8. Converting TrueType Fonts to a groff/PostScript Format For groff

This potentially requires a bit of work, simply because it depends on some utilities that are not installed as part of the base system. They are:


TrueType to PostScript conversion utilities. This allows conversion of a TrueType font to an ascii font metric (.afm) file.

Currently available at http://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/pub/GUST/contrib/BachoTeX98/ttf2pf/. Note: These files are PostScript programs and must be downloaded to disk by holding down Shift when clicking on the link. Otherwise, your browser may try to launch ghostview to view them.

The files of interest are:



  • ttf2pf.ps

The funny upper/lower case is due to their being intended also for DOS shells. ttf2pf.ps makes use of the others as upper case, so any renaming must be consistent with this. (Actually, GS_TTF.PS and PFS2AFM.PS are supposedly part of the Ghostscript distribution, but it is just as easy to use these as an isolated utility. FreeBSD does not seem to include the latter.) You also may want to have these installed to /usr/local/share/groff_font/devps(?).


Creates font files for use with groff from ascii font metrics file. This usually resides in the directory, /usr/src/contrib/groff/afmtodit, and requires some work to get going.


If you are paranoid about working in the /usr/src tree, simply copy the contents of the above directory to a work location.

In the work area, you will need to make the utility. Just type:

# make -f Makefile.sub afmtodit

You may also need to copy /usr/contrib/groff/devps/generate/textmap to /usr/share/groff_font/devps/generate if it does not already exist.

Once all these utilities are in place, you are ready to commence:

  1. Create .afm by typing:

    % gs -dNODISPLAY -q -- ttf2pf.ps TTF_name PS_font_name AFM_name

    Where, TTF_name is your TrueType font file, PS_font_name is the file name for .pfa, AFM_name is the name you wish for .afm. If you do not specify output file names for the .pfa or .afm files, then default names will be generated from the TrueType font file name.

    This also produces a .pfa, the ascii PostScript font metrics file (.pfb is for the binary form). This will not be needed, but could (I think) be useful for a fontserver.

    For example, to convert the 30f9 Barcode font using the default file names, use the following command:

    % gs -dNODISPLAY -- ttf2pf.ps 3of9.ttf
    Aladdin Ghostscript 5.10 (1997-11-23)
    Copyright (C) 1997 Aladdin Enterprises, Menlo Park, CA.  All rights reserved.
    This software comes with NO WARRANTY: see the file PUBLIC for details.
    Converting 3of9.ttf to 3of9.pfa and 3of9.afm.

    If you want the converted fonts to be stored in A.pfa and B.afm, then use this command:

    % gs -dNODISPLAY -- ttf2pf.ps 3of9.ttf A B
    Aladdin Ghostscript 5.10 (1997-11-23)
    Copyright (C) 1997 Aladdin Enterprises, Menlo Park, CA.  All rights reserved.
    This software comes with NO WARRANTY: see the file PUBLIC for details.
    Converting 3of9.ttf to A.pfa and B.afm.
  2. Create the groff PostScript file:

    Change directories to /usr/share/groff_font/devps so as to make the following command easier to execute. You will probably need root privileges for this. (Or, if you are paranoid about working there, make sure you reference the files DESC, text.enc and generate/textmap as being in this directory.)

    % afmtodit -d DESC -e text.enc file.afm generate/textmap PS_font_name

    Where, file.afm is the AFM_name created by ttf2pf.ps above, and PS_font_name is the font name used from that command, as well as the name that groff(1) will use for references to this font. For example, assuming you used the first tiff2pf.ps above, then the 3of9 Barcode font can be created using the command:

    % afmtodit -d DESC -e text.enc 3of9.afm generate/textmap 3of9

    Ensure that the resulting PS_font_name file (e.g., 3of9 in the example above) is located in the directory /usr/share/groff_font/devps by copying or moving it there.

    Note that if ttf2pf.ps assigns a font name using the one it finds in the TrueType font file and you want to use a different name, you must edit the .afm prior to running afmtodit. This name must also match the one used in the Fontmap file if you wish to pipe groff(1) into gs(1).

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