How to Install RoboFab on Windows for Dummies

oli_type's picture


since two weeks i try to install robofab on mi windows vista system. but it doesnt work.
i got phyton 2.4 and now also python 2.3, install dialogkit and fonttools with a phython file... so on. Can anybody tell my -step by step for dummies- how i can install robofab and it will work?

thanks a lot

pvanderlaan's picture


Just installed RoboFab on XP myself and indeed it wasn’t completely straightforward. Especially getting FontTools to work required manual editing of a file. Here are my steps:

1. Python 2.4.4
[Bad link]
download: "python-2.4.4.msi"
Run the downloaded file

2. NumPy
[Bad link]
download: "numpy-1.2.1-win32-superpack-python2.4.exe"
Run the downloaded file

3. Robofab+FontTools+DialogKit
[Bad link]
download: "RoboFab + FontTools + DialogKit Combo"
Unzip file and place it in Program Files directory. I also shortened its name to "RoboFab226"

4. Robofab install
Go the the abovementioned "RoboFab226" directory, open the "RoboFab" directory and either:
– double click: install
– or open the Command Prompt and use C:\Python24\python.exe "C:\Program Files\RoboFab226\RoboFab\"

5. DialogKit install
Go the the abovementioned "RoboFab226" directory, open the "DialogKit" directory and either:
– double click: install
– or open the Command Prompt and use C:\Python24\python.exe "C:\Program Files\RoboFab226\DialogKit\"

6. FontTools install
Go to C:\Python24\Lib\site-packages
Open "dialogKit.pth" in a text editor
Replace its text by "C:\Program Files\RoboFab226\FontTools\Lib"
Save the file as "fonttools.pth"

Now open FontLab,
check in the properties window if Python is installed (otherwise you might need to check the FontLab preferences)
open a new macro window ("Edit macro")
type "from import world ; print world"
and run it.

Hope this helps!

oli_type's picture


thank you much,

i will check this tomorrow
and give you an awnser.
hope tha'll work

oli_type's picture


Works very well, thank you so much!

pvanderlaan's picture

No problem! I was pretty chuffed to get it running myself considering I’m a Mac user... :)

And before I forget: there’s a collection of scripts in the Robofab directory. Copy them to the Macros directory in the FontLab application directory.

vanblokland's picture

Thanks for the post, Paul! Very useful to have the steps and versions listed.

Volunteers offering to build a better installer for Windows are always welcome :)

anedelev's picture

Thank you! Finally it works!

John Hudson's picture

Thanks again for posting this information, Paul. I just had to install Robofab on a new system while travelling, and I couldn't remember the fonttools.pth step.

pvanderlaan's picture

Happy to help. :)

aaronbell's picture

Saving this thread for later (in case I forget). Thanks again!

Igor Freiberger's picture

A great contribution. Thank you, Paul.

eli zohar's picture

Than you for the information
in steep 3
I not find the "DialogKit Combo" from the link
"DialogKit" only is the same file?

pvanderlaan's picture

I suggest to download the “RoboFab, FontTools, DialogKit, Vanilla Combo” from that page. I haven’t checked it out myself, but it is the current “all-in-one” package.

eli zohar's picture

Thanks again

noisiak's picture

In case someone is installing Robofab with FontLab 5.2 without any luck, try this (following the above steps):

1. Python 2.7.x

2. Numpy 1.7.1 (or later) for python 2.7.x

3. RoboFab 599 (or later) with all dependencies (plusAllDependencies zip file)

4. Same

5. Same (when saving the fonttools.pth file select the ANSI encoding system, others like UTF-8 may cause errors later)

6. Run the code, you should get something like this:
"Robofab is running on win32, Python version: 2.7, Mac stuff: None, PC stuff: True, FontLab stuff: True, FLversion:, Glyphs stuff: False, Glyphs version: None, RoboFont stuff: False, RoboFont version: None"

If you get any Traceback or Import Error is because there is something wrong with Python installation or the other libraries, so you must try again.

Ah, don't copy the Robofab Scripts folder, instead copy the folders inside the Scripts folder (Fontlab can't read macros that are on folders inside folders) and paste in the macros folder (may be on this address: C:\Users\UserName\Documents\Fontlab\Studio 5\Macros). Check the scripts with the Macro toolbar (inside FontLab, go to View/Toolbars/Macro).

Many thanks to pvanderlaan! ¡Buena suerte!

Note: If you came to this post from this another in the FontLab forum: [Bad link] please be sure to follow this updated steps first. The FontLab forum post cited the steps published in 2011.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

just did this with Win7 64bit, python 2.4.4 (32bit) and robofab599 in an admin account.

depending on where you have installed python, fontlab and the robofab folder, windows will protect changes done by other programs, so the setup routines etc. just don't do anything (but you don't get a warning about this).

so make very sure - even if you have an admin account running - that your python command shell (python.exe) is executed with administrator rights (rightclick> properties > compatibility > run as admin) before doubleclicking the install scripts. also make sure your text editor is running in admin mode when editing the path files.

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