typetool - alignment zones

Michael Green's picture

im trying to work out how i can set up guides for overshoots eg. the 'o'

any ideas? or is fontlab the only one that can do this?


Arno Enslin's picture

Good question. I don’t find anything about that in the manual and the font info dialog does not have a hinting section. For the case, that it is not possible to set the alignment zones with TypeTool, you can decompile the font with TTX and insert the zones manually. They are stored in the cff table.


Primary Zones (in this example you have four): <BlueValues value="-250 -240 -10 0 420 435 590 600"/>
Secondary Zones (in this example you have two): <OtherBlues value="460 470 570 580"/>

Other important hinting parameter:

<BlueScale value="0.04"/>
<BlueShift value="7"/>
<BlueFuzz value="1"/>
<StdHW value="80"/>
<StdVW value="110"/>
<StemSnapH value="80 90"/>
<StemSnapV value="70 110"/>
<ForceBold value="1"/>


But it would be odd, if you can set hints with TypeTool, but no alignment zones. Or can you autohint your font with TypeTool only? If yes, I recommend to autohint the font with the autohinting program belonging to the AFDKO.

No, you can edit hints with TypeTool. It would be very odd, if you can’t edit alignment zones likewise.

Michael Green's picture

thanks for the help ill look into the AFDKO

just working through 'learn fontlab fast' page 49 is slowing me down a bit


Arno Enslin's picture

But the AFDKO autohinting program is probably not setting the stem and blue values automatically, but expects, that they are present in the font. As far as I remember it only computes the glyph individual hints, but not the font global hinting parameters. I assume, that you can set the alignment zones and stem values also with FontForge.

The AFDKO contains a program, with the help of which you can compute the heights and depths of glyphs and the frequences of stem widths.

But if you are not experienced with the AFDKO, I recommend, that you first use TypeTool for autohinting. It probably is setting the stem width values automatically and (if it uses the same procedure as FontLab!) in my experience it does a relative good job there. And then you can use the AFDKO for regenerating (overwriting) the hints.


Have a look at this: http://forum.fontlab.com/typetool/turn-off-blue-alignment-zones-t7007.0....

Seems to be, that at least displaying the alignment zones with TypeTool is undocumented.

Michael Green's picture

slightly confused with the definition of hinting based on typetool menu bars.

i was under the impression that hinting was to do with the rendering on a computer screen?

i am just looking to be able to set a global overshoot per font

should i consider fontforge? i cant afford the upgrade to fontlab right now

Michael Green's picture

disregard my post. i have worked out the autohinted.

typetool > me


Arno Enslin's picture

i am just looking to be able to set a global overshoot per font

The alignment zones are global. All glyphs, that are in a zone with their tops/bottoms are aligned to the same height/depth (in low resolutions).

You need different alignment zones for the capitals and small letters for example, where both groups share the same bottom zone. So you had three alignment zones in this case. Additionally you may need an alignment zone for the ascenders and descenders and small caps. Maybe also for certain groups of figures.

Arno Enslin's picture


You may need alignment zones for the ascenders and descenders and small caps.

Michael Green's picture

thanks for the help arno - im getting there! :)

Arno Enslin's picture

Does anybody know, if there is a way to unlock the alignment layer in TypeTool? The shortcut for viewing the layer is ctr-shift-z on Windows. That is undocumented but it is the same shortcut as in FontLab. But there is no default shortcut for unlocking the alignment layer in FontLab. So I wonder, whether the shortcuts are stored in the registry. If they are stored there, it is maybe possible to store a key with the unlocking shortcut in the registry for TypeTool. I cannot understand, that you can change the individual hints in TypeTool, but not the global hinting parameters.


By the way, I dislike it, that the FontLab tools share the directory with the encoding files and other important files. I wish, that each program would store its data in its main installation directory only.

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