Using fonts with InDesign and Wine (or other places you need many fonts)

Norsk Målungdom just got a new beefy computer to make the member paper. Norsk Målungdom (Norwegian Language youth) fight for the Norwegian language, as most people (90%) write Danish-Norwegian and not real Norwegian.

When the computer came I kinda laughed because they wanted to run Windows on it, but Windows can’t use the loads of RAM that they’d bought for it. And Windows isn’t really good at using those 4 cores either. So I suggested Ubuntu Linux 8.10 Intrepid, as I knew InDesign 2.0 (which they are using) would run with a gold standard in Wine.

Non-truetype fonts, type1, oft, pfb et al

However, fonts+wine did not go so well together. Wine only supports ttf-fonts (or at least not Type1 / pfb pfm), so I had to convert them to TrueType (ttf) using FontForge. This has already been done by others.

Windows only supports a fixed set of TTF-font variants

When opening InDesign, some fonts were missing. Like Conga Brava Regular, or ITC Stone Sans Bold. This was of course not tolerable, so my good friend Leif Arne tried to fix it. However, he ran out of time, and so I had to try.

We saw that some of the font-variants came through, italic, regular, light, condensed, bold, black, semibold. But there was never really more than 4 options, or less. So it didn’t look OK. And I came to remember a limit in Windows from the old days; it cannot have more than 4 variants.

So, since the fonts were Type1 in Windows (which Wine doesn’t support), but TrueType in Wine, we met the limit, and the font’s didn’t show up. Luckily, I found a way to work around the problem: giving them new names!

The solution: how to make Wine see all the TrueType fonts

OK. You’ve already converted your Type1 fonts into TrueType in FontForge like this:

  1. Open the font in FontForge
  2. Go to File -> Generate Fonts
  3. Choose TrueType and save, ignore the errors (if they are not fatal)

But now only some fonts show up in your Wine program (like InDesign). So, we have to make a new name for the font versions that don’t show up.

Say you use Stone Serif Regular, Semibold and Semibold Italic. But you only have Bold, Italic, and Black (named completely wrong as well). So, remove the files that don’t show up from your ~/.fonts/ folder (or whereever you keep them).

  1. Open the fonts in FontForge
  2. Go to Element -> Font Info…
  3. Change Fontname, Family Name and Name for Humans to your alternative name

I just added “Od” inside the name. So for Silentium Pro (version RomanI) that would’ve been:

  • SilentiumProOd-RomanI
  • Silentium Pro Od
  • Silentium Pro Od RomanI

That’s all, work away in wine/InDesign!

Of course, I want to get them over to Scribus instead of InDesign, but one step at a time!

I hope that you’ll comment on this entry if you had the same problem and this helped you. I didn’t find any information when I searched for it. This could’ve saved me a full day of frustration. I’m thinking about writing down such errors, so that it may be easier to search for them.

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