Partially instantiate a variable font.

The module exports an instantiateVariableFont function and CLI that allow to create full instances (i.e. static fonts) from variable fonts, as well as “partial” variable fonts that only contain a subset of the original variation space.

For example, if you wish to pin the width axis to a given location while also restricting the weight axis to 400..700 range, you can do:

$ fonttools varLib.instancer ./NotoSans-VF.ttf wdth=85 wght=400:700

See fonttools varLib.instancer –help for more info on the CLI options.

The module’s entry point is the instantiateVariableFont function, which takes a TTFont object and a dict specifying either axis coodinates or (min, max) ranges, and returns a new TTFont representing either a partial VF, or full instance if all the VF axes were given an explicit coordinate.

E.g. here’s how to pin the wght axis at a given location in a wght+wdth variable font, keeping only the deltas associated with the wdth axis:

>>> from fontTools import ttLib
>>> from fontTools.varLib import instancer
>>> varfont = ttLib.TTFont(“path/to/MyVariableFont.ttf”)
>>> [a.axisTag for a in varfont[“fvar”].axes] # the varfont’s current axes
[‘wght’, ‘wdth’]
>>> partial = instancer.instantiateVariableFont(varfont, {“wght”: 300})
>>> [a.axisTag for a in partial[“fvar”].axes] # axes left after pinning ‘wght’

If the input location specifies all the axes, the resulting instance is no longer ‘variable’ (same as using fontools varLib.mutator):

>>> instance = instancer.instantiateVariableFont(
… varfont, {“wght”: 700, “wdth”: 67.5}
… )
>>> “fvar” not in instance

If one just want to drop an axis at the default location, without knowing in advance what the default value for that axis is, one can pass a None value:

>>> instance = instancer.instantiateVariableFont(varfont, {“wght”: None})
>>> len(varfont[“fvar”].axes)

From the console script, this is equivalent to passing wght=drop as input.

This module is similar to fontTools.varLib.mutator, which it’s intended to supersede. Note that, unlike varLib.mutator, when an axis is not mentioned in the input location, the varLib.instancer will keep the axis and the corresponding deltas, whereas mutator implicitly drops the axis at its default coordinate.

The module currently supports only the first three “levels” of partial instancing, with the rest planned to be implemented in the future, namely: L1) dropping one or more axes while leaving the default tables unmodified; L2) dropping one or more axes while pinning them at non-default locations; L3) restricting the range of variation of one or more axes, by setting either

a new minimum or maximum, potentially – though not necessarily – dropping entire regions of variations that fall completely outside this new range.

L4) moving the default location of an axis.

Currently only TrueType-flavored variable fonts (i.e. containing ‘glyf’ table) are supported, but support for CFF2 variable fonts will be added soon.

The discussion and implementation of these features are tracked at

class fontTools.varLib.instancer.AxisRange(*args, **kwargs)[source]
count(value, /)

Return number of occurrences of value.

index(value, start=0, stop=9223372036854775807, /)

Return first index of value.

Raises ValueError if the value is not present.


Alias for field number 1


Alias for field number 0

class fontTools.varLib.instancer.NormalizedAxisRange(*args, **kwargs)[source]
count(value, /)

Return number of occurrences of value.

index(value, start=0, stop=9223372036854775807, /)

Return first index of value.

Raises ValueError if the value is not present.


Alias for field number 1


Alias for field number 0

class fontTools.varLib.instancer.OverlapMode(value)[source]

An enumeration.

fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateAvar(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateCvar(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateFeatureVariations(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateFvar(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateGvar(varfont, axisLimits, optimize=True)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateGvarGlyph(varfont, glyphname, axisLimits, optimize=True)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateHVAR(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateItemVariationStore(itemVarStore, fvarAxes, axisLimits)[source]

Compute deltas at partial location, and update varStore in-place.

Remove regions in which all axes were instanced, or fall outside the new axis limits. Scale the deltas of the remaining regions where only some of the axes were instanced.

The number of VarData subtables, and the number of items within each, are not modified, in order to keep the existing VariationIndex valid. One may call VarStore.optimize() method after this to further optimize those.

  • varStore – An otTables.VarStore object (Item Variation Store)

  • fvarAxes – list of fvar’s Axis objects

  • axisLimits – Dict[str, float] mapping axis tags to normalized axis coordinates (float) or ranges for restricting an axis’ min/max (NormalizedAxisRange). May not specify coordinates/ranges for all the fvar axes.


to be added to the default instance, of type dict of floats

keyed by VariationIndex compound values: i.e. (outer << 16) + inner.

