How to Make a Free Handwriting Font

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You can create your own handwritten font for use in word processors, computer themes and other applications on your computer. Font creation has been known to be an expensive endeavor for those who aspire to make type, but it can be done for free using free open source software. (Note that the word "font" means the type of one size and face of a certain character set, while "type" are the style of printed characters in general.)

  • Write the alphabet on a piece of paper with a black felt tip pen or marker (not a ballpoint). You can use a template to minimize editing time later by creating uniformly spaced and sized letters (see Resources).

  • Scan the piece of paper containing your handwritten alphabet into your computer using a flatbed scanner. Scan in grayscale in the bitmap (.bmp) format and use a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. (If you don't have a scanner, you can take a picture of the handwriting with a digital camera and then import the picture into your computer.)

  • Import your scanned image into a raster graphics editor such as Gimp. Gimp is an open-source graphics program that can be downloaded for free (for limited functionality, you can use the paint program that comes with your operating system). Clean up the edges of the font with the eraser tool and make alterations if you want using other tools in the "Tools" dialog.

  • Open your bitmap in a vector graphics editor. Inkscape is a powerful vector graphics editor that is also open source and freely available, as are Alchemy and Dia. Trace your bitmap image (click "Path" and then "Trace Bitmap" in Inkscape) and save as an SVG file. This will vectorize your image; type must be saved in a vector format for crisp edges and scalability.

  • Import your SVG file into FontForge, a free open-source font editor (click "File" and then "Import"). Make corrections if you want and then generate your font. Go to "File," "Generate" and select the ".ttf" file extension. This will create a TrueType font for use in most computer applications on all major operating systems.

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