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I used to work with Fontlab Studio to design and compile my fonts. Years have passed and my former Fontlab install vanished into the voids of a crashing harddisk.

Now that I'm gaining interest in font-design again, I used and abused the usual search engines, but I have not managed to find any free or open-source software out there with alike functionality which Fontlab offers.

Therefore I would love to know: "Is there any open-source alternative to Fontlab out there?"

(Preferably, it should be able to run on a Microsoft Windows operating system.)

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If you have purchased a legit copy of Fontlab Studio, can you contact them for another download? I did that with Alien Skin software at least once. –  Voxwoman Mar 2 at 17:49
@Voxwoman LOL, I wish… at the time I was working with Fontlab, I was employed in a local advertising agency. They owned the license, not me. Yet, that didn’t stop me from regaining interest in font design years later and – as I am not a full-fledged, investor-powered advertisement agency with the appropriate cashflow to license expensive software – I was looking for an open-source alternative that I can modify whenever I think it needs a tweak of bugfix (yep, I’m one of those designers with indeep c/c++ and Java coding abilities). Guess that explains my question from your point of view too? ;) –  e-sushi Mar 2 at 23:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Open Source Font Editors:

  1. FontForge
  2. gbdfed Bitmap Font Editor
  3. BirdFont

Freeware Font Editors:

  1. Font Struct
  2. Bit font Maker
  3. Type light
  4. Font Constructor
  5. Raster Font Editor

Commercial Font Editors:

  1. FontCreator
  2. (Fontlab Studio)

Font Management:

  1. 25 Font Management Tools Reviewed

Search results for font management:

  1. What is a good free font management tool for linux?
  2. Font management tools for Mac
  3. Font management tool across multiple machines


  1. The upcoming .91 release of Inkscape claims to have 'type design feeatures'
share|improve this answer
Fontlab Studio is a font editor, so only fontforge satisfies my needs. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate your efforts. As a matter a fact, fontforge might just be what I was looking for. Thanks! EDIT seems "Font Creator" should be listed as "Font Editor" too. ;) –  e-sushi Jul 23 '13 at 17:01
Added Birdfont. Haven't used it, but looks interesting. –  DA01 Jul 23 '13 at 22:43
Fontforge is the big hitter. It comes with a steep learning curve, but that just goes with the territory -- no one ever accused FontLab of being intuitive ;) –  plainclothes Jul 23 '13 at 23:15
-1 for linkdump without opinion or explanation. This answer is about as useful as searching online. –  kontur Aug 7 at 21:36
I dont see how it is linking dumping when it answers the OPs question. –  Darth_Vader Aug 7 at 21:49


It can be a bit clunky on Windows and crash occasionally, but then it can do that sometimes on Linux, too. Keep backups. I edit all fonts directly in my Dropbox directory so I have access to a file history.

Its user interface is strange and the author has no intention to fix that any time soon.

Some parts of it, like the auto-hinting, are actually very good and I would argue are better than Fontlab. Other parts of it are inferior. I don't, for example, think the simplify algorithm is very good, particularly for quadratic splines (which is what you use for Truetype outlines).

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The feature I am to date missing most in Fontforge is a way to easily preview while editing the glyphs of the font. –  kontur Aug 7 at 21:37

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