FontForge Installation and AutoKern

cdavidson's picture

Hi all,
I was wondering if it were possible to use FontForge's AutoKern feature to kern only one character.

My problem is that I have set up the kerning for most of the characters I have and recently introduced a new one. I don't want to run AutoKern and remove the custom kerning that I have done on those.


Khaled Hosny's picture

If you are using a recent version of FontForge, when you create a new kern subtable, you will be presented by a dialogue where you can select glyphs you want to autokern. Check the documentation.

cdavidson's picture

I tried creating a subtable under my original horizontal kerning lookup and was presented with a dialogue after naming the new subtable:

Kerning may be specified either by classes of glyphs or by pairwise combinations of individual glyphs. Which do you want for this subtable? PAIRS / CLASSES / CANCEL

I selected Pairs,and was then confronted with this box:

I didn't see the Kerning Format box appear.

I'm running the 2009-09-08 release of FontForge for Intel 64bit Macs under 10.6.

Khaled Hosny's picture

The latest release is 2010-05-01, but George no longer provide pre-built binaries, you have to either get binaries from third parties (e.g. any Linux distribution, MacPorts on Mac) or build it on your own (that is what I do myself). I just checked MacPorts and they list the latest version on their website.

cdavidson's picture

Thanks for your help, Khaled. Although as I've got no idea what to do with , I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you for guidance on how to get the actual programme...

Khaled Hosny's picture

I've no idea either, I never used Mac OS, but I guess you need to install MacPorts first, and use it to install fontforge. You can follow the installation instructions and other documentations.

cdavidson's picture

Okay, I installed MacPorts and did the things required to install FontForge via this page:

I can tell that FontForge has been updated, it now has little icons in the menus, but when I select Help/About, I am informed that the installed build is Version 02:34 GMT 8-Sep-2009 (20090908) and the library is 13:17 GMT 5-Sep-2009.

If this is correct, this is not the latest 2010-05-01 build.

So I'm really quite confused now. How do I go about installing the 2010-05-01 build if the MacPorts sudo port install fontforge only gives me the 2009 version?

Many thanks to anyone who can lend a hand on this. Messing around inside the Terminal really isn't my thing!


EDIT: I just run port info fontforge and was told that I have fontforge @20100501... which case, I am still not being presented with the Kerning Format dialogue... and I guess I shall presume that the information in the About box was incorrect when it told me I have the 20090908 version?

Khaled Hosny's picture

I'd first make sure to remove the previously installed FontForge, and then install it through MacPorts, looks like you are getting the old one.

cdavidson's picture

Khaled, thanks so much for your help. After a bit of messing around inside hidden folders deleting stuff (and then realising I could just type sudo port uninstall fontforge I managed to get rid of it and then install the latest version with sudo port install fontforge... and now I'm getting the glyph selection window.

Whew! What an epic journey that was!

cdavidson's picture

Now that I have the option to set which glyphs I want to kern, I'm curious as to how to select more than one kerning pair (for instance, ra, rb, rc etc) to make use of the 'AutoKern Selected' button in the Lookup Subtable box. At present, it seems I can only click one kerning pair at a time. Using the shift key to select multiple does not work.

Does anyone know how to select more than one kerning pair?

Many thanks

Khaled Hosny's picture

"Selected" here refers to glyphs selected in the main font view not in the kern dialogue itself. (you can't select glyphs while the dialogue is opened, you have to close it, select, and re-open it).

cuttlefish's picture


That is to say, I have nothing to add, but I too have been struggling to update Fontforge since the last installer build. I hope this works.

_null's picture

Fontforge always causes me grief, it's worth it for spiro though.

My technique from source goes:
Install XCode from apple
Install macports and fontforges required libraries (pango, freetype etc) via their app
Fire up terminal and go to the fontforge source folder

and then i have a fresh fontforge app, after a few minutes of hardcore terminal output.

cuttlefish's picture

I think the problem I'm having is in not deleting the old version before attempting building the new one.

_null's picture

The old version shouldn't pose any problems, although that depends on where your building from.
If your compiling from source (and it builds correctly - watch for warnings in the terminal window) it will write over your existing versions. You've given it sudo privileges so you won't get/see any feedback on this happening.

I'd stay away from the pre-compiled versions. The dev guy doesn't seem to support mac as a priority, and the last time i checked he doesn't test his releases on many flavours of mac. The source versions work just fine though.

My assumption is that the build takes all those libraries in the hidden folders (usr, lib etc) which your populating via macport and and dumps the finished build into applications (don't ask me how it knows!).
For the record, i've had to do this on four macs ranging from 10.4 to snow leopard. it works.

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