I am trying to make a cookbook in honor of my recently deceased mother. I have a bunch of her recipes and a couple are her actual hand writing with detailed instructions. I’m hoping to somehow replicate her writing for all the recipes (possibly into a font I could simply re-type?). I am not tech savvy. Can this be done? If I were to try to find someone more “computer intelligent” what industry of job title would I even search? Sorry very new and just wanting to make something special. Any and all guidance is greatly appreciated.

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    If you simply search the internet for "make a font free" you'll get relevant results. – Scott Apr 7 at 7:58

Computer fonts cannot replicate the variations which are common in handwriting. Some certain letter combinations can be defined as ligatures and open type fonts can also have varied letter versions and decoratives, but everyone sees in a second that it's computer font, not written by hand.

Creating a rich script font is a major task. It starts on paper by defining and practicing the letters so well that one is also able to input them to a font editor. Have a couple of months time to define the style and double it for becoming also able to work with a font editor program and finally some more to input the needed data. Font editor programs are available as well commercially as for free.

Trivial case - manual lettering where the letters are written rigidly in the same way - has numerous commercial and free solutions. Drawing program Inkscape has font creating tools. The fonts can be used in Inkscape, but inputting the letters as curves needs the ability to draw with Inkscape.

There are websites which generate font from your curves. Program Scanahand http://www.scanahand.com accepts scanned or in drawing program filled image of a form where the letters are drawn one by one.

All methods presented above need that you can draw the wanted letters by yourself or know how to extract them as computer graphics curves from an existing writing. No machine nor generally available software will do it for you automatically. Do not expect to replicate any highly personal handwriting style in the mentioned ways.

Serious academic research has produced something better, but unfortunately I do not know any details. Start your own research from this https://www.engadget.com/2016-08-12-a-computer-program-that-can-replicate-your-handwriting.html


There's a video tutorial here which shows how you can do it using online software called Calligrapher. I have no links with the video creator or the website. There's are free and paid options, with a limitation of the number of glyphs in the free version. Might still be enough to get a usable font however.

The process involves re-drawing the characters on a template sheet that you print out, and then scan. So, some skill will be required to replicate your mother's handwriting.

As far as I know, there's nothing available which can just scan your mothers handwriting and then automatically turn it into a font, although no doubt someone somewhere is working on that!

It may also be possible to create glyphs using vector image editing software to auto trace bitmap images of individual glyphs to turn them into vectors, and import them into proper font editing software. But software like that is complex with a steep learning curve. It all depends on how much time you are prepared to invest. Free software you could use: Inkscape (vector image editor). FontForge (font editor).

  • Thank you all for the feedback. Sounds like quite a task but well worth it. – Newby Apr 7 at 14:54

I did something like this (10?) years ago to make a font based on some engraved lettering that I found on a 1750s map of New England by Lewis Evans. The process was very tedious, but partially because of the software that I was using at the time.

If I recall correctly, I think I was using Inkscape to trace the letters by hand, then I imported the letter shapes into FontForge. Both of these are open source projects, and freely available for download. Tracing the shapes was not very difficult except in cases where I needed letters or symbols that were not available on the map, and had to combine parts of other letters to produce ones that I was missing (missing capitol letters, for example). Once I had the shapes in FontForge, I had do bit of work to make sure everything align correctly. This included setting the character sizes and kerning rules. This is probably where I spent the most my time working on the font - make adjustment, install revised font, test font in MS Word, go back to FontForge to make further adjustments.

Were I to try something like this today, I'd likely trace or create the shapes for the characters that I wanted myself, then print them out in a format that a free or cheap pay-for font creation service would use to convert them into a font. From the I could tweak the resulting font that was sent back using something like FontForge to make whatever minor edits I wanted.

  • Also incredibly helpful insight. So glad I came across this forum – Newby Apr 7 at 22:55

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