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How to Turn Your Handwriting Into a Font

Dan Helyer Updated 12-05-2020

Add a personal touch to your digital projects by turning your handwriting into a custom font. It’s a lot easier than you might think thanks to a web app called Calligraphr. And there are plenty of creative uses for you to explore.

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In this article, we’ll show you how to make your handwriting a font with Calligraphr for free. You can add letter variants for a natural style, adjust the alignment and spacing, and even export the end product as a standard font format. And it only takes ten minutes.

What Is Calligraphr

Calligraphr process infographic to turn handwriting into font

Formerly MyScriptFont, Calligraphr is a free web app that lets you scan your handwriting to create a custom font. It’s easy to use and offers loads of features that help you get your font just right.

Export your custom font as TTF or OTF formats to use it with Windows or macOS computers. You might want to use your custom font to add a personal touch to invitations, design calligraphic artwork, or to write a webcomic.

Calligraphr offers the following features to help perfect your font:

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  • Choose the exact character sets you want to include in your font, including accented letters, symbols, and numbers.
  • Upload variants for each letter to create a random authenticity to your handwriting.
  • Edit individual characters after uploading to darken the lines, adjust the size, and tweak the alignment.
  • Save fonts in the browser so you can return to keep editing them over multiple sessions.

Calligraphr Pro Subscription

Calligraphr Pro upgrade prices

You can use Calligraphr to create and export a custom handwriting font for free. But a Pro subscription unlocks extra features to help you make your handwriting into the best font possible.

Calligraphr Pro costs $8/month, although you can get a 50 percent discount if you pay for six months at once. With a Pro subscription, Calligraphr lets you work on more than one font at a time, up to a maximum of 12. It also lets you add up to 480 characters to each font.

You can also add more than two variants for each character, up to a maximum of 15. A variant is an alternate version of a particular letter or number. The finished font uses different variants at random to make your font look more natural.

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Randomized letter demonstration on Calligraphr website

Another major upgrade that comes with a Pro subscription is the ability to add ligatures to your font. In case you aren’t familiar with common typography terms The 5 Most Important Typography Terms, Explained We've compiled a list of the most important typography terms that will help you successfully navigate the world of typography. Read More , a ligature is a line that connects two letters in joined handwriting.

Do I Need Calligraphr Pro to Make a Custom Font?

Calligraphr Pro offers great benefits to font creation, but you can turn your handwriting into a perfectly good font without paying for anything.

The main downside to using Calligraphr for free is that your font is limited to 75 characters. That’s enough space for upper and lower case letters, every number, and common punctuation marks, but not much else.

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You’re also limited to two variants per character. However, this still adds enough randomization to your font to make it more natural than most.

Finally, you can’t add ligatures with Calligraphr Free. But if you don’t join your handwriting up anyway, it won’t make a difference.

Ligrature demonstration from Calligraphr website

How to Use Calligraphr to Turn Your Handwriting Into a Font

To get started, head to the Calligraphr website and click the Get Started For Free button to create an account. There’s no need to upgrade to a Pro account unless you want more than two variants or ligatures.

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After signing up and logging in, click the Start App button to load the Calligraphr web app. Then follow the steps below to turn your handwriting into a font.

Step 1. Create a Font Template

First you need to create a template for your custom font. This is essentially a grid of boxes with one box for each character you want to include in your font. After creating the template and printing it out you need to handwrite each letter into the boxes. Then scan it back into your computer to create the font.

Calligraphr gives you a huge amount of control over the template, letting you choose exactly which characters you do and don’t want to include in your font. With a free account, you can have up to 75 characters in a single font.

Click the Templates button in the top-left corner to create a new template, then choose the characters you want from the sidebar. We suggest you add Minimal English and Minimal Numbers, which brings you up to 70 characters.

Calligraphr custom font template creation page

Click a character you don’t want to and Delete it from the template. Then add more character sets from the sidebar. If you signed up for a Pro account and want to include ligatures, select it from the Miscellaneous section.

Step 2. Print and Complete Your Template

After adding all the characters you want in your font, click the Download Template button. Choose a file name and format for the template.

Adjust the slider to change the size of the template cells. These are the boxes you need to write your letters in. If you have particularly large or small handwriting, you might want to adjust the size accordingly. You also might want to make the boxes bigger if you plan to create a calligraphic font. Otherwise, leave it as the default.

Calligraphr template PDF

Finally, choose if you want helplines and background characters. We recommend adding helplines to make sure you write each letter in the same place at the same size. However, it might mean you need to erase them manually after scanning your template. We don’t recommend background characters because they make it harder to create a unique style.

When you’re happy, click Download to save your template, then print it out.

