I've got a font called Lato, and I need to add the characters İ, Ğ, ğ, Ş and ş. How can I do this?

1st photo is the original. 2nd photo is the same font that I upgraded:

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enter image description here

  • 1
    What do you mean by "the same font that I upgraded"?
    – Anders
    Nov 29 '17 at 11:18

It is possible to add extra characters to fonts, but it isn't something for the faint-hearted.

The free and open source way to do it would be with Fontforge. However Fontforge, like other font editors, is complex enough that simply exporting your modified font to .ttf or similar is in itself a complex undertaking. It is a very steep learning curve. What's more, making a font that's compatible with Mac and Windows and hinting it properly is a fine art.

Other considerations include:

  • Do you have the right to modify the font? For Lato, you do, so that's moot in your case.

  • Why add them to an existing font? You could create a new font with just these glyphs in it.

  • Lastly, have you considered using either embedded SVG or image sprites instead? These seem like simpler options for what you want to achieve. You'll also have the benefit that you won't need to deal with complex (and inconsistent between platforms) font-rendering technologies.

Note: if you do create fonts, test them on Chrome for Windows! Chrome on Windows uses Windows GDI ClearType which will render a poorly-hinted font badly and is a good litmus test for your font.

  • 1
    An image sprite would be a serious hassle for something like this and an additional resource to load on top of the font. I think adding the characters to the font is better. Plus why couldn't the OP just copy the hinting for the normal versions of the letters?
    – Dom
    Oct 3 '13 at 7:06
  • To me, image sprites would be pretty simple in comparison to editing fonts, and I have extensive experience in editing fonts. "Just copying the hinting" may be something an experience font editor may know how to do, but how would you begin to explain how to do it to someone who has never done it before? Oct 3 '13 at 7:48
  • 1
    Personally I don't have a Scooby about font editing but I do with image sprites and I'd anticipate a lot of hassle trying to display tiny images (Perfectly) inline with text, and trying to achieve consistency across browsers, especially older IEs. An image element inside a span for one letter is kind of overkill.
    – Dom
    Oct 3 '13 at 8:52
  • Hi, you nearly discourage me until I downloaded and tried...I have been able to do it in 5 minutes even without following a tutorial.. It's nearly just a matter of drag&drop, it's easy and intuitive
    – TOPKAT
    Nov 3 '18 at 12:32

In my experience this is both possible and straight forward, there's a comprehensive tutorial on the subject in the FontForge documentation here which refers to a menu option called "Build Accented Character" designed expressly for this purpose. This site is also useful for figuring out how the built characters should look.

I have never found any of this to be a complex undertaking and exporting the font is a pinch. FontForge may complain about various issues but remember those issues were already there when you opened the font and can be ignored.

Regarding hinting my suggestion would be modify the font and try it and see. I've never once had an issue with hinting being visibly wrong and I haven't touched it so I suspect you won't have a problem either.

  • 1
    I have only messed around with FontForge a little bit, but I haven't found it very difficult. Add a single or a couple of characters should be manageable. But maybe choosing a more complete font would be a better way to go.
    – Anders
    Nov 29 '17 at 11:23
  • Sure. As an approximate guide I've added complete diacritic sets for Western European languages to a font and it was about a week's work, possibly two weeks if you were a complete beginner and had to do more reading. Nov 29 '17 at 15:20
  • @edwinbradford Is that a week of full time work or a week of a half hour in the evenings? Could be helpful to add that it took a week to your answer because "both possible and straight forward" also implies quickness
    – Unrelated
    Jun 26 '18 at 22:15
  • I don't work part time in the evenings :) Jun 27 '18 at 6:28

8 years late to the party, but:


You can upload your font, and add glyphs as needed. Just click on the abc icon on the left-hand side, and then on Basic Latin. Then, choose Latin Extended (or any other you might need).

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