Free FontLab VI Public Preview for Windows

FontLab VI iconWindows users, your font editor of tomorrow is nearly ready! For all you Windows users who have been patiently waiting for something new and better than FontLab Studio 5, there is now a Windows version of the free FontLab VI Public Preview. (Plus an updated Mac Public Preview.)

Visit fontlab.com/vi, learn about the features, register and download FontLab VI Public Preview for Windows now! Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, you can use its current full functionality. The current build will expire by the end of the month, but you will be notified of a new Public Preview build via the built-in auto-update system. FontLab VI Public Preview will remain free until we ship the final app!

What’s FontLab VI?

FontLab VI is our next-generation professional font editor, crafted for type designers and font geeks. Five years in the making, we’re still putting finishing touches on it. It’s a massive upgrade over FontLab Studio 5, and remains the only true cross-platform type design and font creation app. With FontLab VI, you get the same high performance, clean user interface, and innovative font making tools on Mac OS X and Windows.

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What’s new in FontLab VI?

Seasoned FontLab Studio 5 users will find lots of familiar elements in FontLab VI, but we’ve carefully upgraded and polished each of them. The new Font Window allows for visual sorting, smart searching and filtering, and provides a table view that exposes lots of numerical glyph data. We’ve unified the Glyph Window and Metrics Window so you can access the Metrics and Kerning tools right from the main app toolbar. We’ve renamed the Class panel into the Groups panel, but it remains the home for Kerning and OpenType groups.

In place of the limited Components, FontLab VI introduces Cloned Shapes that keep bidirectional live links between contours that appear in different glyphs. FontLab VI still has the View, Transform, OpenType Features and Python Scripting panels, but we’ve redesigned each of those functions so you can achieve your goals faster.

FontLab VI also brings a lot of brand-new functionality. You can automatically Create Overlaps and even attach TrueType Hinting commands to PostScript outlines. You can scale your contours up and down or slant them back and forth losslessly thanks to FontLab VI’s internal fractional coordinate system. We’ve invented new contour design tools: the superfast Rapid drawing tool, Tunni Lines and Genius points for better curvature control; the Fill tool that lets you forget about path direction and allows you to simply turn contours or intersection areas black or white; the Power Brush for quick prototyping of calligraphic strokes; and the awesome Power Nudge mode that lets you typographically correctly condense, expand or transform your contours in a fraction of the time.

FontLab VI supports all of Unicode 9, including color emoji, and all of OpenType 1.8, including Arabic or Indic shaping as well as color and variable OpenType fonts. Speaking of variable fonts: in this build, you cannot yet generate them, but you can open them, and you can set up an unlimited number of font-wide or per-glyph Masters in a MutatorMath- and OpenType Variations-compatible design space, which is backwards-compatible with FontLab Studio 5’s Multiple Master model but much more flexible.

FontLab VI has unlimited glyphs, unlimited layers, multi-line multi-glyph editing, full color support, tag-based multi-glyph guides and zones, Anchor-based mark attachment, complex metrics linking via expressions, and the list goes on and on. And you can convert between various font formats, including .ttf, .otf, .vfb, .ufo, .glyphs, and all the color OpenType fonts such as OpenType+SVG.

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What’s the Public Preview for Windows?

With the FontLab VI Public Preview, you get the full current functionality for free until we ship the final version. You can create, open, edit and generate fully-functioning OpenType fonts, you can turn your images or Illustrator artwork into fonts, you can do spacing, kerning, hinting. And you can use FontLab VI Public Preview alongside of your other tools such as FontLab Studio 5, Fontographer or RoboFont.

Because we develop FontLab VI on a cross-platform framework, the feature set of the Public Preview for Windows is practically identical to the established Mac version, and we expect only a few platform-specific bugs, likely largely interface-related (most other bugs that occur are cross-platform).

The Windows version of FontLab VI is a 32-bit app that runs on both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP through to Windows 10. We have specifically tested it on Windows XP, 7 and 10. When we release new builds of the Public Preview, you will be notified via the built-in auto-update mechanism.

Final notes

Please report bugs in our user forum.

Some keyboard shortcuts in the menus are marked with a “Meta” modifier key. They are not accessible. The Mac has three modifier keys: “Ctrl,” “Alt” and “Cmd,” while Windows computers only have two that can be used by app developers: “Ctrl” and “Alt”. We’re working hard on providing sensible keyboard shortcuts for our Windows users, but this will take a while yet!

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Thomas Phinney

Thomas Phinney is CEO of FontLab. 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 type designer, 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.

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