How to generate colour bitmap fonts for Mac OS 10.7/8

A while ago I researched out of curiosity if it was possible to build fonts with embedded colour bitmaps like the Apple Color Emoji font on Mac OS 10.7/10.8. I figured out the «sbix» table format and wrote some code that can be hooked into the Python FontTools to decompile and compile the sbix table which contains the image data.

Some of my research was generously allowed to happen during my working hours at FontShop International.

After pondering for a while what to do with this knowledge, me and FontShop International finally decided to make the code public to encourage experimentation.

So without further ado, please check out the attached demo scripts.

Can I make a color emoji font, like Apple Emoji font? How?


I wanna make a color emoji font, like Apple Emoji font. But I dunno how. I've used Symbola font too. I tried to import the images to the font, but I cannot. I dunno which software for developing the color emoji font.

Can I make it? How? Which the software (for example, Fontlab, FontCreator, etc.) they support and allow to import the images to the font? Need to be in Mac or Windows?