How to convert your handwriting into a font
Remember that feeling after the school summer holidays, when you’d sit down at your desk, pick up your pen and… nothing. Six weeks of kicking a football around the park meant your handwriting would regress to the level of a toddler with no thumbs, and it would take days to get the muscle memory back.
Well, if you’re anything like me, that’s now a permanent condition. I write lists with a pen, I address envelopes with a pen, I sign my name with a pen — for everything else, there’s Word. So when I stumbled across a site that turns handwriting into fonts I figured it was a no-brainer: a way to further reduce the amount of time I have to spend scrawling illegibly.
The site is MyScriptFont. It’s totally free, and all you need is a printer, a scanner and five minutes of your time. First, download and print the template. This contains boxes for all of the main characters in use in English, plus accented extras that you can fill in if required – just leave anything you don’t need blank.
To get the best results make sure you use a thick black pen – the site suggests a felt-tip – and then set your scanner to capture a 300dpi greyscale JPEG. If the resulting file is over 5MB you’ll need to shrink it down a bit, but at those settings you should be fine.
Click the Choose File button, select your new scanned image, and give your new font a name – I’ve gone for the exotic yet undeniably stylish Bayonese. Next, select a format. For Word and most other document software leave it as a True Type Font, but you can switch to OTF and SVG formats if they’re more suitable. Then click Send File to set the process in motion.
Right-click the resulting file in the browser and save it onto your desktop, then right-click that file when it appears and choose Properties. In Windows 7 and 8 there’s a section near the bottom with an “Unblock” button – click that if it’s not greyed out.
Then simply double-click your font file, and when the sample window opens – showing you just how horrendous your handwriting looks in different sizes – you can click the Install button to load it into your PC’s font collection.
That’s it. When you go back into Word you’ll find your new font listed in the dropdown alongside the ones the experts use, like Comic Sans and Dingbats. Now ask yourself the final question: do I really want to inflict this monstrosity on anyone?
At the moment your font is only on your PC. To embed it into a Word document, allowing other users to receive the file and laugh at the way you write an f with a curly flourish at the base, go to Tools | Options | Save, and select Embed TrueType Fonts. Hilarity will ensue.