Return type


fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateMVAR(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateOTL(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateSTAT(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateTupleVariationStore(variations, axisLimits, origCoords=None, endPts=None)[source]

Instantiate TupleVariation list at the given location, or limit axes’ min/max.

The ‘variations’ list of TupleVariation objects is modified in-place. The ‘axisLimits’ (dict) maps axis tags (str) to either a single coordinate along the axis (float), or to minimum/maximum coordinates (NormalizedAxisRange).

A ‘full’ instance (i.e. static font) is produced when all the axes are pinned to single coordinates; a ‘partial’ instance (i.e. a less variable font) is produced when some of the axes are omitted, or restricted with a new range.

Tuples that do not participate are kept as they are. Those that have 0 influence at the given location are removed from the variation store. Those that are fully instantiated (i.e. all their axes are being pinned) are also removed from the variation store, their scaled deltas accummulated and returned, so that they can be added by the caller to the default instance’s coordinates. Tuples that are only partially instantiated (i.e. not all the axes that they participate in are being pinned) are kept in the store, and their deltas multiplied by the scalar support of the axes to be pinned at the desired location.

  • variations – List[TupleVariation] from either ‘gvar’ or ‘cvar’.

  • axisLimits – Dict[str, Union[float, NormalizedAxisRange]]: axes’ coordinates for the full or partial instance, or ranges for restricting an axis’ min/max.

  • origCoords – GlyphCoordinates: default instance’s coordinates for computing ‘gvar’ inferred points (cf. table__g_l_y_f.getCoordinatesAndControls).

  • endPts – List[int]: indices of contour end points, for inferring ‘gvar’ deltas.


the overall delta adjustment after applicable deltas were summed.

Return type


fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateVVAR(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.instantiateVariableFont(varfont, axisLimits, inplace=False, optimize=True, overlap=<OverlapMode.KEEP_AND_SET_FLAGS: 1>)[source]

Instantiate variable font, either fully or partially.

Depending on whether the axisLimits dictionary references all or some of the input varfont’s axes, the output font will either be a full instance (static font) or a variable font with possibly less variation data.

  • varfont – a TTFont instance, which must contain at least an ‘fvar’ table. Note that variable fonts with ‘CFF2’ table are not supported yet.

  • axisLimits – a dict keyed by axis tags (str) containing the coordinates (float) along one or more axes where the desired instance will be located. If the value is None, the default coordinate as per ‘fvar’ table for that axis is used. The limit values can also be (min, max) tuples for restricting an axis’s variation range, but this is not implemented yet.

  • inplace (bool) – whether to modify input TTFont object in-place instead of returning a distinct object.

  • optimize (bool) – if False, do not perform IUP-delta optimization on the remaining ‘gvar’ table’s deltas. Possibly faster, and might work around rendering issues in some buggy environments, at the cost of a slightly larger file size.

  • overlap (OverlapMode) – variable fonts usually contain overlapping contours, and some font rendering engines on Apple platforms require that the OVERLAP_SIMPLE and OVERLAP_COMPOUND flags in the ‘glyf’ table be set to force rendering using a non-zero fill rule. Thus we always set these flags on all glyphs to maximise cross-compatibility of the generated instance. You can disable this by passing OverlapMode.KEEP_AND_DONT_SET_FLAGS. If you want to remove the overlaps altogether and merge overlapping contours and components, you can pass OverlapMode.REMOVE. Note that this requires the skia-pathops package (available to pip install). The overlap parameter only has effect when generating full static instances.

fontTools.varLib.instancer.isInstanceWithinAxisRanges(location, axisRanges)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.limitTupleVariationAxisRange(var, axisTag, axisRange)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.limitTupleVariationAxisRanges(variations, axisRanges)[source]

Partially instantiate a variable font.

fontTools.varLib.instancer.normalize(value, triple, avarMapping)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.normalizeAxisLimits(varfont, axisLimits, usingAvar=True)[source]

Parse argv.


3-tuple (infile, axisLimits, options) axisLimits is either a Dict[str, Optional[float]], for pinning variation axes to specific coordinates along those axes (with None as a placeholder for an axis’ default value); or a Dict[str, Tuple(float, float)], meaning limit this axis to min/max range. Axes locations are in user-space coordinates, as defined in the “fvar” table.

fontTools.varLib.instancer.pinTupleVariationAxes(variations, location)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.populateAxisDefaults(varfont, axisLimits)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.setCvarDeltas(cvt, deltas)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.setMvarDeltas(varfont, deltas)[source]
fontTools.varLib.instancer.splitAxisLocationAndRanges(axisLimits, rangeType=<class 'fontTools.varLib.instancer.AxisRange'>)[source]