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HarfBuzz is a text shaping engine. It primarily supports OpenType, but also Apple Advanced Typography. HarfBuzz is used in Android, Chrome, ChromeOS, Firefox, GNOME, GTK+, KDE, LibreOffice, OpenJDK, PlayStation, Qt, XeTeX, and other places.

For bug reports, mailing list, and other information please visit:

For license information, see COPYING.


For user manual as well as API documentation, check:


For tarball releases of HarfBuzz, look here. At the same place you will also find Win32/Win64 binary bundles that include libharfbuzz DLL, hb-view.exe, hb-shape.exe, and all dependencies.

The canonical source tree is available on github.

The API that comes with hb.h will not change incompatibly. Other, peripheral, headers are more likely to go through minor modifications, but again, we do our best to never change API in an incompatible way. We will never break the ABI.

If you are not sure whether Pango or HarfBuzz is right for you, read Pango vs HarfBuzz.


For build information, see

For custom configurations, see

For testing and profiling, see

To get a better idea of where HarfBuzz stands in the text rendering stack you may want to read State of Text Rendering, though, that document is many years old. Here are a few presentation slides about HarfBuzz at the Internationalization and Unicode Conference over the years:

Both development and user support discussion around HarfBuzz happens on the github.

To report bugs or submit patches please use github issues and pull-requests.

For a comparison of old vs new HarfBuzz memory consumption see this.


HarfBuzz (حرف‌باز) is my Persian translation of “OpenType”, transliterated using the Latin script. It sports a second meaning, but that ain’t translatable.

Background: Originally there was this font format called TrueType. People and companies started calling their type engines all things ending in Type: FreeType, CoolType, ClearType, etc. And then came OpenType, which is the successor of TrueType. So, for my OpenType implementation, I decided to stick with the concept but use the Persian translation. Which is fitting given that Persian is written in the Arabic script, and OpenType is an extension of TrueType that adds support for complex script rendering, and HarfBuzz is an implementation of OpenType complex text shaping.

Packaging status of HarfBuzz

Packaging status