Font family naming (FL & Word)

Topy's picture

I've completely ran out of ideas. I've read everything I could possibly find including Karsten's naming PDF, Adam Twardoch's Font Family Naming in FontLab Studio 5 [UPDATED in August 2012]. I've even tried CA Font Family Naming script [B] V0.990 and another script by RachelL. I have Fontlab version 5.0.4. Exporting in PS OT.

Fontlab settings:
-Use OT names as menu names on Mac (DISABLED)
-Write stored custom OT tables (DISABLED)
-Export only OT name records - ignore default (ENABLED)
-Use PS fontname as fullname on Windows (DISABLED)

I can't get my font to work in Word 2008 for Mac (v.12.1.0), some of the weights are not showing up at all. I've tried many things to get it to work but also what I tried was to copy the naming straight from Gotham. That because Gotham works perfectly as a one font menu item in all programs. Well, it didn't work even after I copied the additional Opentype menu names as they are.

Only different thing in my font is the name which is in two words and 23 chars long, excluding style names. Can't change that unfortunately. But that shouldn't keep the weight showing up at all, or should it? My weights are Hairline, Thin, Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold, Black+Italics.

ralf h.'s picture

You should show screenshots of your Font Info panel (»Names and Copyright«). Otherwise there is no way to tell what you have done wrong.

Topy's picture

Ok, hopefully I get all these attachments loaded. For the OT names, it's "Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu" as family name and weight name. Mac name field is empty.

pvanderlaan's picture

I remember there is a bug in Office for Mac that fonts with a Full Name longer than 29 characters do not get displayed in the font menu. :/

-Paul

Topy's picture

I have tried also shorter names just for the sake of it. Same results. And it's so strange that the weights not displayed seem not to be related to the name length. Names with long weight names get sometimes displayed and shorter names do not. I mean, I can't see any pattern there. Even for the long names, I've made sure the names are unique under 31 chars.

Does this bug concern also the newer Office versions?

kingofcapearcona's picture

Hello Topy,

have you tried to access the missing fonts besides the fonts toolbar? I mean, there is an option window, I think it’s accessed under the menu "Format" where you can chose which font to use. I "unfortunately" have only the German Version of Office 2011, so I can’t tell you the correct translation of the menu entry.

Anyway, I have some fonts not showing up in the font toolbar or the Fonts menu but appear in the font window, I mentioned.

-Thomas

Karl Stange's picture

All the versions of Office I have used on both Windows and Mac operating systems seem to have unique approaches to font metadata and what they are happy to accept. With that in mind I always aim on the cautious side with everything from the naming conventions to metrics, font format and even file naming, though this last one has really only been an issue for me with Office 2003 on Windows XP.

The other thing you will need to contend with is FontLab and how it exports fonts in different font formats. For example, I have noticed that different naming fields are exported depending on whether you choose to export to OpenType PS or Win TrueType/OpenType TT. This may well be something to do with the settings I have in place but I have never been able to figure out exactly what. With this in mind I always check exported fonts using TTX to be sure, and where needed make changes in the metadata using that tool.

Your font naming is highly unconventional and as a result of the alphabetic string you may be encountering some of kind of application level bias. Some applications (Adobe CS apps for example) apply exceptions to certain strings, such as "Adobe" and "ITC" so that these are effectively ignored. I do not know if this is the case but it is worth considering. With that in mind and because of the length of the name I would recommend trying an alternative naming scheme where you significantly reduce the name to something like the second part of your string "Opqrstu". This will also guarantee that you get the weight names under 31 characters. To be safe, you should ensure that every naming field is under 31 characters (including spaces). In every case when you export you should check the metadata in each font file using TTX to be sure that it has exported what you expect.

By way of example, I tested the open source font family, Lato using Entourage 2008 and Word 2011 and it worked without any problems. That family is not as big as yours but it might be worth downloading and looking at the naming metadata to see if anything jumps out at you.

ralf h.'s picture

So, which fonts do not show up?
As far as I can see, you only apply style-linking to the italic fonts.
Hairline italic is linked from Hairline (regular) and so on. Which means all those Italics will NOT be in the menu, but only accessible by pressing the Italic button when the respective regular style is active.

