FreeType is a freely available software library to render fonts.
It is written in C, designed to be small, efficient, highly customizable, and portable while capable of producing high-quality output (glyph images) of most vector and bitmap font formats.
Some products that use FreeType for rendering fonts on screen or on paper, either exclusively or partially:
Counting the above products only, you get more than a billion devices that contain FreeType.
FreeType 2.8.1 has been released. This is mainly a maintenance release with one important change: By default, FreeType now offers high quality LCD-optimized output without resorting to ClearType techniques of resolution tripling and filtering. In this method, called Harmony, each color channel is generated separately after shifting the glyph outline, capitalizing on the fact that the color grids on LCD panels are shifted by a third of a pixel. This output is indistinguishable from ClearType with a light 3-tap filter.
See here for a extensive list of changes; noteworthy bug fixes are correct handling of B/W TrueType hinting and some OpenType variation font handling issues.
FreeType 2.8 has been released. CFF2 support and OpenType variation font handling is now complete; the auto-hinter now understands 25 more scripts, for example N'Ko and Tifinagh.
See here for a list of changes; noteworthy bug fixes are the handling of TrueType fonts: unhinted loading didn't work as expected, and the light auto-hinter used incorrect metrics.
The FreeType project was accepted to be part of Google Summer of Code 2017! Here's a link to our ideas list – if you have another one, please write to our mailing list so that we can discuss your suggestions, eventually adding them to the list. And if you want to participate as a student, now is the time to discuss everything, again using the mailing list.
FreeType 2.7.1 has been released. The most important news is preliminary support of Adobe's new CFF2 font format and variation fonts as specified in the new OpenType specification version 1.8. It also fixes the handling of raw CID fonts (which might be found in PDF files)
See here for a list of changes.
We start a new ‘minor’ series, which finally allows us to activate a new default mode for bytecode hinting (see also the announcements below for version 2.6.4 and 2.6.5): Subpixel hinting, also known as ClearType hinting.
In case you are already using subpixel hinting (for
example, by using the ‘Infinality patches’ as
provided by some GNU/Linux or BSD distributions, or
from bohoomil.com), be
noted that the new mode might provide subtle differences;
the code was simplified to make it much faster.
If you are used to the old full-pixel hinting, you will
see many rendering changes. If you really dislike them,
you can disable them at compile time or using the
A description of the remaining changes can be found here, as usual.
This release is almost identical to the previous version, with two differences.
FreeType 2.6.4 has been released. The most important change is a new bytecode hinting mode for TrueType fonts that finally activates subpixel hinting (a.k.a. ClearType hinting) by default.
The new release also brings support for the following new scripts in the auto-hinter: Armenian, Cherokee, Ethiopic, Georgian, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Malayalam, Sinhala, and Tamil.
See here for a detailed list of changes.
FreeType 2.6.3 has been released. It brings support for four new Asian scripts in the auto-hinter (Khmer, Myanmar, Kannada, and Bengali), together with other, minor improvements and bug fixes.
See here for a detailed list of changes.
FreeType 2.6.2 ships with three interesting details for users and developers of rendering libraries that deal with text. Read more.
FreeType 2.6.2 has been released. This is a minor release that mainly provides better handling of malformed fonts. All users should upgrade.
A new feature is stem darkening support for the auto-hinter. Note, however, that it is off by default, since most graphic systems don't provide correct linear alpha blending with gamma correction, which is crucial for a good appearance. For the same reason, stem darkening for the CFF engine is now off by default, too.
See here for a more detailed list of changes.
FreeType 2.6.1 has been released. This is a minor release that corrects problems with CFF metrics, and that provides better handling of malformed fonts. Two notably new features are auto-hinting support for the Lao script and a simple interface for accessing named instances in GX TrueType variation fonts.
See here for a list of changes.
FreeType 2.6 has been released. This is a new major release that provides a better (and simpler) thread-safety model. Among other new features we now have auto-hinting support for Arabic and Thai, together with much improved handling of Apple's GX TrueType variation font format.
See here for a list of changes.
FreeType 2.5.5 has been released. This is a minor bug fix release: All users of PCF fonts should update, since version 2.5.4 introduced a bug that prevented reading of such font files if not compressed.
