FontLab Studio 5

Note: We are not planning any further updates to FontLab Studio 5.
FontLab VI is our future-proof replacement for FontLab Studio 5.

FontLab Studio 5 for Mac does not support Retina, and works well only in Mac OS X 10.12 and older.
It has problems in macOS 10.13 and 10.14. It will most likely not run in macOS 10.15 (expected fall 2019).
FontLab Studio 5 for Windows works fine on Windows 10 but we cannot guarantee that the app will work on future Windows versions.

Images courtesy of Łukasz Dziedzic, Gary Munch, Jeremy Tankard and CanadaType.

FontLab Studio 5
The Industry-Standard Font Creation And Editing Tool

FontLab Studio 5 is our classic font editor for macOS and Windows. It has been used by Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Monotype, Morisawa and almost every other major font foundry in the world. It is the comprehensive solution for font foundries, professional type designers, typographers and graphic design studios, allowing them to design typefaces and create or modify fonts.

FontLab Studio 5 offers a complete integrated workflow for font creation, from font family management, through multilingual glyph design and spacing and kerning, all the way to automatic and manual hinting and Python scripting.

Note: We are not planning any further updates to FontLab Studio 5. FontLab VI is our future-proof replacement for FontLab Studio 5.

Professional glyph drawing

Draw from scratch or turn your scans into perfect outlines

Comfortable Bézier creation

Many designers say that FontLab Studio 5 is their favorite Bézier drawing tool ever. A powerful combination of the Pen, Rectangle, Ellipse, Knife and Eraser tools allows you to create precise Bézier curves. With numeric and freeform Transformations, both manual and font-wide, you can quickly adjust your glyphs to match your design.

Watch tutorial video on Bézier drawing.

Import bitmaps or vectors, trace and clean up

Copy-paste vectors from Adobe Illustrator or import EPS outline artwork. Import monochrome images and use them as reference, or automatically Trace them into Bézier contours, specifically optimized for type design. Clean up, Optimize, correct and simplify your contours with a variety of smart algorithms for perfect quality.

Better curves with FontAudit

Easily spot odd points and suspicious curves with FontAudit, our live outline custodian that will visually show you errors and possible issues in your glyphs, and sometimes even automatically fix them. Use FontAudit to find those lines that are just off of vertical, missing extrema points, and tangent curves that aren’t quite smooth.

Watch tutorial video on better curves.

In-context design: Shape groups & Neighbors

FontLab Studio 5 dynamically displays the glyphs relevant to the one you’re working on, with Shape groups, a semi-transparent glyph cloud stacked behind the current outline, and Neighbors, glyphs left and right of your glyph.This way, you can quickly switch between related lettershapes and design them in a coordinated fashion.

“FontLab Studio 5 transformed my font design experience. It is my favorite drawing program — often used to produce pieces for needed graphics. I love the drawing GUI.”

Professional spacing and kerning

Automatic and class-based metrics and kerning

Metrics Window

The powerful Metrics Window is a multiline text editor that allows you to comfortably test, space and kern your font. Set the left and right sidebearing and the advance width in the Metrics mode, and kern in the Kerning mode. The table on the right and the panel on the bottom give you detailed numeric control over your metrics and kerning.

Watch tutorial video on spacing.

Class-based metrics and kerning

Automatically or manually groups your glyphs by similar shape to create Classes. Quickly copy sidebearings or widths from one glyph to all related glyphs with Class-based Metrics Assistance. With class-based Kerning, kern a glyph against a class of glyphs, or entire classes against each other. Less work, more efficient fonts, and more fun!

Font families and multilingual fonts

Multiple master, Unicode, OpenType

Multiple master and interpolation

FontLab Studio 5 supports Multiple master font design. With up to 3 design axes and 16 masters, you can create extensive font families that vary in weight, width or other aspects. The advanced Blend algorithm helps you turn standalone fonts into interpolable font families. With FontLab’s point-compatible PostScript-to-TrueType curve conversion, you can easily prepare your family for conversion into OpenType Variable fonts. Extrapolation helps you create a black or a light style from a regular and a bold.

Watch tutorial video on Multiple Master.

No language barriers with Unicode

FontLab Studio 5 supports encoding of any Unicode character. The app has detailed data for all of Unicode 6, and allows you to add glyphs for all Unicode 10 codepoints (including those beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane). It also supports Unicode Private Use Area codepoints, unencoded glyphs, and OpenType glyph variants.

