Issue: Font displays poorly on screen at small point sizes.
Many commercial TrueType fonts for Windows use advanced technology called “delta hints” to improve the quality of the font on screen. The basic TrueType instructions do most of the work of adjusting a character's outline to the screen's grid, but sometimes the outlines fall in such a way that filling the outline would not turn on the desired pixel, or some feature needs to be exaggerated or minimized. Delta hints are a way of making a subpixel adjustment to a point such that the enclosed pixels get turned on or off as desired. These delta hints cannot be automatically generated by Fontographer—they are manually applied to the outline by software engineers, using more advanced programs (including FontLab Studio 5 or FontLab VI).
The results of good delta hinting can be seen by taking a close look at Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman in Windows.
When Fontographer reads a TrueType font it is unable to retain existing delta hints. Even if Fontographer were to retain the delta hints, any modifications to any of the glyphs would require deleting any delta hints on those glyphs.
Use Fontographer's Hint Parameter features to recalculate the font's outlines, as detailed in the steps below.
Alternatively, use a different program such as FontLab VI to add delta hints as a separate process after designing in Fontographer.
Rehinting a font in Fontographer
1. Choose Edit > Select All to select all characters.
2. Choose Hints > Vertical Alignment Zones > Recompute.
3. Click OK after the recompute process finishes.
4. Choose Hints > Hint Parameters > Recalc . If Recalc is disabled,then go to Step 6.
5. Click OK after the recalculation process finishes.
6. Choose Hints > Autohint to turn Autohint off and then immediately turn Autohint back on.
The manual points out that Fontographer averages the stem widths of the characters in order to calculate the hints. Dingbats, Wingding or logo artwork will not have Roman character stems so it is best to rehint the font without these types of characters present in the font. Put them in a temporary work font and paste them back in with the Roman characters after the rehinting process. Also, if the artwork in the font is displaying or printing strangely then turn off hinting before generating the font or generate it as a Type 3 font.
If the above steps don't improve the character, then the poor display of a font's characters may occur because the font was manually hinted.