Now use a black pen to fill out the template, drawing a single character into each box. A felt tip pen is better than a ballpoint, but either should be fine so long as you make sure each line is clearly drawn.

Completed handwriting font template

Step 3. Upload and Edit Your Handwriten Font

After completing the font template, scan it or take a clear photo, then save that file to your computer. In the Calligraphr web app, click My Fonts followed by Upload Template. Select the picture of your font template, then wait for Calligraphr to process it.

After the processing is complete, Calligraphr shows an overview of each character in your custom font. You can delete characters from this page, but we suggest you see if you can fix mistakes from the edit page rather than deleting anything.

Choose to Add Characters to Your Font to finish the upload.

Calligraphr font import page

Click a character and select Edit Character to make adjustments. You can draw new lines using various brush shapes and sizes or click the Erase button to clean up the scan. Make sure you edit each of your characters for the best custom font.

You should also use the Adjust Baseline/Size menu to ensure each character is the same height and size as all the others. This screen shows your selected character in a row with the rest of the font. Use the arrows to adjust the baseline or size for better consistency.

Baseline and Size adjustments for custom font

Step 4. Build and Export Your Custom Font

After editing each of your characters, click the Back button and choose to Build Font to turn your handwriting into a font.

If you chose to add variants—which you can do by uploading multiple font templates one after another—enable the option to Randomize Characters. That way your font doesn’t use the same variants too often.

Click Build and wait for Calligraphr to finish turning your handwriting into a font. When it’s complete, make sure it looks good in the preview, then download the TTF or OTF file.

Build Font window to create custom handwriting font

Open the font file on your computer and follow the prompts to Install it. After this, it should be available in all your apps. You can also install fonts on your iPhone or iPad How to Install Fonts on iPhones and iPads Did you know you can install and display new fonts on your iPhone? It's free, easy, and only takes a few minutes! Read More .

Get More Free Fonts to Add to Your Collection

Now you know how to make your handwriting a custom font. Use it to personalize everything from wedding invitations to business cards. But don’t feel you need to use it for everything.

Calligraphr lets you create as many custom fonts as you like, so you could repeat the steps above for multiple different handwriting styles. If you don’t have that much creativity in you, take a look at the best free font websites The 8 Best Free Font Websites for Free Fonts Online Not everyone can afford a licensed font. These websites will help you find the perfect free font for your next project. Read More to use other people’s fonts instead.

Explore more about: Fonts, Typography.

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  1. Ashley Chavez
    April 25, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Hello,

    If we did this, will the font be ours for commercial use or will it be the property of the site it's uploaded to?

    -Ashley

  2. isabel fish
    December 12, 2018 at 5:36 am

    is there a way to put your font onto google docs? if so, how?

  3. lilidesigns
    May 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Hey Justin! You are a typographer/designers dream come true. Here's a brain buster question for you:

    Any idea how to create alternates of english letters? When we write naturally, our letters are different every time. I'm trying to figure out a way to somehow have a font automatically alternate between, say, three of my handwriting fonts. This way every letter appears different (at least in the course of a paragraph ;)

    In Adobe CC programs, I could manually switch the fonts, but wondering if you have any solutions?

    THANK YOU

  4. Melisa
    December 2, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Thank you very much for sharing this information. It helped a lot.

    • Justin Pot
      December 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      I'm really glad it was helpful!

  5. Anonymous
    June 24, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Really nice idea. The rest is a question rather than a comment: Is it possible to add this font to Excel spreadsheet and Word on a Mac? I do mail merge using Excel spreadsheet and would love to do a "handwritten" version.It will be also great to use it for signatures.

    • Justin Pot
      June 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Seegal,

      You could use this font in Word and Excel documents, but only people with the font installed will see it on their computers. If you make an image or a PDF, however, they'll be able to see it.

  6. Amy
    December 25, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Great article. How long do you think the process would take? I'm considering using it with my classes (12 year olds and up) as part of a handrwriting lesson...

    • Justin Pot
      December 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      It doesn't take more than a few minutes, once you've got the form filled out! You need a scanner, though.

  7. Tuesday Peacock
    June 25, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I have a question.will my recipient be able to see my handwriting without installing that font in his computer?

    • Justin Pot
      June 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      In general, no, but if you create a PDF your fonts will be embedded.

      • Tuesday Peacock
        June 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        Cool!Thanks a lot...

  8. Justin Beirapadua
    February 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

    wow.. im gonna popularize my handwriting :D

  9. Ron Lister
    February 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I'll try it out. Might be another nice way to personalize my automated reminders. Thanks Justin.

