If you open a truetype font containing bitmaps then you will be asked if you want to load some of the bitmaps as well as the outlines.
By default this dialog will display all files with extensions of pfa, pfb,
pt3, sfd, ttf, otf, otb, t42, cef, cff, gsf, ttc, svg, ik, mf and bdf (possibly
others as FontForge comes to support more formats). You can change this with
the Filter pull down list -- there are several standard filters, and you
may define your own.
You may select multiple files (by holding down the shift or control keys when clicking on them), and all selected files will be opened.
FontForge can open macbinary resource files containing postscript and truetype fonts (it does not open bitmap fonts currently)
FontForge does not open Acorn RISC/OS files, but you can use acorn2sfd to convert them into an sfd file which FontForge can then open.
If you have mf and autotrace installed on your machine FontForge will process metafont's mf files for you. But you might want to use pktrace, mftrace or some other standalone program to do the job.
When opening a TTC file, or a mac dfont -- files which potentially contain
several fonts -- you will be given a dlg showing a list of all fonts in the
file, you get to pick which you want to open. (FontForge does not provide
a way to open all fonts in a file at once). If you know the fontname you
are interested in you may append it to the filename in the open dlg as:
Helvetica.dfont(Helvetica Bold) or if you know the font index
Helvetica.dfont(0) (indeces start at 0, not 1).
When FontForge opens a pdb file (one that contains palm bitmap fonts) it will open the first font it finds. In most formats it will list the available fonts in a file and ask which you want, but palm fonts contain no fontname so there is no way to identify them.
When importing a type3 font FontForge will ask you a few questions. It shouldn't have to ask these questions, but this is an imperfect world and FontForge an imperfect program. In some rare cases FontForge will crash if it tries to do a remove overlap. The remove overlap functionality is important for interpreting stroked paths so you really should have it on. But if a crash happens then, turn it off (and the crash should not repeat, but some functionality will be lost).
Not all font formats that fontforge supports have standard extensions. Mac resource forks are one example, postscript cid, type0 and type3 fonts are another. FontForge can still open these formats, even if it fails to display the file. You can always type the file name in yourself if you don't see it in the file list.
FontForge can also read (many) fonts out of a pdf file. FontForge usually does not list pdf files (because they aren't really designed as mechanisms for transporting fonts and most such fonts will be incomplete due to subsetting and other optimizations), but you can always type in the name of one directly (or use the [Filter] button to define a filter for pdf files).
You can also force fontforge to rename all the glyphs in the font being read in to fit some standard naming convention. See the section on namelists for more information.
If this is a font view and the font has been changed, then it will ask whether you want to save the font. It will also close any outline glyph, bitmap glyph or metrics views associated with the font.
If you are editing a font "Ambrosia.sfd" then the backup file will be called "Ambrosia.sfd~".
So if you have changed the name of the glyph this command will fail.
If the font did not come from an sfd file this command will fail.
If the font has been reencoded and the glyph has references this command may fail.
If you have made a global change to the font (like scaling it to a new em-size) then the results may not be appropriate.
In the Bitmap view this allows you to export the current glyph as either a .xbm or a .bmp (always as a bitmap) file.
This menu item is not available in the Font or Metrics Views.
If you are editing a multi-layered font then you can also import an image into one of the foreground layers.
FontForge does best when given bitmap images. It will grey out the foreground and make the background transparent. It will also compress them when it stores them in the sfd file. It will handle most other image formats but does not try to optimize them in anyway. Please use bitmaps here.
You may load an encapsulated postscript file (or rather the sub-set of postscript
that FontForge understands) into the foreground of glyphs. As with images
above this may import either depending on the selection or a template.
If you have libxml2 on your system then FontForge will also be able to import svg files. As with postscript, only a subset of svg is understood).
In the Outline View this allows you to import an image into the background (see the above remark about bitmaps, or import eps or fig files into the foreground (the xfig conversion is really bad, the eps conversion is very limited).
In the Bitmap View this allows you to import a bitmap image into the glyph.
This menu item is not available in the Metrics View
In the font view you may select multiple files (by holding down the shift or control keys when clicking on them), and all selected bitmap fonts will be imported into the sfd.
Note: When loading a postscript font from a mac resource file, the associated kerning data will be found in the FOND stored with a bitmap font for this face. FontForge can't guess the name of this file when loading the font. You must figure it out yourself.
A number of things, like the colors used in FontForge, that might be controlled from a preference window are controlled by X Resources below.