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FontLab VI
THE ULTRA BOLD FONT EDITOR
for Mac & Windows

FontLab VI

The ultra bold font editor

With FontLab VI, you can create, open, modify, draw, space, kern, hint and export desktop, web, color and variable fonts. The app is an all-around font editor, but also supports data interchange with other font creation tools, making it easy to integrate into your existing workflows. 

We’ve put our all into FontLab VI. We talked to type designers from all over the world and watched them work. We kept what’s best from our classic apps, FontLab Studio and Fontographer, including many familiar keyboard FontLab shortcuts. But we’ve reconsidered and streamlined every function.

We’ve also come up with some new, ultra bold ideas. FontLab VI brings groundbreaking new drawing tools and responsive contour operations to make your design process easier and more efficient, whether you’re an expert or a beginner. 

FontLab now supports color and variability, so you can explore these new possibilities and expand your creative reach. We’ve integrated industry-standard software components and codified established best practices into the app, to help make your fonts technically top-notch.
read the announcement

Next-generation drawing

Creating Bézier curves is no longer “mastery or mystery.”

Pen tool

If you like drawing with an industry-standard Bézier pen, FontLab VI has a great Pen tool for you. We’ve combined the best of Fontographer, FontLab Studio, and some other approaches.

And if you find a traditional Bézier pen hard, you’ll love the rest of our drawing tools.

read about Pen
“There are a host of drawing tools in FontLab VI that all offer different ways to get an outline started. Once a basic outline is in, editing it is intuitive. Power Nudge cleverly adjusts locally related nodes in harmony to the one you’re editing. 
Features such as Tunni Lines and Smart Corners allow fluid control over the outline, whereas Make Overlap and Unlink Corners let you chop and change a shape easily. The flexibility of the drawing tools continues to impress.”
— Jeremy Tankard
designer of Bliss and Corbel
typography.net

Seriously better Béziers

We love curves so much that we are making them better.

Curve Tension

Curve tension is a measure of how much a curve deviates from a straight line between two points, from zero to 100%. So for example, Helvetica has more tense curves than Frutiger or Myriad. A smooth outline will have constant tension, or a steady decrease or increase from curve to curve. FontLab VI not only lets you visualize curve tension, but also lets you see it numerically, edit it visually, and even use the Rapid tool to draw curves with tension set to your specifications. So if you want to make a font with more squarish curves like Helvetica or Eurostile, FontLab VI can help you draw it that way from the start.

Hello, color!

Smart glyph creation beyond traditional outlines

Complete color support

In FontLab VI, everything is color-enabled. Draw multi-color contours, bring in color outlines, SVGs and bitmap images, overlay layered fonts and create emoji or chromatic fonts for all Color OpenType-enabled platforms: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC 2018, macOS, Windows 8+, iOS, Android and modern web browsers.

read about Color fonts

Sketchboard

Our Sketchboard is a a virtual desk or canvas that allows you to draw and experiment outside of any glyph. It’s great for collecting sketches, separating artwork into glyph images, or just drawing logos and symbols using all of FontLab’s juicy Bézier magic. 

You can also arrange text frames showing different fonts you’re working on, and export the contents into a PDF or SVG for proofing.

read about Sketchboard

Pixel-savvy

Drag-drop or copy-paste pixel images in most formats, with mono, grayscale, full color and transparency support. Split and autotrace or place the images into the img layer for reference to draw over them. Rotate and scale imported graphics, crop, blur, remove noise and background.

read about bitmap artwork

Variations included

Axes, Masters and Instances

For design space explorers

A font family consists of fonts that have different locations on one or more design space Axes, such as width, weight, slant or optical size. To create interpolated instances or a variable OpenType font from one or more Font masters, use Font Info to add the axes and assign axis locations for all font masters within your FontLab font. 

Use the Variations panel to preview and control the interpolation and extrapolation results. Switch between the glyph layers that represent font masters and glyph-specific correction masters using the Layers & Masters panel. Enable Edit Across Layers to add or remove nodes and use other contour editing tools on all masters at once.

read about Variations

In an instance

Easily plan your Instances for an extensive font family or a variable font. With axis instances, define per-axis interpolation locations and style phrases, and FontLab will automatically build a matrix of all instances for all axes, with correct Style names and Style groups. 

Change the axis order to influence auto-style naming, set your main master’s Slope to Italic for automatic italic style linking. Tweak the instances names or weight/width class, and export all or just the enabled instances in one go!

read about Instances

From Multiple Master to Variations

Thanks to our Variations engine based on MutatorMath, your Masters no longer need to stand in the MM corners, but can be placed freely within the design space. Unlimited axes, intermediate font masters, glyph masters that affect only certain glyphs give you complete freedom in designing interpolable font families and variable OpenType fonts.

