Using Gerber Font Designer

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Okay Gals and Guys ...... let's learn how to convert a TrueType font into a fully functional Gerber font. We will want to do this with fonts where we want to be able to loosen or tighten spacing and using the normal TTF conversion process does not give us this valuable feature.

Instead we will "Disjoin" the font into individual characters which will be saved as PLT files. We do this with most fonts we want to use in Composer. Connected scripts would be the primary exception, where we would want to preserve the original kerning and spacing scheme.

The following procedures are mostly pictures of basic File Management functions, so bear with me if you're one of the few that actually don't need this type of information. Any font to be converted must first be installed as a Windows TrueType font.

Step 1 - Create a folder into which to disjoin the font. Open Windows Explorer and create a new folder. You may name it whatever you like and it may be anywhere you'd like it to be. In our example we have created an empty folder under C:\Jobs and named it Fonts. Close Windows Explorer when done.


Step 2 - Launch GSP TT Font Converter


Step 3 - Select the font to be converted and click the Disjoin button. Today we are going to convert Optima Black. If you use the "Styles" feature of Font Manager, you can also assign a font style at this point by using the Styles button.


Step 4 - After clicking Disjoin, navigate to the folder created in Step 1 and Click OK.



Step 5 and 6 - Open Composer and open a suitable character to establish a reference height for capital letters. In this example we are using the capital "H". The "E", "I", "X" or any number of other characters might have also been used.


Selecting the character displays it's height and width. Write down the measurement for the height. Close Composer.


Step 7 - Launch Font Designer.


Step 8 - Click on File > Set Directory


Step 9 - Navigate to C:\Jobs\Fonts and Click OK.


Step 10 - Click on File > Font Settings. The dialog that next appears will allow you to enter the font name (anything you like) and the reference capital letter height. You may also enter a unique font number or allow Font Designer to select it for you. Other available check boxes are primarily used in special situations and will not be covered here. After entering the font name and reference height, click OK.


Step 11 - Clicking "Setup" will take you to an intermediate area where you can select which characters will be used in creating the font's spacing and kerning scheme. Clicking "Process" will use Font Designer's default scheme which we have found to be acceptable. So we will then click on "Process" on the Menu Bar. FontDesigner now takes all PLT files in the selected directory and gathers them into a font.


Step 12 - When all the files have been assembled, a dialog appears which allows you to set the tightness of the spacing of the font and the number of passes Font Designer will make in creating it's kerning scheme. We have found a tightness of 4 and 4 passes to be a good setting for most fonts. Make whatever settings you want and click the Process button.



A message will appear when the processing is done advising of the successful completion of the making of the font. Close Font Designer.

Step 13 - Open Composer, select the new font and enter text.


This is a feature of both Omega and Graphix Advantage that is overlooked by a lot of users. This tutorial takes longer to read than it takes to convert a font using Font Designer.

Try it, you'll like it.