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'TTF DIacritics Encoding Tool' applies a diet to a .ttf font: it modernizes the way in which glyphs for precomposed Unicode characters are stored in a TrueType-flavored OpenType font, and reduces the font's file size.



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ttfdiet (TTF DIacritics Encoding Tool) applies a “diet” to a .ttf font: it modernizes the way in which glyphs for precomposed Unicode characters are stored in a TrueType-flavored OpenType font, and reduces the font’s file size.



The tool is EXPERIMENTAL, a proof-of-concept, and is intended for experienced font developers.

The tool is intended to create fonts that:

  • demonstrate the file size reduction that can be achieved by an optimization method similar to the one used by the tool,
  • test the level of applications’ basic OTL support, most notably for “ccmp” decomposition and “mark”/“mkmk” attachment. To test OTL support, install a dieted font and type a precomposed character such “Ä”, “á”, etc.

This tool is NOT intended to produce shipping-quality fonts.


  1. The tool requires Python 2.6 or newer and the fontTools/TTX package from:
  2. inputfont must be a TrueType-flavored (.ttf) fonts that contains a “glyf” table. It does NOT work with CFF-flavored .otf fonts.
  3. inputfont should contain a “GSUB” table.
  4. inputfont should contain combining marks (U+03xx) which should be assigned to the mark class (3) in the “GDEF” table.
  5. inputfont should contain a “mark” GPOS feature that positions the combining mark glyphs over base glyphs.
  6. ot-sanitise from is recommended.

Main functionality (“diet”)

Also see:

The tool applies a “diet” to a .ttf font — it optimizes how precomposed Unicode characters such as “Ä” are expressed in the internal font structures of a TrueType-flavored OpenType font. The diet reduces the size of the font, and also eliminates certain redundant and ambiguous information in the font.

The diet consists of the following steps:

  1. It “blanks” all glyphs that, in the “cmap” table, represent precomposed Unicode characters (such as U+00E1, LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH ACUTE), i.e. it removes all contours and components for those glyphs from the “glyf” table. Note: the tool cannot process the “CFF” table. Also note that the glyphs are “blanked” but not deleted, as their presence is required by the font’s “cmap” table.
  2. It deletes kerning pairs in the “GPOS” “kern” feature that involve any glyphs which have been “blanked” in the first step.
  3. It adds a “GSUB” lookup that substitutes every glyph that represents a precomposed Unicode character with a sequence of glyphs that represent the Unicode canonical decomposition of that precomposed character, and adds the lookup to the “ccmp” feature.

The typical size reduction of a multilingual font is 5–10%.

Optionally, the tool attempts to run OTS (ot-sanitise) on the outputfont. OTS is an open-source tool used by web browsers to verify web fonts before they are displayed. If the ot-sanitise test fails, the font may not reliably work in web browsers.


  • The tool assumes that the OpenType Layout engine which will use the font will “do the right thing”, i.e. apply the OpenType “ccmp”, “mark” and “mkmk” features during the text layout. Unfortunately, some apps, most notably Microsoft Word and the Adobe CC apps, don’t quite do that, so the dieted fonts won’t perform in these apps as expected.
  • The tool currently only deletes unneeded kerning pairs from “GPOS” PairPos Format 1 subtables (single glyph pairs, typically used for “exception kerning”). The tool currently does not in any way process “GPOS” PairPos Format 2 subtables, used for “class kerning”. Also, it does not add any contextual kerning.
  • The tool does not process the legacy TrueType “kern” table.


Usage: python [options] inputfont.ttf [outputfont.ttf]

The tool has a number of options, which are listed below.
To enable an option, specify it with the value 1.
To disable an option, specify it with the value 0.
Not specified options will use the default values shown below.

