Hinting vs Links

liquisoft's picture

I'm currently working on a new typeface in FontLab, and found two options which, as far as I can tell, produce the same result: Hinting and Links.

FontLab of course has no help menu and no explanation one way or the other. Hinting, of course, helps the letterforms appear crisp on screen, but what does Linking do that is better or worse?

Any clarification would be helpful.

hrant's picture

FontLab does however have a PDF manual.


John Hudson's picture

[This thread probably belongs in the Build forum]

When you generate a font, links are interpreted as hints and exported as such. The difference between them in terms of editing is that a hint is a distance in the cartesian space, while a link is a distance between two specific nodes. I tend to go back and forth between links and hints depending what kind of tasks I am performing (and I have set up keyboard shortcuts to switch back and forth quickly). Links are most useful if you want to move outline nodes while maintaining the relationship of hints to those modes. Links were added to FontLab at the same time as Multiple Master interpolation, and they allow you to easily maintain the same link -- and hence hint -- structure between different masters.

So why not just use links all the time and never hints? There are circumstances in which one might want a hint to not connect directly with outline points. If one is manually hinting a PS font, one can affect rendering by shifting the hint off the outline, which one cannot do in link mode.

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