FontLab VI can open MM VFB fonts made in FontLab Studio, can open and export both TrueType-based OpenType Variations fonts and UFO-based designSpace families.

FontLab VI also uses intelligent interpolation in many other areas, including the rewind feature, power nudge, and servant points.

Intelligent interpolation

To create intermediate designs via interpolation, you need all your glyph masters to have the same number and geometric structure of contours and nodes. FontLab can help you automatically match your masters by sorting contours, relocating start points and correcting path direction. 

This can happen on the fly, or permanently — with the Match Masters command, which can even blend between two really incompatible masters, intelligently adding nodes where needed. If your masters are already point-perfect, you can disable the automation in Font Info or the Variations panel.

read about Interpolation

A match made in 7... masters

Whether you have two, four, seven or a dozen masters, the Matchmaker tool helps you make their point structure compatible for interpolation. Matchmaker works on Sections, which are sequences of line or curve segments. 

Select the start nodes of a section across all masters, then select the end nodes of the section and click — FontLab will add, remove or relocate intermediate nodes along the section in each master to create matching structures. Wait for the green light, then enjoy a smooth ride along your axes.

read about Matchmaker

Outer and inner space

Metrics, kerning & anchors

Kerning that just works

Class kerning is now compatible with UFO and OpenType, without key glyphs, and conflict-free. Preview the Kerning Classes clouds as you kern and compare your decisions with live autokerning suggestions. 

Use the Pairs & Phrases panel to see your kerning plan, or the Kerning panel to see what’s actually in the font. Export KLTF-optimized OpenType kerning that never breaks or overflows. The main master’s kerning classes are used for all instances and the variable font.

read about Kerning

Powerful anchors

Position Anchors manually or link their positions to other anchors or guides with math expressions. FontLab will display all matching diacritical marks in the Anchor Cloud, and will use your anchors to generate composite glyphs and the mark/mkmk OpenType features. 

read about Anchors and Pins
“I switched to FontLab VI about a year ago. It took me a month or less to feel that I definitely prefer working in it. It looks new and fresh, the interface is nice and precise. You use one window for everything — from glyph editing to testing the font in a long text — just by zooming and switching modes. 
What I like most is that you can link the metrics of glyphs to any other glyphs. It helps a lot when you design Cyrillic or Greek or make another style of the same font. It has handy tools for variations, and needs just a name of the typeface and style to generate working fonts! I’m so used to working in VI that it just seems natural.”
— Alexandra Korolkova
lead designer of PT Sans
paratype.com

Always organized

Synchronize design changes. Find, sort and classify glyphs. 

Flag and tag glyphs

Sort glyphs by the color Flags (marks), and organize your glyphs with Tags: assign multiple labels to your glyphs, then assign the same tags to font guidelines, stems and zones, and they’ll only appear in the tagged glyphs. 

Virtual tags for lowercase or overshoot glyphs are assigned automatically. All tags form classes and can be viewed with the new Classes panel.

read about Glyph Flags

Glyph and character search

Just type. We can find glyphs by glyph name, Unicode character name, script, codepage, encoding, range — you name it. FontLab also has friendly alternatives to standard glyph names built in. Use friendly names for development but export industry-standard fonts, with no added effort.

read about Glyph Search

Pain-free production

Top gear at top speed. Serious font work with ease. 

Full Unicode & OpenType

Test your OpenType features with the built-in HarfBuzz OpenType Layout engine with complete complex-script support. Search for glyphs based on Unicode character names and Unicode scripts.

FontLab VI stays up-to-date with the latest Unicode and OpenType standards.

read about OpenType features

No more coffee!

We apologize for taking away your coffee break.

FontLab VI is very fast, being written in C++ and optimized for speed. Most operations are instantaneous. In some places we reduced the lag from minutes to milliseconds. Combined with a more efficient user interface, and more powerful and intuitive tools, the new FontLab will help you work faster than ever. Maybe you won’t even miss the coffee break.

Express export with Profiles

Trying to duplicate a bunch of preference settings to output a specific font could be painful. With FontLab VI we have introduced Profiles for font generation.

