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Glyphs uses its own .glyphs file format to store font sources, and supports UFO as a data interchange format: UFOs can be opened and saved as a native format, and there’s a built-in UFO export function.

The Glyphs documentation includes a tutorial on Working with UFOs. This page provides additional information for RoboFont users.

Notes about exporting UFOs from Glyphs

  1. When exporting UFOs using the Export to UFO menu, only the current front font is exported – active instances in files with multiple masters are not included. Use the script below if you need to export UFOs from all instances.

  2. Fonts are exported to UFO2 format; UFO3 is not supported yet.

  3. All glyphs are exported, including those marked to not export. You‘ll have to take care of removing them later.

  4. The following private keys are added to the UFO’s font lib:

    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.license
    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.licenseURL
    • com.schriftgestaltung.font.panose
    • com.schriftgestaltung.disablesAutomaticAlignment
    • com.schriftgestaltung.glyphOrder
    • com.schriftgestaltung.useNiceNames
    • com.schriftgestaltung.fontMasterID
  5. Mark colors are lost when opening exported UFOs in RoboFont 1; they work fine in RoboFont 3.

Exporting UFOs with code

Below are a couple of Python scripts to export UFOs from Glyphs.

Export all open fonts to UFO

This script exports the front master of 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

This script exports all instances in the current font to UFO.

# MenuTitle: export instances to UFO
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

Export all instances from the current Glyphs.app font to UFO.
It saves the UFO file in the same folder as 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, '%s-%s.ufo' % (font.familyName, instance.name))
    dest = NSURL.fileURLWithPath_(ufoFilePath)
    ufoExporter.writeUfo_toURL_error_(instanceFont, dest, None)

subprocess.Popen(['open', folder])

Opening UFOs in Glyphs

  • Is any type of data lost when opening UFOs in Glyphs?

Based on original contribution by Joancarles Casasín.

Last edited on 02/06/2020