Help request : How can I adjust font 'line spacing'?

Jenny_Y8S's picture


The last time I created a font it was on an Amiga, so please understand I'm not fully up to speed with Ascent / Descent / Line Gap etc.

I need to create TTF versions (iOS compatible for iPhone & iPad) of pre-existing fonts but with adjusted 'line spacing' so that when displayed the fonts will appear to have a line spacing that differs from 1.0. So I'll start with 'arial.ttf' and end up with 'arial_linespace_large.ttf' for example. Yes I know it's a hack but when working on iOS software you get used to these sort of hacks.

I'm assuming I can do this using a tool such as FontLab? Is this 'simple' enough that a more basic package will do just as good a job? Mac software would be idea, PC I can do too.

Can someone either point me in the direction of what settings I need to adjust to create font variations like this? Or point me in the direction of where I should go to learn this? I posted here as it looked like an active forum, but if there's better places to ask this sort of thing I'm happy to move.

I want to test out this ASAP to check it'll work in practice as while this is all due to an apple bug where they 'forget' line spacing settings if you set the font value (crazy but true).

Anyone generous enough to help steer me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance.


John Hudson's picture

First check that the license agreement for the fonts permits you to make this kind of modification. You mention Arial, and I think you will find that this kind of modification is prohibited by the license agreement.

If you have a license that does permit this kind of modification, and this is the only thing you need to do, you don't need a full font tool such as FontLab, but only a table editor. You will need to adjust the OS/2 and hhea table vertical metrics settings. You can do it for free using the TTX dump/fuse tool, or can pay for a tool with an easy user interface such as DTL OTMaster.

John Hudson's picture

PS. To understand how to set metrics to achieve your goal, read the How To. Be sure to read the assorted updates near the bottom of that document.

hrant's picture

A fellow Amigan! How nice. Can you believe this Windows/Mac crap we ended up having to settle for? I for one will never get over it.

Concerning modifying fonts, at the risk of riling John -and others- I would state my own position, as a type designer who wants to account for our collective debt to precedent: feel free to modify fonts you've acquired legitimately as long as you make sure they don't end up in the hands of others; if they do, be willing to pay the price.


John Hudson's picture

Hrant, what does 'acquired legitimately' mean other than acquired under the terms of the license agreement of the legitimate licensor of the font? Your comment doesn't 'rile' me, I just think you shouldn't go around encouraging other people to actions that may result in legal difficulties.

hrant's picture

Clever with the "legitimate" angle. I guess what I'm saying is people should have the strength to violate things they consider unjust, but remain prepared to pay for possible consequences. Of course people shouldn't take legal advice from a type designer (often they shouldn't take it from a lawyer either...) and anybody who doesn't consider a no-mod clause unjust would feel no compulsion to violate it.

Don't do something because you think you can get away with it; do something because you believe in it whether you might get away with it or not.


oldnick's picture

…this is all due to an apple bug where they 'forget' line spacing settings if you set the font value (crazy but true).

Crazy, perhaps, but not unsurprising: Apple abandoned its core mission long ago, and is now all about glitz…

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