Karl Stange's picture

I have also just noticed an inconsistency in your naming conventions. By way of example, with your Regular weight and Italic combination you have put the Family Name: "Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular" but then for the PS Font Name you have only put "AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstu-Regular" when based on your family name it should be "AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstuRegular-Regular". In fact, for the regular weight you can omit the "-Regular" from the PS Font Name field altogether but for such a large family there are advantages to leaving it in to make things as clear as possible. To illustrate my point more clearly, I have listed an example of before and after conventions that would correct the issue, using the naming change I suggested in my previous post. I hope this helps.

Before

Regular
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular
Weight: Regular
Number: 400
[no boxes ticked]
Width: Normal
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstu-Regular
Full Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstu Regular

Regular Italic

Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular
Weight: Regular
Number: 400
[Font is italic ticked]
Width: Normal
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstu-RegularOblique
Full Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Opqrstu Regular
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnOpqrstu Regular

After

Regular
Family Name: Opqrstu Reg
Weight: Regular
Number: 400
[no boxes ticked]
Width: Normal
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: OpqrstuReg-Regular
Full Name: OpqrstuReg-Regular
Menu Name: Opqrstu Reg
FOND Name: OpqrstuReg Regular

Regular Italic

Family Name: Opqrstu Reg
Weight: Regular
Number: 400
[Font is italic ticked]
Width: Normal
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: OpqrstuReg-RegularOblique
Full Name: OpqrstuReg-RegularOblique
Menu Name: Opqrstu Reg
FOND Name: OpqrstuReg Regular

Additionally, on the OpenType-specific names page I would add the following:

OT Family Name: Opqrstu
OT Style Name: Regular (adding a space and "Oblique" for that variant)

With this last bit of metadata in the OpenType-specific names page, the "OT Family Name" field would remain the same for all weights and styles.

Topy's picture

Thanks Karl, will check Lato and report back. I don't want to open another can of worms here but I did try TTX to name all weights. It was advertised lossless but I lost 100k from the filesize when compiled back to OTF.

hrant's picture

Compression can still be lossless. Like in GIF (versus JPEG).

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

It was advertised lossless but I lost 100k from the filesize when compiled back to OTF.

I do not know what exactly would have caused that but I have seen a warning within TTX concerning the DSIG table:

!-- note that the Digital Signature will be invalid after recompilation! --

So, it may have something to do with that, or another field which cannot be recompiled correctly.

Topy's picture

And thanks for the examples too. That Regular-Regular didn't occurred to me, I'll make some tests.

Ralf: Ok I see, but how come all weights show up in Gotham and not in my font? It has the same Italic style links.

Karl Stange's picture

Additionally I have noticed a change in the icon (Mac OS 10.7.3) when recompiling, so it could be an incidental issue to do with file handling and the system level recognition and application association.

Topy's picture

Karl, I followed your advice and now all weights show up in Office. Regular weights show up in the list and Obliques can be used trough the Italic setting. I really appreciate for all your help and I'm happy that it works at all, but I must say, that the solution isn't as elegant as I'd hoped it to be. I'm still dreaming of a single family list item and all the weights in there. Looking into Gotham (a bit obsessed, sorry about that), I found out that messing with the OT name table list is where this can be done by entering only the OT family name into NID 1(Mac) and OT weight name into NID 2(Mac). There were also other differences to what FL's automatic import gives. As I don't have a clue what I'm doing in there, applying these changes to my font didn't produce good results.

I'm also wondering if those weight abbreviations are really necessary? I mean there are many commercial fonts that don't have those and are working nicely.

BTW, in FontExplorer's Style list, all weights are Regular/Italic/Bold/Bold Italic instead of showing the actual weight. It's only cosmetic, I guess?

Karl Stange's picture

As I don't have a clue what I'm doing in there, applying these changes to my font didn't produce good results.

When trying to figure out the naming conventions for a large family of fonts I find it very useful to map everything in a spreadsheet application. This also makes it easier to track changes.

I'm also wondering if those weight abbreviations are really necessary? I mean there are many commercial fonts that don't have those and are working nicely.

One of the great things about type design is the number of tools available to facilitate it but this often means that very different approaches are taken to reach the same end and with wildly varying results. Some foundries and developers employ custom tools to engineer their fonts which can provide greater control over tasks such as font naming. There is also generally a house style to how fonts are generated.

Karl Stange's picture

BTW, in FontExplorer's Style list, all weights are Regular/Italic/Bold/Bold Italic instead of showing the actual weight. It's only cosmetic, I guess?

I think the Style column in FontExplorer pulls information from several sources depending on what information is available in the font. Based on checking a couple of fonts in the application against their metadata it looks like it uses nameID2 and nameID17 depending on what is available.

