Creating a True Type Font with Corel Draw 8
A while ago I couldn't find a dingbat font which had exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own. After a lot of searching I found out enough to get me started and, after a lot of trial and error, succeeded in making a few dingbats of my own. It is really quite easy, but finding out how to do it is not.
This little tutorial is intended for complete beginners and will show you how to make a couple of simple shapes. I don't think I am a very good teacher - I find it difficult sometimes to put into words what I want to say, but I will try to explain one or two points as I go along, and I hope I have made it clear enough. The same procedure worked in Corel Draw 6 and 8, and as far as I know in earlier versions also.
Well, here goes:
- Open up Corel Draw and make your page size 10 inches square. Make yourself a new folder called 'myfont' (not very original I know, but easy to remember). Save the file. (You can, of course, give your font any name you wish, but for the purposes of this tutorial let's stick with 'myfont'. If your font turns out to be brilliant, and you decide to market it, you can always change its name later - just click the "Options" button).
- A bullet is always a handy thing to have, so we will start with that. Draw a circle 9.5 inches in diameter, center it on the page and give it a black fill and no outline. Then convert to curves (Ctrl Q).
- Export the image (Ctrl H). Save as type True Type Font in the folder 'myfont'. The file name 'myfont' will already be highlighted - leave that as it is. Click export (or press enter).
- Now you get the Options Box. Type 'myfont' into that as the family name, and check the 'symbol font' box. The other default values can be left. Click OK. Click 'yes' to the question 'Save Changes to Font File'.
- Now you will see the True Type Export Box with the bullet in the left hand window. In the center there is a horizontal scrolling list of the available characters. The first character in the list is the Exclamation Mark, and you will see that it is highlighted. Click OK to assign the Exclamation Mark to the bullet. The bullet is the first character in the font and will become the default character. (Don't worry about this for now, an explanation follows at the end of the tutorial).
And that's the first character in our font all ready to use - not too difficult, was it?
- So, on to the next character. This time an outline diamond shape.
Create a diamond shape (mine is 8 inches horizontal by 9.841 vertical - it doesn't have to be exact, just make the longest dimension a little less than the 10 inches of the page). Center the diamond on the page, then make a duplicate diamond approximately 6 inches horizontal by 7.381 vertical and center that also. Select both images, convert to curves and then combine the objects together (Ctrl L). This will give you a diamond with a black outline and a white center.
- Export (Ctrl H). Click OK. This will bring up the True Type Export Box with the diamond in the left hand window. We are going to assign the diamond to the letter A, so scroll down, click on the letter A, click OK. And that's all there is to it.
Just repeat step 7 for each symbol or character you make. When you export the next character the letter B will have automatically been selected, and so on. The characters in the scroll box are grey but will change to black when they have a character assigned to them.
- I am not an expert on font-making and I have no idea if this is the correct way or the best way to make a font. The method I have described I have found out from tips I have read here and there and through trial and error and it seems to work OK.
- The font can be used at any time, even with only one character in it, so you can install the font and try it out. You may be able to export new characters to the font with it installed. On my computer, sometimes it works and sometimes I get an error message "Cannot write to the selected font file". If this happens, just uninstall the font and it should be OK.
- If you do find you can't export new characters with the font installed you can navigate to the font in Windows Explorer and double click to open the Font Properties Box and minimise it to the taskbar. The font is usable whilst the Font Properties Box is open. I don't know if this tip will work with any programme but it does with Corel Photopaint and Paint Shop Pro.
- The characters you create must be converted to curves and must be exported as a single object using Combine (Ctrl L) not grouped together.
- Any overlapping parts of the character will not be shown as filled when combined, as with the outline diamond we created above.
- The character has to be made with closed curves to export properly.
- New characters can be added any time to the font.
- I said I would explain about the default character. The bullet we made as our first symbol was assigned to the 'Exclamation Mark' but, as the first character in the font, it is also the default character. The diamond symbol was assigned to the letter 'A'. If you try out the font you will see that every character you type, except the letter 'A', will print as a bullet. As we are just making a dingbat font here it is not important. If you were to progress to making alphabet fonts, you would need to choose the default letter with care as it cannot be changed.