Each profile is a group of settings for generating output fonts in a particular format. FontLab VI has a set of default profiles for all our standard output formats, and you can easily create new profiles to meet your particular needs.

read about Exporting Fonts

Embracing your workflow

Type designers use various tools and workflows. FontLab VI does not lock you into a proprietary file format. Got fonts in another format? FontLab opens it: OpenType (TT, PS, Variable TT, SVG, sbix, CBDT, COLR, TTC), Web (WOFF2, WOFF, EOT), FontLab VFB, Fontographer, Glyphs, UFO, designSpace, PostScript Type 1, TrueType, Ikarus, even old Mac fonts on Windows (in a Zip container)!

Instead of reinventing the wheel, FontLab VI uses the industry’s best solutions: Adobe FDK for OpenType, Microsoft ClearType, TTFAutohint, MutatorMath, fontTools with varLib, HarfBuzz, ICU, Python (APIs compatible with FontLab Studio and RoboFab), the KLTF kerning optimizer and a SpeedPunk-style curvature view.

FontLab VI Summary

Drawing & IMporting
  • Draw outline-based glyphs using the Brush, Pencil, Rapid, Pen, Ellipse, and Rectangle tools, in a fractional coordinate space with live rounding into integer coordinates.
  • Use upright and slanted grids, flexible guidelines, snapping suggestions and live measurement tools for consistent and precise vector drawing.
  • Paste and import vector artwork, scanned character sets or color bitmap glyphs, and turn them into monochrome fonts via customizable autotracing, and into color fonts.
  • Draw calligraphic letterforms using a live, adjustable PowerBrush tool, assign and expand strokes.
Editing
  • Natively edit cubic PostScript Bézier curves and quadratic TrueType curves, including overlapping open paths, using the Contour, Knife, Scissors and Fill tools. Convert between the curve types with adjustable precision.
  • Find and fix outline problems with FontAudit. Automatically clean up and optimize outline drawings, balance segments and modify curve tension, harmonize G2 curvature, create and remove overlapping paths, apply non-destructive ink traps and rounded corners.
  • Automatically change weight, create contour versions, apply effects to outline and bitmap glyphs.
    Composites
    • Blend, interpolate and extrapolate fonts, create intermediate weights and styles, build extensive font families and variable OpenType fonts with intermediate font and glyph masters, and automatic masters matching for point-compatible outlines.
      Variation
      • Blend, interpolate and extrapolate fonts, create intermediate weights and styles, build extensive font families and variable OpenType fonts with intermediate font and glyph masters, and automatic masters matching for point-compatible outlines.
      Spacing & Kerning
      • Space entire phrases and kern according to planned pair lists. Apply tracking, modify widths, sidebearings and kerning globally or for selected glyphs.
      • Automatically or manually link metrics between glyphs using complex expressions. 
      • Kern between classes and glyphs in a UFO- and OpenType-compatible way, with exceptions. 
      • Automatically build kerning classes.
      • Automatically calculate metrics and kerning, or use autokerning suggestions as you kern manually.
        FontS
        • Create, open, edit and export monochrome outline fonts with single masters (desktop and web) and multiple masters (variable), color fonts (with multi-layer editable glyphs, SVG glyphs or bitmap glyphs).
        • Compare fonts, merge and split font glyph sets and variations. Modify fonts, glyphs, metrics, kerning and technical font information. Convert between font formats, improve screen appearance with automatic and manual hinting. Exchange font source with other font creation apps.
        Technology
        • Full Unicode support. 
        • Advanced OpenType Layout features creation with FEA format and Adobe FDK for OpenType. 
        • Kern feature optimization by KLTF.
        • Feature preview with the HarfBuzz world-ready engine. 
        • Windows screen preview with genuine Microsoft ClearType (even on the Mac).
        • Variations with MutatorMath and fontTools.varLib.
        Formats
        • Open and export OpenType-PS/CFF (OTF), OpenType TT / TrueType (TTF), Variable OpenType TT (TTF+gvar), Color OpenType (TTF+SVG, +COLR, +CBDT, +sbix), PostScript Type 1 (PFB/PFA), Web fonts (WOFF2, WOFF, EOT), FontLab (VFB, VFC, VFJ), UFO, designSpace. 
        • Also open BitFonter Photofont (PHF+PNG, +SVG), Fontographer (FOG), Glyphs, Ikarus, and any of the above in ZIP files.
        System Requirements
        • FontLab VI for Mac is a 64-bit app that runs on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or newer, including macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
        • FontLab VI for Windows is a 32-bit app that runs on Windows 7 and newer, including Windows 10 (either the 32- or the 64-bit version). Optionally installs Python 2.7, required for scripting and variable fonts support.
        • Each FontLab VI license is valid for both platforms.