New FontLab VI Public Preview for Mac download

We have a new Public Preview (5926) available!

FontLab VI logo

Download the new Public Preview (5962) build:

  • If you have a public preview build from within the last month, just launch it, and use the built-in auto-update feature. This should work even after the build expires at the end of the month.
  • Otherwise, you can sign up for the Public Preview on the main FontLab VI page, and that will automatically send you an email with a link to the newest Public Preview download. Yes, this will work even if you already signed up before.

Discuss and post bug reports in our user forum.

We still don’t call this a “beta”; that would imply being feature complete and fairly stable. Although we are not there yet, stability and usability continue to improve.

We are also hard at work on a Windows version of the app. Maybe you will see a Public Preview in May.

Read this for general information about the Public Preview builds and process.

NOTE: Current builds of FontLab VI are expected to run on OS10.7 and later. They do not run on 10.6.8 and earlier.

What’s New?

Compared to last Public Preview a month ago
(list compiled by Adam)

General UI

  • (new) context menus (right-click or Ctrl+click) are now implemented in Glyph window and Font window
  • (new) Preferences / Editing / High contrast mode increases the visual contrast of UI elements within the Glyph window area


  • (new) Gallery panel lists all named shapes in the font and allows you to easily place them into the currently active Layer via the Place button inside the panel, or via drag-and-drop. This works in the Glyph and Font window. If you create or choose a shape in the Glyph window, and then give it a name using the Shapes panel, then the shape will be added to the Gallery panel for easy reuse in other glyphs.

Glyph access (improved) Glyph access methods in Font and Glyph window work better with the keyboard and have new keyboard shortcuts:

  • use the / key to go to a glyph via its glyph name
  • use the # key to go to a glyph via its Unicode
  • use Cmd+F (Edit / Find Glyphs…) in Glyph Window to insert one or more specific glyphs via various criteria, and in Font Window to go to or select specific glyphs
  • use Shift+Cmd+F to jump to the Search box in Font Window to search the font for specific results and filter the window to the results, or in Glyph Window to insert the results
  • use Cmd+L (Edit / List Related Glyphs…) to go to glyphs that are related to the current selection

(new) All Glyphs toggle button in Font Window’s History sidebar (left sidebar) lets you control how the Font Window filtering works when you select an Encoding, use the Search box, Search History or Bookmarks. If on (default), filtered glyph cells are displayed in the “yellow area” at the top while the rest of the glyph cells follow, just like in FontLab Studio 5. If off, only the filtered glyph cells are displayed while the rest are hidden.

Glyph design

  • (new) View / Apply Italic Angle (\ key) changes the behavior of sidebearings, vertical grid and the vertical point movement in italic fonts. When you have a non-zero italic angle (in Windows / Font Info panel, / Angle), tap on the \ key to toggle between three states: 
    • Tap \ once to display slanted sidebearings. The sidebearings angle corresponds to the italic angle, and the italic correction corresponds to the Caret Offset setting in Font Info. This also affects some sidebearing values displayed in the UI (it needs improvement)
    • Tap \ again to also slant grid. In this state, when you use Shift* key to move points or other objects “vertically” using mouse or keyboard, the movement will happen along the italic angle axis, not vertically.
    • Tap \ again to “straighten” both the sidebearings and the grid.
  • (improved) In Glyph window, arrow keys move points and other objects by 1 font unit. with Ctrl, they move by 0.1 unit, with Shift by 10 units, with Cmd by 100 units. The basic and Shift distances can be modified in Preferences / Distances
  • changed: with Guides tool, use Ctrl+click to add a glyph Anchor, use Alt+click to add a shape Pin (#207, thanks Lucas)
  • (improved) positioning within glyphs created via Generate Glyphs now respects matching named anchors such as “top/_top” (#68)

Import, Export, Technology

  • (new) confirmation dialog shows the location of exported fonts after File / Export Fonts (#255)
  • (changed) Preferences / Curve Conversion / Create short curves now only affects explicit curve conversion initiated by the user. New Preferences / Open Fonts / Break long TrueType curves to short segments setting controls the same behavior when fonts are opened.
  • (updated) built-in ttfautohint and HarfBuzz are now updated to the April 2016 versions

Other improvements

  • (fixed) Destination dropdown menu now works in Fonts panel (#314)
  • (fixed) Remove shape button in the Shapes panel now works (#319)
  • (fixed) Artwork placed into Sketchboard is now visible (#262)
  • (fixed) clicking when Ctrl+Space is pressed now zooms in (#263, thanks Lucas)
  • (fixed) Copied contours are pasted vertically mirrored in the Sketchboard. The size is of the pasted image is 10 times bigger. (#331)
  • (fixed) Redraw issues on curvature comb (#183)
  • (fixed) crash when copy-pasting glyphs from FontLab Studio 5 to FontLab VI
  • (fixed) Guides tool now snaps to outlines when measuring (#207, thanks Lucas)
  • (fixed) Undo now works for anchor operations (#315)
  • (fixed) Detect Clones multiplied shapes (#340)
  • (fixed) crash on Crop Image (#338)
  • (fixed) Flag color is now applied on Glyph window close (#246)
  • (fixed) Magnet tool leaves painting artefacts (#269, thanks Lucas)
  • (fixed) import Adobe Illustrator EPS via Import / Artwork (#171)
  • (improved) adding new layers in Layers panel (#204)
  • (fixed) moving guidelines with the Contour tool (#247)
  • (fixed) hang on color palette in the Shapes panel (#286)
  • (fixed) Open Sketchboard now always activates Sketchboard (#304)
  • (fixed) glyph renaming in Glyph panel (#303)
  • (fixed) crash on second Export Fonts As operation (#295)
  • (fixed) preview was missing in Actions dialog after Undo (#272)
  • (fixed) Layers panel now allows renaming a layer (#280)
  • (fixed) bbox problems with bitmaps created via rasterized Layers (#278)
  • (fixed) kerning is now imported from Mac Type 1 suitcases (#305)
  • (fixed) crash on Undo for Scissors tool (#307)
  • (fixed) various Font Window and Glyph Window refresh/redraw problems
  • (fixed) Undo now works after Combine to Shape (#339)

And numerous other minor fixes and improvements!

P.S. The #xxx numbers in the release notes are internal FontLab issue tracker numbers.

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Thomas Phinney

Thomas Phinney was CEO of FontLab until 2019, when he retired from FontLab to pursue his font detective work and type design. Previously he worked at Extensis (web fonts and font management tools) and Adobe (as product manager for global fonts and typography). Thomas is also a teacher, writer, and consultant on fonts and typography. He has been consulted by Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Oxford University Press, a “big three” US auto maker, the US Treasury Department, and PBS “History Detectives,” among others. He teaches type design with Crafting Type and has been a repeat guest lecturer for MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading. Since 2004 he has been a board member of ATypI, the international typography association. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font.