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Exporting UFO from Glyphs app

Glyphs app has a builtin function for exporting UFO files.

Go to menu: File/Export/UFO (⌘+E)

There you’ll have two options:

  • Convert Glyph Names to Production Names. With this option checked, Glyphs will rename exported glyphs to production friendly names, as Glyphs nice-naming scheme won’t work 100% with makeotf in some cases.
  • Only present in latest Beta builds, the Decompose smart stuff option will decompose Smart components and Corner components.


  • Glyphs exports only the current front font. It doesn’t export active instances if working with a MM file (check helper scripts for batch export and exporting all instances from a MM source file).
  • Glyphs will export .ufo 2 (by Feb. 26th).
  • It will add some private data to your ufo lib.plist file:
    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.license
    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.licenseURL
    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.panose
    • com.schriftgestaltung.disablesAutomaticAlignment
    • com.schriftgestaltung.glyphOrder
    • com.schriftgestaltung.useNiceNames
    • com.schriftgestaltung.fontMasterID
  • The whole font will be exported, including glyphs set to “not export”. You’ll have to take care of removing them later.
  • Mark colors are kept when opening in RF3, lost if opening in previous RF1.8


A couple of python scripts for Glyphs that might help you to export ufo from the app:

  • Export all open fonts to ufo:

      # MenuTitle: batch ufo export
      # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
      __doc__ = """Export all open fonts to ufo"""
      import os.path
      Exporter = NSClassFromString('GlyphsFileFormatUFO').alloc().init()
      for f in Glyphs.fonts:
          Master = f.fontMasters()[0]
          filePath = f.parent.fileURL().path()
          # TODO: make a folder called 'ufo' and save the ufos there
          fileName, folderName = os.path.basename(filePath), os.path.dirname(filePath)
          ufoFolder = os.path.join(folderName, 'ufo')
          ufoFileName = fileName.replace('.glyphs', '.ufo')
          if not os.path.exists(ufoFolder):
          ufoFilePath = os.path.join(ufoFolder, ufoFileName)
          Result = Exporter.writeUfo_toURL_error_(f, NSURL.fileURLWithPath_(ufoFilePath), None)
      # open folder where the ufo files were saved
      import os
      os.system("open %s" % ufoFolder)
  • Export all instances to ufo:

      # MenuTitle: instances ufo export
      # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
          Export all instances from Glyphs app current font as ufo.
          It saves the ufo file in the same folder than the source files
      # import os
      import subprocess
      ufoExporter = Glyphs.objectWithClassName_("GlyphsFileFormatUFO")
      font = Glyphs.font
      fontFilePath = font.filepath
      for instance in Glyphs.font.instances:
          if not instance.active:
          instanceFont = instance.interpolatedFont
          folder = os.path.dirname(font.filepath)
          ufoFilePath = os.path.join(folder, font.familyName + "-" + instance.name + ".ufo")
          dest = NSURL.fileURLWithPath_(ufoFilePath)
          ufoExporter.writeUfo_toURL_error_(instanceFont, dest, None)
      subprocess.Popen(['open', folder])


(The currently tested Glyphs version is v2.5b(1113))

When opening back a .ufo file in Glyphs 2.4.4 (1075), the contour start points indexes are shifted to the previous one. This behaviour doesn’t happen with newer v2.5b(1113).

  • [fixed in build 1113] An UFO3 saved from RoboFont opens in Glyphs, if you save in Glyphs doesn’t open in RoboFont as layercontents.plist is missing:

Further reading: Working with UFO tutorial in Glyphs app website.

Last edited on 27/02/2018