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v 1, --verbose=1     print additional information during processing

  File handling:
    -f 0, --fea=0       save 'ccmp' feature in AFDKO-syntax .fea file
    -S 0, --sanitise=0  1: test outputfont with 'ot-sanitise'; 2: also remove
                        outputfont if test fails

  Core diet options:
    -g 1, --glyf=1      remove components and contours from precomposed glyphs
    -k 1, --kern=1      remove precomposed glyphs from 'GPOS' kern
                        PairPosFormat1 subtables
    -C 1, --ccmp=1      add 'ccmp' subtable that decomposes precomposed glyphs
    -s list, --skipmarks=list
                        do not process precomposed glyphs involving these
                        marks; default list is
    -a 0, --repmarks=0  report marks missing in font that would allow a better

  Additional diet options:
    -c 1, --cmap=1      remove all 'cmap' subtables except Windows-platform
    -n 1, --name=1      remove all 'name' records except Windows-platform
    -p 1, --post=1      remove 'post' glyph names

  Various options:
    -r 1, --rename=1    add 'Diet' prefix to 'name' records (also enables
    -d 0, --dsig=0      add empty 'DSIG' table


Example 1

The docs folder contains the original font LatoKernTest-Regular.ttf (size: 8,496 bytes), which only has a few glyphs: A and W plus some accented variants and composing marks. There are also the two dieted fonts LatoKernTest-Diet.ttf (that contains the precomposed glyphs, 6,820 bytes) and LatoKernTest-Ultra.ttf (that has blank precomposed glyphs, 6,436 bytes).

Testing reveals that the dieted fonts correctly display the dynamically composed base+mark combinations, and kerning, in web browsers if font-feature-settings: 'kern', 'mark'; was explicitly applied. If these features are not explicitly applied, some browsers don’t apply kerning. The test file shows the undieted font, and then the two dieted fonts (Diet and Ultra).

Example 2

The docs folder contains the original font DroidSerif-Regular.ttf (v1.03, size: 248,904 bytes), and the dieted font (size: 224,000 bytes). In this case, the diet efficiency is 10%. The typical size reduction for multilingual .ttf fonts will be about 5–10%.

$ ./ examples/DroidSerif-Regular.ttf
Skipping marks with codepoints 031B 0321 0322 0334 0335 0336 0337 0338.
Dieting DroidSerif-Regular.ttf...
'GDEF' table's GlyphClassDef doesn't flag glyph 'uni0487' as mark. Corrected.
'GDEF' table's GlyphClassDef doesn't flag glyph 'uni20F0' as mark. Corrected.
Saving examples/
Diet efficiency: 10.0% (from 248904 to 224000 bytes)

Test results

We have performed some tests of a dieted font ( in some popular applications in some operating systems. If the “OK?” column says “yes”, then the test word Täćkòs displayed correctly in the app using the dieted test font. If the column says “no”, then blank glyphs appeared in place of the accented characters (which indicates that the “ccmp” and “mark” features were not applied).

OK? App Ver OS Note
no Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 OS X 10.10 Every-line Composer
no Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 OS X 10.10 Middle Eastern Composer
no Adobe InDesign CC 2014 OS X 10.10 Paragraph Composer
no Adobe InDesign CC 2014 OS X 10.10 World-Ready Composer
no Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 OS X 10.10
yes Affinity Designer 1.0.21458 OS X 10.10
yes Apple Keynote 6.5 OS X 10.10
yes Apple Pages 5.5 OS X 10.10
yes Apple Safari 8 OS X 10.10
yes Apple TextEdit 1.10 OS X 10.10
yes CorelDRAW! X7 Windows 7
buggy FontLab Pad 1.1.0 OS X 10.10 marks without base chars
yes Google Chrome 39 OS X 10.10
yes LibreOffice 4.3 OS X 10.10
yes MS Internet Explorer 11 Windows 7
yes MS Notepad 6.1 Windows 7
no MS Word 2011 OS X 10.10
no MS Word 2013 Windows 7
no MS WordPad Windows 7
yes Mozilla Firefox 34 OS X 10.10
buggy NeoOffice 2014.6 OS X 10.10 wrong kerning
yes Opera 22 Windows 7
no QuarkXPress 10 OS X 10.10
yes RedleX Mellel 3.2 OS X 10.10

Software License

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0


'TTF DIacritics Encoding Tool' applies a diet to a .ttf font: it modernizes the way in which glyphs for precomposed Unicode characters are stored in a TrueType-flavored OpenType font, and reduces the font's file size.







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