Components and diacritics

With Components, you can create your base letters and diacritic accents once and assemble accented characters by attaching the components. FontLab Studio 5 maintains a live link: one change in the design is reflected in all the composite characters. The app can smartly auto-generate over 2,500 accented characters from your components.

Watch tutorial video on Latin diacritic design.

Advanced typography with OpenType Layout

Add advanced typographic OpenType Layout features such as small caps or ligatures with the industry-standard Adobe FEA syntax. The OpenType Preview allows you to see the effect of features, including how they interact.

Watch tutorial video on OpenType features

Industry-standard font production

PostScript and TrueType Hinting, Python

PostScript Hinting

Have FontLab Studio automatically set vertical alignment zones and glyph-level hints for optimized screen legibility in small sizes. Or take complete manual control. Use FontLab’s automatic hinting at any stage, and choose when and where to tweak by hand. The built-in system and FreeType rasterizer preview shows you exactly what your final font will look like on screen.

TrueType Hinting

With FontLab Studio 5’s integrated visual TrueType Hinting workflow, you can get pixel-perfect screen rendering in all Microsoft Windows apps. Set your PostScript hints and alignment zones, and have FontLab automatically generate TrueType Hinting commands, that will guarantee uniform text rendering. You can also manually hand-hint some or all your glyphs for absolute control over every pixel at every screen font size!

Watch tutorial video on TrueType Hinting.

Macro scripting via Python

FontLab Studio 5 has massive support for Python, the standard programming language for font work. Almost anything you can do in FontLab Studio is accessible to Python programming. Not a programmer? That’s okay! There are dozens of free third-party Python scripts for FontLab available from many sources. There are even third-party macro plug-ins with a full user interface, such as the Font Remix Tools.

Video on FontLab Python scripting.
“For me, it makes sense to keep everything in one application from early design stages through to kerning, hinting and final mastering. Each typeface I design is different with different challenges, FontLab Studio handles these with ease, all I have to bring to it are my eyes and determination for what I want.

FontLab Studio 5 is massively powerful and can be daunting, yet I use it quite simply. I like to take my time over each stage of a type’s development. FontLab Studio lets me do things my way and doesn’t force me to work a certain way or change the way I prefer to work. It’s brilliant at doing its job.”

FontLab Studio 5 Summary

  • Drawing tools: Pen, Pencil, Brush, Sketch, Ellipse, Rectangle, Line, Polygon
  • Editing tools: Knife, Guides, Meter, mirror, rotate, overlap operations
  • Components for accented and composite characters
  • View: FontAudit, Mask & Bitmap layers
  • Actions: multi-font and multi-glyph outline, metrics and hinting transformations, automatic bold, decorative effects. Create Action Sets as needed.
  • Variable font design with axis-based Multiple master (up to 3 axes & 16 masters)
  • Pair and class kerning, including exceptions
  • Automatic generation of classes, metrics and kerning
  • Adobe FDK OpenType feature language
  • Anchors to attach accents to base characters in composite glyphs
  • Detailed production-specific settings`
  • Full support for Unicode and custom OpenType encoding files
  • Script repetitive tasks with Python 2.7.x, integrate with RoboFab, UFO tools
  • FontLab Studio 5.2.2 for Windows
    Works on Windows 10, and on Windows XP SP2+ or newer, 32-bit or 64-bit. Python 2.7 recommended.
  • FontLab Studio 5.1.5 for Mac
    Works on macOS 10.12 Sierra, and on Mac OS X 10.6.8 or newer.
    Has problems on macOS 10.13 High Sierra and 10.14 Mojave. Will probably not work in 10.15.
  • Opens OpenType CFF (OTF), OpenType TT / TrueType (TTF), PostScript Type 1 (PFB/PFA/MM), FontLab VFB, Fontographer FOG, and legacy Mac fonts
  • Generates OpenType CFF (OTF), OpenType TT / TrueType (TTF), PostScript Type 1 (PFB/PFA/MM), FontLab VFB. Mac version also generates suitcase-based Mac Type 1 and Mac TrueType.
  • Limitations on Demo Version
    Export and save limitations. Minor issues on Mac OS X 10.10–10.12 (not present in the full version).