  10. Susan
    February 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

    This has to be one of the neatest ideas ever imagined. Not only do you have a unique font but I must mention, as an educator, this would encourage any child to learn to keyboard. While actual printing is important, this program would allow children to see instantly what they could write if they practiced. The font could also be used on publisher for a number of ways, not limited to, invitations, letters to santa, crafts, and even unique lettering for a child's room. Definitely an asset to any family, young and old!

  11. STEPHEN NG
    February 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    This is a great idea. That means I can type my own unique handwriting. Being ambidextrous, I have 2 sets of handwriting so it will be fun to create 2 sets of fonts. I am gonna give this a try and see what happens.

  12. Mara Averick
    February 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I am stoked to try this- I remember spending an entire three-hour flight filling out a 'turn your handwriting into a font' form in a SkyMall catalogue circa 1993 only to be devastated when my father balked at dropping a cool C-note for his third grader to get personalized typography... Guess that 20 year wait was worth it!

  13. Fatih Hamzah
    February 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Great. thanks! but with this way, we can also make the handwritings".png" file with graphic tablet for better quality if you have, ive not try it but good idea also to give it a try :)

  14. Mac Witty
    February 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

    No I'm not going to try. I have hard to read my own handwriting and I do not think it will be better in this way :)

    • Justin Pot
      February 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Know your limits, right? :)

  15. Akhil Kumar
    February 14, 2013 at 7:40 am

    This is just great! Exactly what I wanted. Thanks, Justin! You made my day.

  16. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 14, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Looks fantastic! What a good idea.

  17. Schvenn Meister
    February 14, 2013 at 1:51 am

    LONG LIVE COMIC SANS!!! (runs at a windmill)

    • Justin Pot
      February 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Great comment, or the greatest comment? I'm going to go with "Greatest".

  18. Anonymous
    February 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Pretty cool. I will have to give this a try in my best penmanship. And then maybe a scribbly version.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

      You can share the result here. I'm collecting 'handwritten' fonts.

  19. Lawton Sack
    February 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    You think a fine point Sharpie marker would work well? I don't know the last time I have had a felt pen.

    • Justin Pot
      February 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Should work fine, I'd think. Try it out.

      • Lawton Sack
        February 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

        Just did it. It turned out pretty. An ultrafine sharpie would have been better for the lowercase letters, especially e,g, and k. Thanks for the link.

        • Justin Pot
          February 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm

          Glad to hear it worked! Feel free to share your font, if you're feeling brave.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          February 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

          Can you please share your font?

  20. Kate Luella
    February 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    OMG this is so old school, you've got to get the iPad APP iFontMaker $7.50 on APP store - it is amazing - it makes this look sad, AND it has way too many features to list, did i mention it makes it super easy!!! Go check that one out...

    :) Kate

    • Justin Pot
      February 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      Ha, well some of us like to use good old fashioned paper when you're designing a digital version of our hand writing. It's personal, okay?

      And seriously: I will look into this. Wonder if there's an Android equivalent?

  21. Jacques Knipe
    February 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I am definitely going to give this a try. Will really come in handy when I have assignments and the lecturer says "No typing allowed, handwritten assignments only!"

    • Justin Pot
      February 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Teachers still say that? That's amazing, I assumed that ended five years ago...

      Best of luck to you, then. I hope this fools them...

      • Kate Luella
        February 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        haha - yes of course, it is personal! but, I've done both, and trust me, if you like this idea, you'll love the iPad app. You can write it on the iPad with your finger, make it bigger, fatter, smoother, it really is amazing. With this paper idea, you write it, and then if you don't like it, it's almost impossible to edit.

        If you like this idea, you'll love the App, it is a bumma its $7.50, but I can't find a comparison atm so I figure they have a bit of a monolopy!

        And yes, if you find an android equivalent, I'd love to hear about that too, I'm a bit over the Apple Apps atm (sore point - don't ask!)

        :) Kate

        • Justin Pot
          February 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

          Did some research...Interesting...

          [Broken URL Removed]
          Guess I've got one of my articles for the next couple of weeks worked out :) I'll let you all know how it is.

      • Brian Mok
        February 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm

        Yeah, really? It's the exact opposite for me. "No handwritten assignments allowed, only typed."

        • Jacques Knipe
          February 14, 2013 at 7:22 am

          Wish I had your lecturers. Yeah mine still want to "kick it oldschool." Don't think this will fool them for long, when they actually have to read the assignment, but I might get away with it once or twice.

        • Justin Pot
          February 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

          Good luck!

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        February 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

        Definitely not. We still do a lot of assignments manually, though there are some teachers who prefer typed assignments since they wouldn't have to deal with illegible handwriting.
        By the way, Your teacher will be able to tell that it isn't real handwriting. It'll be too uniform, too neat, and looks like printed ink.