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Some sources of free TrueType fonts:
Amazon Free Fonts
Font Freak
Microsoft TrueType Fonts
Downloads
Download a set of NT font definitions here.
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Using TrueType Fonts in ArcInfo

ArcInfo comes preinstalled with only a handful of fonts. Fortunately, it is easy to increase the number available to you. Many ArcInfo users have access to a wealth of TrueType fonts, some of which come packaged with Windows 95/NT and graphics programs such as Corel Draw. These fonts are easy to install, and using them is no more difficult than using the fonts that came preinstalled with ArcInfo.

Installing a new font is a two step process:

1 If you are using UNIX, you will need a place to put your fonts. I suggest you create a directory called pcfonts under your ArcInfo fonts directory. The fonts directory can be found under ArcInfo's root directory, which can be located by looking at the environment variable ARCHOME from the UNIX prompt.

From the UNIX prompt type:

     unix% echo $ARCHOME

You can copy the font files in a number of ways. For example, you might type:

     unix% cp ariblk.ttf $ARCHOME/fonts/pcfonts

If you are using Windows NT, then your job is a little easier. You won't need to copy your font files anywhere, and can simply reference your system fonts folder (usually c:\winnt\fonts). You will still need to know the value of your ARCHOME environment variable, which can be found by entering the following line at a DOS prompt:

     C:\>echo %ARCHOME%

2 Now, edit the ArcInfo font definition file, called fontindex. This file is stored in the directory /locale/c subdirectory under the folder specified by the ARCHOME variable. Note that to edit this file on some systems, you may need administrator privileges.

Fontindex is simply an ASCII file detailing font information for ArcInfo. The following is a sample entry for the font Arial Black.

TRUETYPE 70000 $ARCHOME/fonts/pcfonts/ariblk.ttf 70000
TRUETYPE 'Arial Black'
TRUETYPE ArialBlack
TRUETYPE Arial_Black
	 NAME   = 'Arial Black'
	 FAMILY = Arial
	 STYLE  = Black

In an NT environment, you would change the first line to:

TRUETYPE 70000 c:\winnt\fonts\ariblk.ttf 70000

The keyword TRUETYPE tells ArcInfo that we are defining an entry for a TrueType font. The number 70000 is the font number. You can use any numbering scheme you want, but I suggest that you start numbering your fonts at 70000, and work your way up. This will avoid any collisions with the fonts that come preinstalled with ArcInfo. The font number must be unique, and has to be added to the definition line twice, as shown. (It can also be used as an alternative method of referring to the font; in this case textfont 70000 and textfont 'Arial Black' are equivalent.) Next is the name and path of the font file. Note that in UNIX, you can use the string $ARCHOME to refer to the top-level ArcInfo program directory, as shown.

Additional TRUETYPE entries simply list alternative names for the font. Note that if these names contain a space, they need to be quoted, as shown above. The NAME, FAMILY and STYLE fields come last and contain information about the font, which is used by ArcInfo's textedit program and can be displayed by various ArcPlot [show] functions.

WARNING: Before editing fontindex, make a backup! And when editing the file, take care not to change or delete any existing entries!

You're done. Simply save the file, and restart ArcEdit or ArcPlot. The new font information will be loaded, and you will be able to use your new fonts with the textfont command, just as you would any others in ArcInfo. Note that you do not need to issue the textset command to access the fonts.

Additional Tips:

  • If your new fonts fail to work properly, check to be sure that the name and path are correct. If there is an error, ArcInfo will not always warn you, and may instead simply use an "invisible" font.
  • ArcInfo seems to treat strings with and without spaces as the same. For example, 'Times New Roman' is equivalent to TimesNewRoman. Therefore, you should not declare these as two different aliases of the same font. You could use either parameter with equivalent results. Both 'Times New Roman' and TimesNewRoman will work with the textfont command, regardless of which you use in your font definitions.
  • If you want to use a proportionally spaced font (whether you installed it yourself or it came with ArcInfo), you must issue the ArcPlot command textquality proportional before the font will be displayed properly.

NT Users

I have prepared a set of font definitions that include the most common NT fonts. This file will only work if you are using a standard NT environment, and haven't defined any ArcInfo fonts in the low 70000 range. To use it, make a backup of your fontindex file, then append the font definitions to it. You can, of course, add any additional fonts you want to the end of the appended file. Download the NT font definitions here.


This document deals only with the technical issues involved with using TrueType fonts with ArcInfo,
and assumes that you have the legal right to use any fonts that you install on your system.

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