X Version 11 (Release 6.1)


mkfontdir -- create an index of X font files in a directory


mkfontdir [directory_name . . .]


For each directory argument, mkfontdir reads all of the font files in the directory searching for properties named ``FONT'', or (failing that) the name of the file stripped of its suffix. These are converted to lower case and used as font names, and, along with the name of the font files, are written out to the file fonts.dir in the directory. The X server and font server use fonts.dir to find font files.

The kinds of font files read by mkfontdir depend on configuration parameters, but typically include PCF (suffix .pcf), SNF (suffix .snf) and BDF (suffix .bdf). If a font exists in multiple formats, mkfontdir will first choose PCF, then SNF and finally BDF.

The first line of fonts.dir gives the number of fonts in the file. The remaining lines list the fonts themselves, one per line, in two fields. First is the name of the font file, followed by a space and the name of the font.

Scalable fonts

Because scalable font files do not usually include the X font name, the file fonts.scale can be used to name the scalable fonts in the directory. The fonts listed in it are copied to fonts.dir by mkfontdir. fonts.scale has the same format as the fonts.dir file.

Font name aliases

The file fonts.alias, which can be put in any directory of the font path, is used to map new names to existing fonts, and should be edited by hand. The format is two white-space separated columns, the first containing aliases and the second containing font-name patterns. Lines begining with a ``!'' are comment lines and are ignored.

If neither the alias nor the value specifies the size fields of the font name, this is a scalable alias. A font name of any size that matches this alias will be mapped to the same size of the font that the alias resolves to.

When a font alias is used, the name it references is searched for in the normal manner, looking through each font directory in turn. This means that the aliases need not mention fonts in the same directory as the alias file.

To embed white space in either name, enclose it double-quotemarks. To embed double-quote marks (or any other character), precede them with a backslash:

   "magic-alias with spaces"       "\"name\" with quotes"
   regular-alias                   fixed
If the string FILE_NAMES_ALIASES stands alone on a line, each filename in the directory (stripped of its suffix) will be used as an alias for that font.


List of fonts in the directory and the files they are stored in. Created by mkfontdir. Read by the X server and font server each time the font path is set (see xset(X1M)).

List of scalable fonts in the directory. Contents are copied to fonts.dir by mkfontdir.

List of font name aliases. Read by the X server and font server each time the font path is set (see xset(X1M)).


xfs(X1M), X(X1M), Xsco(X1M), xset(X1M)

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UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 25 April 2004