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I'm looking for a free tool I used several years ago (late 2000's). It was a windows application aimed at Win32 developers. It helped in previewing the results of font rendering based on the super complicated win32 font calls (LOGFONT, CreateFont(), etc).

I recall it could output code but more impressively it could preview the results of font rendering calls. Enter in all the font params and some sample text and you'd see the results in a preview window.

The font preview window marked up the text with colored guidelines showing the measurements of leading, kerning, acenders height, etc... This part was really cool and did a great job in understanding the anatomy of a font.

What was this tool called? Where can I download it?

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I found it myself (dawned on me to search old work email archives)

Font Explorer

This application is definitely for a hardcore Win32 programmer (or whatever we call unmanaged, non-metro windows programming these days). It's UI is really ugly and may make little sense without knowing the windows font API calls. It started life as sample code from a Win32 programming book.

However, for those still programming on the bare metal windows, this tool is great.

It shows at a very, very detailed level how fonts can be rendered on windows. You can quickly adjust the parameters of the font API calls and see the resulting text. The previews are magnified and contain color-coded measurements and overlays that aid in visually explaining why the font is rendered the way it was.

Also it can spit out code for the ugly LOGFONT structures and other font API calls.

Typography fans or programmers in other languages/platforms may find some useful / interesting stuff here. Kerning maps, kerning explorer, internal vs. external leading...

It's free and includes source

LOGFONT Explorer Kerning Explorer
Font Explorer: LOGFONT Explorer, Kerning Explorer (Source: Font Explorer; click images for larger variants)

Rasterization Explorer
Font Explorer: Rasterization Explorer (Source: Font Explorer; click image for larger variant)

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