Mike Gunderloy always comes up with the goods when it comes to cool new software. Yesterday he pointed to the winners of the Tablet PC development contest that PC Magazine has been running since last year's PDC. The well-deserved winner (in my opinion) was one of the coolest utilities I've seen for a long while: a handwriting to font generator.
Using this utility on a Tablet PC is a cinch. Firstly you write a sample of your handwriting (individual characters) into the utility:
Then you can tune the spacing and correct any misaligned characters before viewing a preview of your new font. Here's the output from my own handwriting:
Once complete, you simply click a button to compile your handwriting into a TrueType font!
I've seen utilities (and online services) that offer this capability before, but the results are usually atrocious. But the author of this freeware application has clearly spent the time and effort to ensure that the output is of high enough quality to be useful. Ironically, the resultant font doesn't look like my own handwriting - it's too neat and tidy, for starters, but it's individualistic enough that I could imagine using it for personal letters and simple publishing work.
Two features it would benefit from are (i) support for joined (cursive) handwriting - right now every letter is block printed, which is probably the largest factor why the resultant font doesn't look like my own script; (ii) support for foreign language characters such as accents and currency symbols. The latter would be really easy to add, and I'm really hoping the author comes up with this one.
Nevertheless, this is a really funky tool and it's almost a killer app for the Tablet PC; by the way, it's a managed application written using Visual Studio .NET.
I'm therefore very proud to present a new font designed by Microsoft's newest typographer! I've called it Innate, and you can download it here.