How to Edit TTF Fonts

By Scott Knickelbine

Editing or creating your own TTF fonts takes time and patience, but there are plenty of tools available.
i spike font image by Adrian Hillman from

True Type Fonts, or TTF fonts, are used in most Windows applications, and many Mac programs can use them as well. You can edit and even create your own TTF fonts, as long as they are open-sourced. There are several programs available that let you get your hands on the basic mechanics of a TTF font. Once you see how much work goes into the creation of every character--or "glyph"--you'll gain a new appreciation for the thousands of TTF fonts available on the Internet.

Open your font-editing software.

Import the font you wish to edit by selecting either "Import" or "Open" from the "File" menu. You typically must specify whether the font is already installed in Windows or whether it's in its own file.

Select the character, or glyph, you'd like to edit from the gallery of font characters that appears.

Modify existing glyph curves and contours. You do this by selecting the handles (usually red boxes) that appear on the outline curves that make up the glyph, and dragging them to change the shape of the curve.

Add new characters, if you like. Select the Add Glyph option--often found in the main menu bar; this brings up a menu of all possible characters in the font. Select a character that is not yet defined in your font. This brings up a blank edit screen. You can create your character by adding new curves to it, using the "Add" option. You can also import a bitmap picture of the glyph and trace it with new curves. When you click "Save," your new character appears in the glyph gallery.

Save your font by selecting "Save" from the "File" menu.