The Encoding menu is only found in the font view:
Has an attached sub-menu of standard and user defined encodings. The font's
current encoding will be indicated with a check mark. You may change the
encoding by selecting a different entry.
There are two slightly different formats an encoding can take. It can be
defined by unicode code points, or it can be defined by glyph names. When
reencoding to an encoding defined by code points, the glyph with the matching
unicode value is placed in the encoding slot. When reencoding to an encoding
defined by glyph name, we first search for a glyph with the matching name
and use it, if not found we search for the glyph name's corresponding unicode
code point (if any) and if found we change its name to that specified by
Example: Suppose we have a font containing a glyph named "uni0041", and an
encoding which maps U+0041->slot 65, then the glyph will be moved into
slot 65. If we have another encoding which maps "A" -> slot 65, then (since
"A" has unicode value U+0041) our glyph will still be mapped to slot 65,
but in addition its name will be changed to "A".
Remove any holes from the encoding so all the glyphs get smushed together.
If the font is already compact, then selecting this again will restore the
Has the same sub-menu as above. Here we assume that the glyphs of the font
are currently encoded in the right order, but they have the wrong names (This
may seem odd, but it happens a lot). This command will change the names of
all the glyphs to match what they should be if the indicated encoding were
Add Encoding Slots...
Add some extra slots at the end of the font into which you can put unencoded
glyphs (variant glyphs, etc.)
Remove Unused Slots
Removes any unused slots from the end of the font. It does not remove unused
slots inside the font, that would screw up the encoding.
Detaches any selected encoding slots from their currently associated glyphs.
These slots will now be marked as unused. The glyphs will remain in the font,
just not encoded (If you reencode the font those glyphs will become visible
Detach & Remove Glyphs...
Similar to the above except that any glyphs detached (which are not used
elsewhere in the encoding) will be removed from the font.
Add Encoding Name...
Requests an encoding name from the user and searches for it in the iconv()
database. It then adds that encoding to the menu.
Asks the user for a filename and attempts to load a user defined encoding
from that file. (You can only load small encodings -- one byte encodings)
Make from Font...
Allows you to name the font's current encoding (if it isn't already named),
and add it to the encoding menu.
Removes one of the user defined encodings from the menu.
Display by Group...
Allows you restrict the glyphs displayed in the font view to those in a user
defined group (specified in the next command).
Allows you to define groups of glyphs which
(presumably) have some meaningful connection to each other.
Save NameList of Font...
Creates a namelist file mapping unicode to the glyph
names of the current font.
Loads a namelist file into fontforge and copies it
so that fontforge will load it on start up in the future.
Allows you to specify a namelist. All glyphs in the
current font will be renamed to match the scheme in the namelist.
Create Named Glyphs...
Allows you to specify a file containing a list of glyph names. FontForge
will create a sequence of unencoded glyphs with these names. This might be
useful if all your fonts contain small caps and you always want to have the
names "A.small", "B.small", "C.small" etc. or perhaps you always want the
ligatures "longs_longs_t", "f_longs", "f_j", etc.
General notes on encodings
Not all font formats support all encodings. SVG fonts will always be output
in a unicode encoding, truetype fonts in either unicode or one of the CJK
encodings, type1 fonts only support single byte encodings, etc.
In a CID keyed font you are not allowed to change the encoding (in essence
because there is none), but there is an entry
CID->Change Supplement which will
display the Registry/Ordering information and allow you to change the supplement.
FontForge knows about the following encodings by default:
ISO-8859-1 (Latin1) -- traditional encoding for western european characters.
Default encoding for http. Does not include the Euro sign.
ISO-8859-15 (Latin0) -- Replacement for Latin1. Does include the Euro.
ISO-8859-2 (Latin2) -- Central & Eastern European (Czech, Hungarian,
Polish, Romanian, Croatian, Slovak, Slovnian.
ISO-8859-3 (Latin3) -- Southern European (Esperanto, Maltese)
ISO-8859-4 (Latin4) -- Northern European (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian,
ISO-8859-9 (Latin5) -- Turkish
ISO-8859-10 (Latin6) -- Nordic (reworking of Latin4&Latin1)
ISO-8859-13 (Latin7) -- Another Baltic character set
ISO-8859-14 (Latin8) -- Celtic (Gaelic & Welsh)
ISO-8859-8 (Hebrew) -- (and Yiddish)
ISO-8859-11 (Thai) -- Also know as TIS 620
<there is no ISO-8859-12>
KOI8-R -- Cyrillic
Windows "ANSI" (CodePage1252)
ISO-10646-1 (Unicode, BMP)
ISO-10646-1 (Unicode, Full)
ISO-10646-? (Unicode, by plane)
(You can select a specific plane of unicode as an encoding (ie BMP, SMP,
JIS 208 -- Japanese Kanji (first 8000 characters)
JIS 212 -- Japanese Kanji (next 8000 characters)
KSC 5601 -- Korean (this is the 94x94 version of KSC 5601)
GB 2312 -- Simplified Chinese
Packed GB 2312 -- (I don't know what the proper name for this is, ASCII for
bytes<0x80, and GB 2312 EUC offset by 0x8080)
Big5 -- Traditional Chinese
Custom -- An unknown encoding
Glyph Order -- the glyph ordering used in the original font file.
