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BDF to SFD converter, allowing to vectorize bitmap fonts


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bdf2sfd is a BDF to SFD converter, allowing to vectorize bitmap fonts. It works by converting each pixel of a glyph to a polygon, which produces large and unoptimized SFD files that should be post-processed using FontForge.

There are several reasons why it might be desirable to convert bitmap fonts to OpenType or TrueType versions. This allow for example to use them as Web fonts, or simply to keep using them in some terminal emulators, since Pango 1.44 dropped support for bitmap fonts.

It was originally created to generate OpenType versions of Spleen, and is released in the hope it can be useful to convert other fonts as well. Please be aware that it works best on fonts proportional to 8x16. Other sizes will work but the aspect ratio will not be preserved. There is currently little interest in addressing the issue.

bdf2sfd is written with security in mind and is running sandboxed on OpenBSD (using pledge). Experimental seccomp support is available for selected architectures and can be enabled by setting the ENABLE_SECCOMP variable to 1 when invoking CMake. It has also been extensively fuzzed using AFL and Honggfuzz.


bdf2sfd uses the CMake build system and does not requires any external dependencies.

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

bdf2sfd has been successfully built and tested on OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Linux with both Clang and GCC.


bdf2sfd packages are available for:


bdf2sfd [-hv] [-f name] [-p name] font.bdf

If file is a single dash (`-'), bdf2sfd reads from the standard input.

The options are as follows:

-f name	Specify font name.
-p name	Specify PostScript font name.
-h	Display usage.
-v	Display version.

bdf2sfd outputs SFD data to stdout.


The SFD files created by bdf2sfd should be post-processed with FontForge in order to remove overlap and simplify shapes.

This can be done as follow:

fontforge -lang ff -c 'Open("spleen.sfd"); SelectAll(); RemoveOverlap(); Simplify(-1, 1); Save("spleen.sfd")'

Producing OTF and TTF fonts

After post-processing, OpenType and/or TrueType fonts can be produced as follow:

For OTF fonts:

fontforge -lang ff -c 'Open("spleen.sfd"); Generate("spleen.otf")'

For TTF fonts:

fontforge -lang ff -c 'Open("spleen.sfd"); Generate("spleen.ttf")'


bdf2sfd is released under the BSD 2-Clause license. See LICENSE file for details.


bdf2sfd is developed by Frederic Cambus.



Packaging status

Packaging status