- Installing from a pre-built unix package
- Installing on a Mac
- Installing on MS/Windows
- Before you build (on a mac)
- Before you build (on MS/Windows)
- Building and installing from source
- Dependencies (external libraries/helper programs)
- Installing documentation
- Starting FontForge
Before starting fontforge on cygwin
Starting fontforge from the command line
Will open up FontForge with a file picker where you can browse and open a font or create a new one.
If you get a message from your computer saying: "fontforge: Command not found"
More commandline options
$ fontforge font.pfa font2.sfd font3.ttf font4.otf
will start fontforge looking at the fonts you specify on the command line. It can read either pfb or pfa fonts, and some ps fonts (type 0 fonts based on a type 1 dictionary) as well as truetype fonts, open type fonts and many other formats.
$ fontforge -new
will cause fontforge to create a new font (in iso-8859-1 encoding)
$ fontforge -script script.pe fonts...
This will invoke fontforge in a non-interactive mode, and have it run the named script. Any further arguments on the command line will be passed as arguments to the script and processed (or not) by it.
For a complete description of possible arguments see the section on the command line.
Troubleshooting on cygwin
One very common problem on cygwin is that you will type in the command line to start fontforge – and absolutely nothing will happen. The cygwin shell simply prints another prompt. There is no error message. No window appears. Nothing.
This generally means that you are missing a required library. Make sure that the following are installed
(I have no idea why you don’t get an error message. That’s a bug in cygwin or windows or something. FontForge never gets control and has no chance to generate a message itself).
On the mac
FontForge now installs itself as a mac application in the Applications folder. You can start FontForge the way you start any other application, double clicking on it, dragging files to it, etc.
Font Book may fight over which will open
standard fonts if you double click on the font file. Both claim they can
open these files, neither claims to be the prefered application for
them. If an .otf file shows a fontforge icon () it
will be opened by fontforge, if a font book icon it will be opened by
font book. Dragging a font file to the desired application will always
work. Or you can select the font, and invoke
File->Get Info (in the
Finder’s menu) and use the “Open with” control to select an application.
On the mac the Option key is used to invoke the functionality that fontforge’s docs call “Alt” or “Meta”. (See the section on X11 configuration for notes on three button mice and the command key).
You can also start fontforge using traditional unix methods
Before you start fontforge on the mac you must start the X11 server. You can do this by opening the Applications folder, and then opening the Utilities folder, and then double-clicking on “X11”. (If you don’t have X11 there then refer back to the instructions for installing it)
Having done that there should be a menubar with a menu labeled “Applications”. Click on this. There should be a “FontForge” entry in it. Selecting FontForge will start fontforge and bring up a dialog allowing you to open a font or create a new one.
Caveat:FontForge does not normally show mac resource fonts in this dialog – however it can still open one even it it isn’t displayed. Simply type in the name of the file containing it. (or change the Filter field to “All Files”).
If the Applications menu does not contain a “FontForge” entry, you can add one yourself:
- Select Applications->Customize Menu
- Then press the (Add) button in the dialog that appears
- Double click in the left-most section of the blank line which just appeared and then type “FontForge”
- Press the [Tab] key and type “/usr/local/bin/fontforge”
- Press the [Tab] key again and type “f”
- Then press (Done)
(You may also start fontforge from the command line here. Go to the Applications menu and select Terminal (or xterm), and then type one of the commands listed above)
Caveat: Normally FontForge will never see the command key shortcuts. X11 intercepts these and uses them itself. If you would like to be able to use Command-Q to quit FontForge then
- Make sure the X11 menu bar is visible
- Select the menu item
- turn off (uncheck)
 Enable keyboard shortcuts under X11
Caveat: FontForge was written assuming the availability of a three button mouse. Under 10.4 X11 simulates this by creating a virtual three button mouse where the middle button is invoked by Option-Mouse click and the right button by Command-Mouse click. (You can also control this from X11->Preferences).