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Font Development Tools from SIL
Tools built by SIL for font developers
Developing fonts is one of the core activities of the NRSI. Being programmers, we have also developed and use a number of tools that may be of interest to other font developers. This page links to these tools.
SIL Open Font License (OFL)
A license to distribute, create and improve fonts using an open collaborative model.
SIL ViewGlyph — Font Viewing Program
The SIL ViewGlyph utility is a font browser for Windows — it lets you see what is in a font.
Among its most useful features, ViewGlyph allows you to see a font's contents through different eyes, so to speak. Want to know what the font looks like when used by a Unicode application? How about when the font is moved to a Macintosh? Or, suppose I have the multilingual extensions installed and want to know what a font looks like when viewed through a particular codepage? ViewGlyph can show you the raw glyph palette, which is useful if you are writing smarts (i.e. OpenType, Graphite, or AAT tables) for your font. You can view certain TrueType font tables (name and cmap) and see various font metrics. Finally, ViewGlyph is useful for investigating how Windows maps 8-bit characters into Unicode through various codepages.
General font hacking and tuning
The FontUtils package provides a plethora of command line tools for manipulating TrueType fonts. These tools are essential to NRSI's font development processes.
TypeTuner can change the default glyphs, line metrics, and behaviors in specially prepared fonts.
SIL TypeTuner for Font Designers
TypeTuner documentation on creating Tuner-ready fonts.
OS/2 table Range bit calculation workbook
This Excel workbook (with included macros) calculates the UnicodeRange and CodepageRange bit vectors for the OS/2 table in TrueType fonts. The resultant hex string is directly usable in the FontUtils and Reprise utilities.
FLGlyphBuilder is a Python script for building composite glyphs in FontLab. The composite glyphs can be built using attachment points and/or shifting of component glyphs. Using attachment points, composites are assembled by describing which attachment points should coincide, rather than having to give absolute locations in terms of shifting. Within FontLab, attachment points are created as anchors on specific glyphs. The constructed composites inherit attachment points from their components. FLGlyphBuilder is controlled by an XML composite definition file.
Legacy to Unicode conversion
SIL Reprise — font conversion utility
Reprise is a utility to convert legacy-encoded fonts into Unicode fonts so they can be used in Unicode-based applications.
To use Reprise, you will also need a TECkit mapping file. For fonts generated by the old SIL Encore Font System, the Encore2Unicode command utility can help.
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Provided by SIL's Writing Systems Technology team (formerly known as NRSI). Contact us here.