Topy's picture

I actually edited the mentioned scripts to control the naming and map everything out. I couldn't figure out how to edit the Additional OT name table list with Robofab (anyone?), but it does cut the manual clicking in half as it is.

It's not just H&FJ fonts that has this naming structure I'm after; Neutraface, CamingoDos Pro, Pluto Condensed, KLIM Calibre. All with different origins, but are named in the same way. Seems almost like a common practise. I'm just asking if anyone knows how to make that kind of naming to work in my font, or why doesn't it.

One of the great things about type design is the number of tools available to facilitate it but this often means that very different approaches are taken to reach the same end and with wildly varying results. Some foundries and developers employ custom tools to engineer their fonts which can provide greater control over tasks such as font naming.

Karl, do you mean there are some nameIDs or other name properties that aren't available in FL?

Karl Stange's picture

do you mean there are some nameIDs or other name properties that aren't available in FL?

No, just that there are tools which are configured to handle the naming metadata differently. I am pretty sure that FontLab can handle all of the available metadata but there may be easier ways to control it. Adam Twardoch's font naming document has hinted at a revised approach to the way that FontLab products handle naming conventions:

This guide uses some new terminology that we will be introducing in our future products.

However, with the advent of an entirely new tool it is possible that this will never be implemented in the FontLab Studio application.

Karl Stange's picture

It's not just H&FJ fonts that has this naming structure I'm after

I have just tried using Gotham in Word 2011 and the font list is incomplete in the menu. All weights/styles are available but some can only be accessed through the Italic option, the Thin weight for example. However, if everything but the Thin weight (and Italic style) are removed then both Thin and Thin Italic will show up in the menu. This would indicate that Word handles large families and collections of weights/styles in a very specific way.

It's not just H&FJ fonts that has this naming structure I'm after; Neutraface, CamingoDos Pro, Pluto Condensed, KLIM Calibre.

There may well be a way of making it work but you would need to study those that do and play with the metadata of your fonts. If you do get all of those working in exactly the way you want I would be intrigued to know how.

Karl Stange's picture

Topy, I have run some tests and may have found a way of doing this. Can you post a screen shot of the Additional OpenType names field from one of the weights?

Topy's picture

Sure thing! I've made those changes I mentioned to NID 1&2.

Karl Stange's picture

Topy, below is an overview of the approach I took to this and which has so far worked in Word 2011 and InDesign (though appearing slightly differently in each one). After changing each section be sure to press the Apply box before moving on.

I also updated the Version and Identification/Identification settings/TrueType Unique ID record: field after completing the sections below for each weight/style as this is reflected in NID 3 in the Additional OpenType names record section and keeps things tidy.

Once this has been done for each weight/style I would then go to the Additional OpenType names record and select the Import Names (FI with dotted arrow) to update the information you have just amended before pressing the Apply button and saving the data and exporting. If it is not added when you update I would also add field 18 (Compatible Full (Macintosh only), copying the data from Mac Name field in each font, once again pressing Apply before saving.

I used this method with a set of fonts matching your number of weights and styles and it worked so hopefully this will solve your issue. Others may have a less cumbersome or scripted solution.

Abcdefghijklmn Black (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Black
Weight: Black
Width: Normal
Number: 700
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Black
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Black
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Black (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Black
Weight: Black
Width: Normal
Number: 700
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Black
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Black Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnBlack-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Bold (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Bold
Weight: Bold
Width: Normal
Number: 600
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Bold
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Bold
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Bold (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Bold
Weight: Bold
Width: Normal
Number: 600
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Bold
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Bold Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnBold-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Semibold (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Semibold
Weight: Semibold
Width: Normal
Number: 500
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Semibold
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Semibold
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Semibold (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Semibold
Weight: Semibold
Width: Normal
Number: 500
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Semibold
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Semibold Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnSemibold-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Normal (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Normal
Weight: Regular
Width: Normal
Number: 400
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Normal
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Regular
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Normal (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Normal
Weight: Regular
Width: Normal
Number: 400
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Normal
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnNormal-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Light (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Light
Weight: Light
Width: Normal
Number: 350
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Light
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Light
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Light (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Light
Weight: Light
Width: Normal
Number: 350
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Light
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Light Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnLight-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Thin (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Thin
Weight: Thin
Width: Normal
Number: 250
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Thin
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Thin
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Thin (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Thin
Weight: Thin
Width: Normal
Number: 250
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Thin
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Thin Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnThin-Oblique

