RISC World


Aaron Timbrell rounds up the software directory

Welcome to this issue's DiscWorld column. This issue we are keeping with our "serious" software policy and are delighted to present a free copy of FontFiend, the most powerful RISC OS font editor, free for all subscribers. This also provides an excellent opportunity to answer the question that literally nobody has ever asked, "Why call it 'The Fiendish Font Editor'?". The answer is simple, take the title letters and read them backwards. What do you get? The answer is EFF, which is short for the Electronic Font Foundry. Why? Well I used to work there in the early 90's. On leaving I decided that I needed a font editor of my own and that's how the FontFiend project was started. It was never designed to be a commercial product. I wrote it for myself to edit and design fonts for sale under the iSV Products banner.

When the market for RISC OS fonts finally dried up in the late 90's I decided that since I wouldn't be using FontFiend myself I might as well tidy it up a little and sell it so others could take advantage of the features (which at the time were well ahead of equivalent applications on other platforms). Now you too can have a play. As one final note as far as I am aware FontFiend holds the record for the RISC OS application that can handle the most number of simultaneous windows, almost 600 at once. You have been warned!


FontFiend - the Fiendish Font Editor rrp £29

FontFiend is the intelligent font designer. FontFiend can make fonts with Latin 1,2,3 or 4 character sets. Automatically make accented letters and symbols in your font. Worried about the "black arts" of hinting a font. FontFiend can do this for you automatically.

FontFiend can also repair damaged fonts that won't load into FontED as well as loading many fonts that FontED cannot cope with. Supplied with a comprehensive printed manual and full on-line help FontFiend is the professional font designer.


Requires RiscPC with minimum 8Mb of RAM

FontFiend is the font editor the Acorn community has been waiting for. Some of its hundreds of features include:

  • Fully illustrated manual with examples and tutorial sections.
  • Supports interactive help.
  • Full time context sensitive on-line help system on the FontFiend button bar. This can be disabled if the user wishes.
  • Loads Risc OS 2, Risc OS 3 and Base 0 Acorn outline fonts.
  • Saves out in Risc OS 2 or Risc Os 3 format, Risc OS 3 fonts can include kerning and misc data areas.
  • Can also load Kerning files, AFM files, Skeletons, Scaffolds and Composites from other fonts.
  • Can import and export draw files and incorporate them in existing or new fonts.
  • Automatic character builder. FontFiend can make accented letters, daggers, brackets and a number of symbols automatically.
  • Automatic scaffold models including Serif and SansSerif.
  • Encoding based, so FontFiend can handle Latin 1,2,3 and 4 fonts as well as custom encoding files.
  • Automatic skeleton routines.
  • Intelligent routines that understand fonts and are able to draw new characters in the style/weight of the existing font.
  • Accent auto-centering system so that FontFiend can automatically add accents to oblique/italic fonts.
  • Transformation system to make new weights from existing fonts. When transforming FontFiend will also shift composite characters, correct accents, move scaffolds and skeletons as well as disconnecting any scaffolds that are no longer valid.
  • Edit a fonts misc data area including underline position and thickness.
  • Real time dragging of composites using the mouse.
  • Offers the same main table features as FontED including copy characters, insert composites and copy scaffolds..
  • Can hint a font in under 20 seconds, including producing a proper scaffold tree.
  • Automatic scaffolding systems allows both global scaffolds and linear linking to improve quality.
  • Can repair damaged fonts that will not work or load into FontED.
  • Can load fonts that FontED cannot. For example fonts with "Cyclic Scaffold Link" errors.
  • Save out Kerning, Scaffolds or Skeletons and reuse them on another font. Loaded files are automatically scaled to fit the font being edited.
  • Can convert Base 0 fonts to any latin encoding.
  • Display both outline and filled versions of characters.
  • Can save out protected fonts that cannot be examined by a user.
  • Convert composite characters to real outlines and skeletons.
  • Full manual and automatic scaffolding control.
  • Can delete defective scaffolds or skeletons.
  • Includes special filters to clean excess control points, grid lock characters e.t.c.
  • Flip characters either horizontally or vertically.
  • This is only a small list of the hundreds of features offered by FontFiend.


    • "It's excellent!" Kevin Simpson a trained typographer
    • " excellent piece of software...a must for anyone at all interested in font design." Toby Richards Dalmation
    • "...should be called fontfriend...meets my needs for latin3 fonts very well." Mr M. Omagh
    • "...a truly awesome program." Keith Parker
    • "...I was really impressed." Mr P Fareham
    • "Excellent product...certainly allows much easier manipulation of fonts." Mr D Stroud

    FontFiend is StrongARM compatible and is suitable for all 26bit and 32bit versions of RISC OS.

    The complete DiscWorld line up

    As per usual we have our collections of the latest RISC OS applications, as well as support files for this issues articles:


    BBC BASIC to C converter.


    Exclusive Foundation RISCWorld DFS disc reader.


    Full version of FontFiend, the RISC OS font editor.


    Software featured in the Iyonix column.


    Software covered in the letters column.


    This contains two sets of Toolbox Modules. The Castle archive contains the latest 26/32 bit neutral system components, required if you want to run a lot of new software releases on 26bit machines. The RISCOS Ltd archive contains later and improved versions of a number of modules and is suitable for all versions of RISC OS from 3.1 onwards. We have also included copies of SharedUnixLib and UnixHome as these are needed by some programs.


    Support files for the VirtualAcorn technical support article.


    Wakefield 2008 show photos by Colin Sutton.


    Programming examples from our latest book serialisation.

    Aaron Timbrell