Wondering if (a) you are allowed to take some TrueType font with this license (actually I am pretty sure now that it is allowed, modification even for commercial purposes):

SIL Open Font License 1.1

The Open Font License (OFL) is maintained by SIL International. It attempts to be a compromise between the values of the free software and typeface design communities. It is used for almost all open source font projects, including those by Adobe, Google and Mozilla.

and (b) can somehow select out a subset of the glyphs using some font tool, and then (c) re-exporting the font to TrueType or some other format like OpenType.

That is, I would like to take this font and select only a few glyphs for use on the web (out of the hundreds or thousands available), so that it can minimize the size of the font download on the web. An example would be emoji fonts, I would maybe use 5 or 10 of the emojis for a particular use case, out of the thousands that are out there. So I would want a font with just the 5 or 10 emojis in it.

Wondering if this is possible, and what is a good tool one might use to accomplish this. I am on a Mac.

  • icomoon.io comes to mind, though I seem to remember you can't import font files, only svg files... Or use the packs their provide.
    – Joonas
    Sep 22, 2018 at 2:03

2 Answers 2


SIL Open Font License 1.1 allows free distribution of modified versions as long as the original creators are clearly presented, you are not going or trying to sell the modified version, you present exactly the same license (SIL Open Font License 1.1) for it and definitely use clearly different font name. I mean the name included in the font data. It's the name which is shown in Illustrator, Photoshop or other software. It's often longer and different than the name of the font file.

This is a shortening. You should obey the exact license text: https://opensource.org/licenses/OFL-1.1

Any font editor allows removing the unwanted glyphs and changing the font name.

When one makes a PDF, he usually can allow font embedding and select if the embedded font is only a subset or the complete version of a font. Simply extracting a good embedded subset with some PDF exploder software does not fulfill the license! You must at least include the license, the creators and change the internal font name. The PDF writer can do it, but you must check, has it done it and fix the result, if needed.


Yes, this is called subsetting. There are various tools which do it.

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