An index to images of all the glyphs
You can also add new encodings to the set that FontForge knows about. There
are three menu items that manipulate a set of user defined encodings. As
always these specify both a character set and an encoding. The encoding has
a maximum of 256 entries, but the character set may be larger (up to 1024).
This means that you can define a font with extra characters. Since postscript
fonts can be reencoded at runtime this can be useful.
The Load Encoding command allows you to load an encoding(s) from a file.
Currently the file must either be in the format used by the unicode consortium
for mapping ISO
8859 encodings to unicode, or it must be a postscript encoding array.
The first format looks like this:
0x20 0x0020 # SPACE
0x21 0x0021 # EXCLAMATION MARK
A postscript file looks like:
/.notdef /dotaccent /fi /fl
/fraction /hungarianumlaut /Lslash /lslash
There may be more than one encoding in a postscript file. The encoding parser
is not smart. It will only read arrays specified like this, don't try any
of the innumerable other ways of specifying an array in postscript.
If the font has a custom encoding then the
Make From Font menu
item is enabled. This allows you to name the encoding you have defined for
the current font.
Remove Encoding menu item brings up a list showing all the
custom encodings and allows you to delete them.
Here's an example of a postscript encoding file.
IsoLatin -- (which specifies all the characters used in any of the ISO-Latin-*
AdobeExpert -- (Which contains things like lower case numbers, small caps,
fractions, sub/superscript numbers, etc.)
CodePage1250 -- Microsoft's encoding for Central European characters
CodePage1251 -- Microsoft's Cyrillic encoding
CodePage1252 -- Microsoft's Western European encoding (a superset of Latin1.
Sometimes called "ANSI" though I can find no ANSI standard that it follows)
CodePage1253 -- Microsoft's Greek encoding
CodePage1254 -- Microsoft's Turkish encoding
CodePage1255 -- Microsoft's Hebrew encoding (an extension of ISO-8859-8)
CodePage1256 -- Microsoft's Arabic encoding
CodePage1257 -- Microsoft's Baltic encoding
CodePage1258 -- Microsoft's Viet Namese encoding
CodePage874 -- Microsoft's Thai encoding
US-ASCII -- Not really useful by itself any more, but provides the first
128 characters of almost every other encoding.
Adobe has established a standard glyph naming convention which provides
intelligible names for many glyphs of unicode characters. And some unintelligible
A namelist is just a mapping from
unicode to glyph names (a glyph name must be made up of alphanumeric characters
(or the special characters '.' or '_'), it may not begin with a digit, and
it must be 31 or fewer characters in length.
FontForge provides a series of standard namelists:
Adobe Glyph List
This is the set of names that Adobe publishes on the web.
AGL For New Fonts
This is set of the names that Adobe recommends for the new fonts, without
the odd afiiXXXXX or the wrong commaaccent names.
AGL without afii
The cyrillic and hebrew glyphs have been assigned some very odd names (afiiXXXXX)
and some people prefer not to use them. This is now redundant that we
have AGL for new fonts which should be used instead.
AGL with PUA
Adobe has assigned part of the unicode public use area to hold some standard
glyph variants like small caps, subscripts, old-style numbers, etc.
Greek small caps
I've added some greek small cap assignments
The TeX typesetting system has its own set of names
The American Mathematical Society has its set of names (see the American
You may define your own namelist file. It should have the extension ".nam".
And it should contain a series of lines that look like:
In many cases you will just want to make a few modifications to an already
existing namelist. You can write:
Based: Adobe Glyph List
Which means the namelist is the same as the Adobe Glyph List except that
in your system U+0021 will be called "exclamation" rather than "exclam".
Any glyphs you do not explicitly name will be named "uniXXXX" or "uXXXXX"
where XXXX is the unicode value in hex. The prefix "uni" will be used for
glyphs in the BMP, the prefix "u" for glyphs outside.
I said that glyph names should contain only alphanumeric characters (and
some others). But really this is only true of glyph names that get output
into a font. If you design your own namelist you may include whatever glyph
names you like, using (almost) the full range of unicode -- provided you
rename all your glyphs to Adobe's names before you generate a font. If you
use non-ASCII characters you should encode the file in utf-8.
FontForge normally will restrict glyph names to be within the ASCII range,
but if you go to File->Preferences->Generic->UnicodeGlyphNames and
set it on you can use unicode.
I've created a french namelist which uses
accented letters. This will work fine within fontforge, and most rasterizers
will parse fonts generated using such names -- but they are non-standard
and may cause problems. Best to do a rename just before generating your font.
So if you find it easier to work with names other than those Adobe has
established you may create your own namelist file. Then use
Encoding->Load NameList... to load that into FontForge
(you only need do this once, FontForge should remember it thereafter). You
to decree that all your new fonts will use this namelist. You can change
a font's namelist with either:
You may also want to force a rename of all glyphs when you Open a font, and
the open dialog now lets you do this. Similarly when generating a font you
will probably want to force that font to be use the standard names of the
Adobe Glyph List.
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