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Convert your Generic Fonts to GIFs!

(Download GF2GIFs for free!)

What is GF2GIFs?

GF2GIFs is a Java program that allows you to convert a GF (Generic Font) file into a collection of GIF images.

What are "Generic Fonts"?

Generic Font files are the output of METAFONT, the wonderful font design system created by Professor Donald E. Knuth. If you are altogether unfamiliar with METAFONT and Generic Font files, then you likely will have no use whatsoever for GF2GIFs.

What exactly does GF2GIFs do?

GF2GIFs takes a Generic Font file as input and produces a set of GIF images (one for each character in the font) as output.

The Generic Font file format can be used to represent fonts or other collections of two-color bitmapped images. The definitive specification for the format is the gftype program by D. R. Fuchs that is included with most installations of Knuth's renowned TeX typesetting software.

GF2GIFs takes a Generic Font file as input and uses the character bitmap information to generate Java MemoryImageSource objects as the GF file is being parsed. These are then converted to GIF images using Jef Poskanzer's publicly available GIF Encoder.

Why would one want to use GF2GIFs?

Well, that's a pretty good question.

GF2GIFs is mostly just for fun, but there are basically two situations I can think of in which you might want to use it:

  1. font design - if you do any font design with METAFONT or any other program that produces Generic Font output, you might use GF2GIFs to view proofs of your characters in a web browser (or other GIF viewer), or to post such proofs on the web so that others could easily view (and critique) them; and

  2. font display - as of the year 2000, there is surprisingly still no consensus on how (commercial) fonts should be embedded in web pages. GF2GIFs does not provide a serious solution to this problem, since using a GIF image for each character in your text is, to put it generously, mildly inefficient. But hey, GF2GIFs is free, and so are METAFONT sources for a large number of fonts. So if you need to display some hieroglyphics or some Klingon text, or if you absolutely must have some backwards text on your page, GF2GIFs might present a functional, albeit cumbersome, solution.

Download GF2GIFs now!

If you'd like, you can view the Javadoc API docs first.