crash when you try to import bitmaps from an OTF font); Adobe Font Metrics (.afm).
Saves: BitFonter 3 Document (.bfb), Photofont (.phf), TrueType-flavored OpenType SBIT font (.ttf with EBLC and EBDT tables), Adobe/Unix BDF font (.bdf, monochrome, grayscale and color), Windows Font Set (.fon), Windows Font (.fnt), PalmOS Font (.pdb), IBM AFP bitmap Font Resource (.afp), HP PCL Soft Font (.sfp), BitFonter Font Project (.fnp), FontLab Studio 5 Glyph Template (.dat).
Exports: PNG Image (.png), TIFF image (.tif), Adobe Font Metrics (.afm), FontLab VFB (.vfb, with autotraced outlines or as pixelfont).
Windows: 32-bit app, works on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, 7, 8, 10.
Mac: This is the Windows version of BitFonter packaged using the Wine emulation layer. Works well on macOS 10.13 High Sierra–macOS 11 Big Sur, but it does not provide a “native Mac look & feel”. It does not work on macOS 12 Monterey.