A simple library for font loading and glyph rasterization using FontConfig, FreeType and pixman.
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Daniel Eklöf 1bbff467a8
ci: run codespell on CHANGELOG.md
2 months ago
.builds ci: run codespell on CHANGELOG.md 2 months ago
doc doc: update version to 2.3.2 2 months ago
fcft fcft: grapheme rasterize: we want to be able to pass tags=NULL 5 months ago
unicode license: add Unicode license file, closes #4 7 months ago
.gitignore gitignore: subprojects directory 5 months ago
.gitlab-ci.yml ci: run codespell on CHANGELOG.md 2 months ago
.gitmodules tllist: remove submodule 5 months ago
CHANGELOG.md changelog: fix link to ‘unreleased’ 2 months ago
LICENSE license: add missing license (MIT) file. Closes #3 7 months ago
PKGBUILD meson/pkgbuild: bump version to 2.3.2 2 months ago
README.md readme: add repology packaging status badge 2 months ago
fcft.c fcft: destructor: ensure *all* “copies” of a font is destroyed 2 months ago
generate-unicode-precompose.sh meson: generate a table of pre-composed unicode characters 9 months ago
generate-version.sh fcft: log fcft version when logging freetype+fontconfig version 7 months ago
log.c log: \e -> \033 since \e is a gcc extension 6 months ago
log.h log: include 'fmt' in __VA_ARGS__ 6 months ago
meson.build meson: stdthreads: simply set required: false 2 months ago
meson_options.txt meson: add option -Dtest-text-shaping=false|true 5 months ago
test.c fcft: add limited support for “fontfeatures” 2 months ago



Packaging status

fcft is a small font loading and glyph rasterization library built on-top of FontConfig, FreeType2 and pixman.

It can load and cache fonts from a fontconfig-formatted name string, e.g. Monospace:size=12, optionally with user configured fallback fonts.

After a font has been loaded, you can rasterize glyphs. When doing so, the primary font is first considered. If it does not have the requested glyph, the user configured fallback fonts (if any) are considered. If none of the user configured fallback fonts has the requested glyph, the FontConfig generated list of fallback fonts are checked.

The API is documented as man pages. These are built and installed when fcft is built as a standalone project, but not when built as a subproject.


  • fontconfig
  • freetype
  • pixman
  • harfbuzz (optional)
  • tllist, unless built as a subproject


  • Supports all fonts loadable by FreeType2
  • Antialiasing
  • Subpixel antialiasing
  • Color bitmap fonts (emoji fonts)
  • Font caching
  • Glyph caching
  • Kerning1

Not supported

  • Subpixel positioning

Remember, this is a simple library, not a full blown layout engine.

Projects using fcft


You can either install fcft as a system library, or use it as a meson subproject (assuming your project is meson based, of course).


If you install fcft as a system library, you can use pkg-config to get the compiler flags needed to find and link against fcft.


If your project is meson based, you can use fcft as a subproject. In your main project's meson.build, do something like:

fcft = subproject('fcft').get_variable('fcft')
executable('you-executable', ..., dependencies: [fcft])

Or, if fcft has been installed as a system library, a regular

fcft = dependency('fcft')

will suffice. Optionally, you can combine the two; search for a system library first, and fallback to a subproject:

fcft = dependency('fcft', version: '>=0.4.0', fallback: 'fcft')


Run-time dependencies:

  • fontconfig
  • freetype2
  • pixman
  • harfbuzz (optional)

Build dependencies:

  • Development packages of the run-time dependencies
  • meson
  • ninja
  • scdoc
  • tllist
  • check (optional, for unit tests)

For most users, this is typically enough:

meson build --buildtype=release
ninja -C build
ninja -C build test
sudo ninja -C build install

The tests require at least one latin font to be installed.

By default, fcft will be built with support for text-shaping if HarfBuzz is available. You can explicitly enable or disable this with the -Dtext-shaping=disabled|enabled|auto meson command line option.

If text-shaping is enabled, you might also want to enable the associated tests. Use -Dtest-text-shaping=true to do so. Note that these tests require an emoji font to be installed, and fc-match emoji must return that font first.


fcft is released under the MIT license.

fcft uses Unicode data files released under the Unicode, INC. License Agreement.

  1. only basic kerning supported (i.e. the old 'kern' tables, not the new 'GPOS' tables) ↩︎