FreeType 2.5.4 has been released. All users should upgrade due to another fix for vulnerability CVE-2014-2240 in the CFF driver. The library also contains a new round of patches for better protection against malformed fonts.
The main new feature, which is also one of the targets mentioned in the pledgie roadmap below, is auto-hinting support for Devanagari and Telugu, two widely used Indic scripts. A more detailed description of the remaining changes and fixes can be found here.
If your company is using FreeType in your product, and you care about continuing support and further development, please contribute to my funding effort so I can continue to bring the best text rendering to your devices!
Alternatively, direct donations to my PayPal account are also highly welcome :-)
Besides user support and fixing bugs, your money will help me implement the following issues.
FreeType 2.5.3 has been released. All users should upgrade due to fixed vulnerability in the CFF driver (CVE-2014-2240).
Its main new feature is much enhanced support of auto-hinting SFNT fonts (i.e., TrueType and CFF fonts) due to the use of the HarfBuzz library. A more detailed description of this and other changes can be found here.
FreeType 2.5.2 has been released. It fixes a serious bug introduced in version 2.5.1; all users should upgrade.
A listing of the changes can be found here.
FreeType 2.5.1 has been released, providing three major new features.
Among other changes I want to mention that FreeType's TrueType debugger (ttdebug) has been made more versatile. An exhaustive list of changes can be found here.
Thanks to a very generous donation by Pierre Arnaud from Epsitec, the pledgie campaign for FreeType has reached its goal. I want to say thank you again to all donors! Of course, noone stops you from further donating to the campaign :-)
After integration of Adobe's CFF module and Google's color emoji support, I will use the next months to work on the remaining issues that I've promised to implement. Stay tuned!
FreeType 2.5 has been released. A major new feature is support for color embedded bitmaps (eg. color emoji), contributed by Behdad Esfahbod on behalf of Google. Additionally, Adobe's CFF engine is now the default, which makes a good reason to change from the 2.4.x to the 2.5.x series.
On the technical side, the property API to access FreeType module parameters (FT_Property_Set and FT_Property_Get) is now declared as stable.
[Please download the 126.96.36.199 bundle of the FreeType library, which fixes a packaging error.]
FreeType 2.4.12 has been released. A major new feature is a new parsing and hinting engine for CFF fonts, contributed by Adobe in collaboration with Google. It was my job the last few months to fully adapt the code to FreeType, and we are very pleased with the results. You might also read the blog entries from Adobe and Google.
In connection with the new CFF engine, the demo programs, especially ftview and ftdiff, have been improved a lot; as usual, more details on the changes can be found in the release notes.
I also want to say a big thank you to all the people who have already donated to the campaign! In particular I want to thank Adobe, which has contributed to half the total pledgie amount.
I've started a pledgie campaign for FreeType development and maintenance. While no single company employs me (Werner Lemberg) directly to work on it, I am constantly improving it, adding new features, relentlessly driving up quality, and responding to other developers’ requests.
If you or your company is using FreeType in your product, and you care about continuing support and further development, please contribute to my funding effort so I can continue to bring the best text rendering to your devices!
Besides user support and fixing bugs, your money will help me implement the WOFF font format and extending FreeType's auto-hinter to support more scripts, together with other issues as outlined in the roadmap.
FreeType 2.4.11 has been released. This is partly a security release (for users of fonts in BDF format), but it also contains important improvements:
See this file for the complete release notes, which give more details.
The website has been redesigned, giving it a more recent look to enhance readability and to make navigation easier. Note that only the two topmost levels have been changed yet; the remaining pages will follow.
FreeType 2.4.10 has been released. This is minor release, fixing mainly a problem for GhostScript. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.
FreeType 2.4.9 has been released. This is mainly a security release, fixing many potential vulnerabilities. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.
FreeType 2.4.8 has been released. This is a security release, also providing a new API for accessing dictionary data in Type 1 fonts. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.
FreeType 2.4.7 has been released. This is a security release. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.
FreeType 2.4.6 has been released. This is a security release. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.
FreeType 2.4.5 has been released. This is a maintenance release. All users should upgrade, especially if you still experience rendering degradations with version 2.4.4. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.