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Developer(s) FreeType contributors
Stable release 2.3.11 / 2009-10-10; 3 months ago[1]
Written in C
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Font rasterization
License GNU General Public License / FreeType License

FreeType is a software library written in C that implements a font rasterization engine. It is used to rasterize characters into bitmaps and provides support for other font-related operations.



FreeType does not provide APIs to perform higher-level features, like text layout or graphics processing (e.g., colored text rendering, "hollowing", etc.). However, it greatly simplifies these tasks by providing a simple, easy to use and uniform interface to access the content of font files.

As of October 2009, the latest version of FreeType is FreeType 2.3.11, which works with an assortment of font formats, including TrueType, Type 1, and OpenType.

FreeType is released under two free software licenses: the GNU General Public License or a license similar to the original BSD license (with the advertising clause). The library can thus be used by any kind of project, be it proprietary or not. As well as being used by the major free software desktop systems, FreeType is widely used as a rasterization engine for modern video games.[2][3]

In 2007, Sun Microsystems switched from a proprietary font rasterizer to FreeType in the OpenJDK Java development kit.


The main authors are or were David Turner, Robert Wilhelm, and Werner Lemberg.[4][5]

See also

  • Pango (Open source multilingual text rendering engine)
  • FontForge a typeface (font) editor program


  1. ^ "FreeType 2.3.11 has been released". 2009-03-12.  
  2. ^ Games company Relic Entertainment have used FreeType for their games Dawn of War and Company of Heroes, as can be seen in the credits on the loading screens.
  3. ^ Opera 9 for the Wii console uses FreeType, as can be seen by looking at the "Third-party information" page which can be found on the Wii via: Internet Channel > Operations Guide > About > Opera 9 for Wii — Third-party information
  4. ^ "Interview with David Turner". 2008-08-31.  
  5. ^ "FreeType license". 2008-08-31.  

External links



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