Free Embeddable Fonts for your WPF Applications

Using attractive typefaces can add individuality to your application, or reinforce your brand. Although we talked about the means to embed WPF fonts in your application a long time ago, the biggest issue with font embedding is the licensing issues associated with fonts, especially if you’re working on a code sample or free utility. Most fonts, even the multitude that you can download for free online, are not licensed to allow redistribution as part of your application.

Fortunately a small group of fonts has started to be released under a much more permissive license – the SIL Open Font License (OFL) - which specifically allows embedding in applications, both commercial, free and open-source (disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, you should read the license yourself and/or seek legal advice before making any decisions regarding font licensing). This is a very generous move on the part of these type designers who spend considerable time and skill on designing beautiful fonts.

Here is a sample application that uses some of my favourite of OFL-licensed fonts from around the web including Titillium, Goudy Bookletter 1911, and Junction. Great resources for finding new fonts with the OFL license is the Open Font Library and the League of Movable Type.

download source [413 KB] (including fonts!)

From a programming point-of-view it pays to remember this trick from the MSDN for finding the names of embedded fonts. Sometimes the name is not apparent from the file name OR from the info you see in the "Install Font" dialog in windows. Instead you can programatically iterate through the installed fonts using this snippet of code.

// iterates over embedded fonts - assumes you have fonts in a sub-directory called "Fonts" in the project in visual studio
foreach (var fontFamily in Fonts.GetFontFamilies(new Uri("pack://application:,,,/"), "./Fonts/"))
    // do stuff with fonts here

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2/02/2012 2:39:11 PM