I’ve been looking for single-stroke fonts for a while. I need these for laser cutting. I have found many “single-stroke” fonts online, however none are really single stroke: once I Create Outlines, there is always the annoying, well, outlines.

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If anyone has a list of fonts with real single strokes, or knows a way to convert normal fonts to single stroke, sort of a method to get the inner stroke of letters, if that is even a thing... (I saw other questions on this topic but no clear answer) it would be awesome!

  • "I saw other questions on this topic but no clear answer" – that would probably be graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/q/13263/30216, although it has a clear answer: there are no such fonts because current technology does not support them. – Jongware Jan 12 '17 at 11:07
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    thats not entirely true @RadLexus just that there is no common format that would ne understood by normal apps. Many CAD applications Like autoCAD Creo etc. do have such options jist not nesseserily many sources for such fonts... Some of the formats only accept straight line segments on top of this. So you have to make your own fonts out of straight lines. Equally Illustrator can read line fonts, but will end up outlining them in all cases even though the font was not a line. So yes can be done but requires specialized software witj specialized work pipelines. – joojaa Jan 12 '17 at 11:31
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    EMSL has been working with Hershey in Inkscape. The new SVG font format does support single-stroke fonts. Read more: evilmadscientist.com/2019/hershey-text-v30 (June 25, 2019) – forresto Jul 9 '19 at 8:57

What you want is a stroke-based font in a stroke-based format and a program that can properly deal with them, and in particular only realise the stroke. There are a few formats out there that claim to be able to do this (e.g., UFO), but I do not know how well they are supported and how many fonts exists in these formats.

Unless I am mistaken, no common font format is intended for the usage you wish, and thus you will never be happy with regular fonts.

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    Many cad tools have this kind of feature... But luck finding a good source of usable fonts. – joojaa Jan 12 '17 at 11:36

I know this question is old, but after I stumbled upon this thread when I was looking for something similar, I decided to build a little HTML-JavaScript app that will make a SVG for you with your desired text in one of the Hershey stroke-based fonts. You can find it here.

It will create an SVG file which you can open in Illustrator and many other vector-based design programs. It's a bit rough, but I tested it to work in Chrome and Firefox.

  • Cool, I'll try it and let you know! – LaVielle May 2 '17 at 22:07

(EDIT:) As true single line fonts are very hard to obtain, tracing is cumbersome and Hershey text is made up of straight segments, I created a free (advertisement-free too) solution where you can enter a text, select a font and download the result as single line SVG-curves. (End of EDIT)

Free online generator for single line text:


(Disclaimer: as said, I am the author. )

Screenshot of single line text generator, website, sept. 2020

  • The disclaimer is an nice touch, but not only is this advertising your own product, but it doesn't answer the OP's question at all. – Alith7 Sep 16 '20 at 13:36
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    I don't see the problem? The OP needs "single line fonts for laser cutting." True, this solution does not allow you download fonts, but neither does any of the other answers. The solution DOES allow you to download the text as true, single line curves, so it might solve the problem in another way. I especially made it for laser engraving and plotters for this purpose. I make NO money at all from this. – Ideogram Sep 16 '20 at 13:47
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    I think that's a relevant answer but it would be nice if you could add a bit about what your solution does or allows. And maybe point out that the designer would still need to intervene on the design so some of the countershapes don't fall off. – curious Sep 16 '20 at 13:51
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    Thank you for updating! – Alith7 Sep 16 '20 at 14:08
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    @Ideogram. This is excellent. I've used it to create line type for the Cricut cutting/drawing machine. It does exactly what I wanted it to do and gives a quicker result then outlining raster images in illustrator. – HBP Feb 18 at 10:52

With lasercutting getting more popular and accessible, this question also becomes more relevant. I've looked around a lot. There is no simple and consistent method I've seen so far, but I like this method (I came up with myself, but have seen it being used by others as well). I visualized the method for Illustrator here, detailed description below:

HowTo convert outlines to monoline

My favourite method (in Adobe Illustrator) is:

  • Select Object, in case of text: Type -> Create Outline Stroke [Strg+Shift+O]
  • Resize to a good size and Rasterize with high dpi (e.g. 300dpi): Object -> Rasterize
  • Image Trace the resulting object, using the Image Trace Panel and selecting Outline as method.
  • Expand the resulting Image Trace Object

You then have a single stroke from complex double strokes/compound paths etc. It is not a "clean" method and results may vary (greatly!) with size of the rasterized object. Changing size has a much larger impact (rather than changing parameters of the Image Trace).


I was looking up this same issue and I've seen the same solution - and sometimes the trace just doesn't work - you come up with a mostly blank tracing result.

I've found that changing the setting of your stroke in your tracing options (Image Trace > Advanced) can dramatically effect the outcome of your trace - so that is an important variable to test if you are not having good results with this process.


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