Abcdefghijklmn Hairline (Regular)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Hairline
Weight: Hairline
Width: Normal
Number: 150
[no boxes ticked]
Style Name: Regular
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Regular
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Regular
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Hairline
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline Regular

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Hairline
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Regular

Abcdefghijklmn Hairline (Oblique)

Names and Copyright
Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn Hairline
Weight: Hairline
Width: Normal
Number: 150
[Font is italic ticked]
Style Name: Italic
PS Font Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Oblique
Full Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Oblique
Menu Name: Abcdefghijklmn Hairline
FOND Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline Oblique

OpenType-specific names
OT Family Name: Abcdefghijklmn
OT Style Name: Hairline Oblique
Mac Name: AbcdefghijklmnHairline-Oblique

oldnick's picture

Wow, Karl: that is one cool approach. Thank you for sharing it…

Karl Stange's picture

Nick, I'm glad you like it, my fingers now hurt : )

Topy's picture

Yes, thank you so much for the effort! Sorry about your fingers. Works great in my Office 2008 too! I guess Adam Twardoch's advice to delete the Mac ID's 16 & 17 doesn't matter here.

For everything to work properly, I found it true that names must be under 29 characters. That's way too tight limit in my opinion. Reminds me of that "64k should be enough for everyone" mess. You'd think the new software wouldn't rely on the old ID names anymore, concentrating to the OT fields instead.

To whichever direction Fontlab decides to develop the naming system, I hope they understand to include Import/Export functions to some readable format like XML, concerning all Font Info. Preferably so, that it can be applied to all open fonts. Nothing can beat the flexibility of that.

Karl Stange's picture

For everything to work properly, I found it true that names must be under 29 characters.

I think this is related to backwards compatibility, specifically metadata and file naming restrictions associated with older versions of Windows and some Microsoft apps; probably the Mac OS and apps too but I am less familiar with those restrictions. I recently created tailored versions of some fonts to work with Windows XP and Office 2003 and was happy just to get things working at all but I did find working within those restrictions was very informative and it is good to be mindful of if marketing fonts to a wide range of customers, particularly as XP and older versions of MS apps are still very widely used.

Karl Stange's picture

To whichever direction Fontlab decides to develop the naming system, I hope they understand to include Import/Export functions to some readable format like XML, concerning all Font Info.

They will always need to work with the restrictions of the font format. I am not sure what the restrictions are for OpenType but based on a discussion here recently about using numerals in font names (thought to be problematic in the past) it would seem that the best way to be sure is to generate fonts exactly as you want them and then test where they do and do not work. Another discussion around the use of unconventional names for weights and styles raises similar issues.

Topy's picture

With "Font info", I meant all information that is in FL's Font Info window. To ease the repetative form-filling and to save some fingers :)

BTW, at least for me, I found that filenames have no effect whether the font works or not. I've had 70+ char filenames working nicely.

Karl Stange's picture

BTW, at least for me, I found that filenames have no effect whether the font works or not. I've had 70+ char filenames working nicely.

I have only really seen this be an issue on Windows XP and even there I was following the system font approach to naming (eight characters) to avoid problems rather than knowing for certain that it is a problem.

Jeremy Dooley's picture

Are the NID PID EID LID field accessible through python? If so, can someone provide documentation?

eigi's picture

In FontLab with Python?

here:
http://www.e-font.de/flpydoc/html/NameRecord.xml.html

Best
Eigi

Thomas Phinney's picture

Your PS FontName and Full Name are functionally defective (though at least no longer illegally long for the PS FontName).

The reason for putting "Black" in a family name and "Regular" as the style is purely a Windows and style linking issue. The construction "Black Regular" should never appear in any single typographic name field; it's confusing and meaningless.

Is there some reason not to read and follow Adam Twardoch's guide to font name construction in FontLab Studio? http://forum.fontlab.com/index.php?topic=313.0

Regards,

T

Topy's picture

Thomas, I tried to follow it, but it didn't work. I guess its because the long names or two-word naming that wasn't addressed in the quide.

Thomas Phinney's picture

It doesn’t matter if the family name of the font is multiple words. Except of course that you could perhaps run afoul of length limits on certain fields. Just use both of those two words in place of the family name in Adam’s guide.

But yes, there are limitations on the lengths of various fields if you want the font to work properly (or in some tools, to even compile).

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