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Creating North Arrows

February 16 2009 | 1 comment

I know that north arrows need to be in a TrueType font to be added to ArcMap but I dont know how to make a ttf file. I have some arrows that I have drawn in InkScape, a vector art editor, and would like to make into a style. I cant seem to find any solution that doesnt involve purchasing software. How do you folks make your ttfs? Ill send in a copy if I can make it!

Mapping Center Answer:

We use several techniques for creating fonts here, but our workhorse font editor has been Pyrus Ltd's FontLab Studio. It is probably overkill for what you seem to need. If you want to invest your time on an extensive coverage in creating a TrueType font go visit Microsoft's Typography pages and then proceed in finding and creating your own fonts.

Alternatively, make a quick short cut to your intended task. First, make sure you add searching sites like Cnet dot com. One of the easiest user experiences of Freeware font applications currently available to dowload (free demo) is a product by HighLogic called FontCreator [version 5.6]. FontCreator seems to have a friendlier interface and helps you get started on your task in a hurry. Others may be more to your liking --try them out and see.

I am not familiar with the InkScape export formats, but no matter what you end up using in order to create the north arrows, you will need to be able to be able to export to an EPS format. Import that exported file into your font editor program. In FontLab I can both import the eps, and paste a Bitmap into the font cell background in order to create a glyph in a font. After that, then you generate the TrueType font for Windows and install it into your root Windows/Fonts directory where the rest of the fonts are. Then it becomes available to ArcMap.

marker symbols for north arrows posted by David Barnes on Feb 18 2009 7:35AM
While making fonts can be useful and rewarding and fun, you don't >have< to use true type font characters for north arrows. In addition to character markers you can use other marker symbol types. In the north arrow properties click Symbol instead of Character. This way you can use your pictures as picture markers as north arrows. You'll probably want to save the pictures as emf files for this use.

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