Microsoft’s Font Maker app feels like something your parents should know about: a fun, quirky, but still useful way of turning their handwriting into an actual font for invitations and other personalized notes. 

Microsoft quietly launched Font Maker in conjunction with the beta releases of Windows 10 that it distributes to members of its Windows Insider program. But it’s really just an app that can be downloaded from the Windows Store, and you can download and use it even if you have an ordinary version of Windows 10. Creating a font from your handwriting should take about five to ten minutes, tops.

The only real requirement is a touchscreen PC, preferably a tablet that you can lay flat to ink upon. And yes, you’ll probably want a stylus, preferably an active one. You can create your own fonts using a mouse, but the letters probably won’t look like your handwriting, which is really the point.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 Mark Hachman / IDG

While a stylus isn’t essential to create a font with Microsoft Font Maker, you’ll have an easier time of it if you do.

A quick bit of setup

Before you begin, take a moment and ensure your pen is set up correctly. Connect it via Bluetooth, if it isn’t already. You can use a passive stylus if you’d like, though an active one allows you to easily erase mistakes. (Don’t sweat it, though—simply creating a new font isn’t a reason to run out and spend $99 on a Microsoft Surface Pen.)

You can either click the pen icon on the taskbar or manually enter the Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink menu to tweak your pen’s settings further. Here, I’d recommend telling Windows which hand you write with and ignoring touch input while using your pen. Windows didn’t do a great job of ignoring my palm while creating my font, causing me to bounce out of the app on a few occasions.

Microsoft Windows 10 pen settings Mark Hachman / IDG

Check those pen settings within Windows before you begin.

Otherwise, you’re almost ready. Download the Microsoft Font Maker app from the Windows Store, which weighs in at a bit more than 50MB.

Create your first Font Maker font in minutes

After first launching Font Maker, you may see a permissions screen asking you to allow Microsoft to anonymously collect your inkstrokes to improve Windows. Whether you choose to do so is up to you; it won’t affect your ability to use Font Maker.

Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a page of individual character templates, which may hearken back to your kindergarten days. For each character, there’s a “guide” that quickly disappears when you begin inking within the box. Other lines will guide you in how large to make each character, as well as how to align each whorl and loop. Note this is an English-language font guide; I haven’t seen any options for umlauts or the French cedille, for example.





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