Small release of several python scripts

benkiel's picture

For all who may find them useful, I've just posted a series of Python/RoboFab scripts for typeface design/production. These scripts have been developed for the way that I work, so your milage with them may vary. Currently they have all been tested with FontLab 4 and RoboFab 1.1 on the Mac. There are scripts for automatic placing of accents, dealing with development VFB files with lots of overlaps and composites, quickly generating multiple instances of a MultipleMaster typeface for testing, and a couple of other things.

The scripts can be found at

Miguel Sousa's picture

I've used them and all I can say is: Recommended!
For me these were, and still are, real time-savers.

John Hudson's picture

Thanks, Ben. I look forward to experimenting with these. The accent placement script looks quite similar to something I've been wanting for a long time. (Yo, Adam, where's my friggin' composite management script already?)

Randy's picture

These are great. The smart generate font is a stroke of genius. Remove those pesky overlaps while preserving your original. I didn't realize I needed it, but smile every time I save a minute. The accent generator is also useful and I'm experimenting with tayloring it to my own workflow.

Can you tell us a little more about your workflow with accent glyphs?


benkiel's picture

I create my accented glyphs as one of the later things I do in a design. Once I've designed the accents, tested them briefly with Spanish, German, and French, and feel that they are appropriate weight and size, I start placing anchors for everything. This usually takes a bit of time to get right, as deciding what the optical centers for your glyphs and accents are is more of an art than a strict number. To help speed placing along, I start with anchors in the center of the glyph (halfway from furthest left edge to the furthest right edge). The scripts for placing anchors does this automatically for me. I then check and adjust as need be. Depending on the design of the typeface this can be a lot of adjustment or not so much adjustment (geometric Sans? very simple. very calligraphic Roman? lots of adjustment).

With my anchors placed, I run my script and start to check the glyphs. Some accents, such as the cedilla and ogonek, need to be further incorporated into the design. Most glyph, however, if the anchors were placed well, are done.

I sometimes go a bit overboard and do accent designs for capitals, lowercase, and small capitals. That's why my script allows one to have different designs for each: otherwise creating all of those glyphs by hand would take far too long.

John Hudson's picture

Ben, what's your current e-mail address? I'd like to talk to you about a script I've spec'd.

benkiel's picture

ben [at]

Mark Simonson's picture

Is there some trick to getting RoboFab to work in FLS5/Mac? I've had it working in FL4.6 for a while, but it doesn't work in FLS5/Mac. It's as if it's not installed.

Also, does anybody know if the problems with running FL4.6/Mac on a dual G5 are still present in FLS5/Mac?

benkiel's picture

There is a trick or two, but its well documented here:

I'm not sure if the dual processor problem has gone away, but seeing as RoboFab and FontLab are now using the system version of Python for FL5, chances are good that it may be resolved. Those more informed may know.

Mark Simonson's picture

It works! Thanks, Ben.

It seems that the Dual G5 problems are gone.

benkiel's picture

I've just updated the betterGenerateFont script. It's better now.

blank's picture

Thanks, Ben. That script saves me at least five minutes a day.

benkiel's picture

Thanks to Rob Keller and Claus Eggers Sørensen for finding a couple of edge cases and pushing to have things speeded up. A newly updated version is now at the above location.

Dario Muhafara's picture

Dear Ben, I've been using your betterGenerateFont but it seems that with new changes on FL 5.1 it is not longer working. Do you think it is an FL problem or something i am doing wrong? best,d

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