How do I use a custom font in a mobile app?

Choosing the correct font can uplift your interface and improve the user experience. LiveCode provides a useful set of functionality allowing us to handle fonts, which has recently been extended to cover the installation of custom fonts on mobile.

This lesson will detail how to use this functionality to install and use a custom font using a very simple font picker app.

Setting up the app

The app we're going to design will look like the one above, and will consist of

  • a button to list what fonts are available
  • a list field to show these fonts and allow you to select a font
  • a field the selected font will be applied to

Once you have created and arranged these objects on the card, we need to apply a few lines of code to the button and our list field.

Our button is going to check what fonts are available on the machine our app is running on, and place them in our list field in alphabetical order. We can use the fontNames function to do this . This function returns a list of the fonts installed on the system. Our code should look something like this:

on mouseUp
   put the fontNames into tList
   sort lines of tList
   put tList into field "fontList"
end mouseUp

Now we need to put code in our list field's script so that it can set the font of the text field to whatever font we select in the list field. Since each line in the list field is taken from the fontNames function, and as such is a valid font name, we can set the textFont of the field to the text of the selected line.

on mouseDown
   put line (the hilitedLine of me) of me into tFont
   set the textFont of field "fontTest" to tFont
end mouseDown

Including the custom font in the mobile app

If you run your app on a mobile device or simulator, you should now be able to see the list of default fonts available. This is likely  to be shorter than if you run the app on a desktop computer.

To include a custom font in the mobile app we need to include it with the application bundle when we build our app as a standalone application. To do this include the font file in the Copy Files pane of the Standalone Application Settings.

When deploying to the mobile device Livecode will recognise the .ttf file extension for our font file, and install it as a custom font.

Using the newly installed custom font

After including this file in the list of files to be copied into the application bundle, if we build and run our app again we should see our custom font displayed in the list when we click 'List Fonts'. Clicking on it in the list, we can see our sample text change to the desired font.

7 Comments

Herman Schippers

dear all,

I can't find Arabic fonts in LiveCode.

I would like to put Arabic text (reading from right-to-left) in a field -- how can I do this?

Thanks for your help,

Herman

Hanson Schmidt-Cornelius

Hello Herman,

you should be able to load Arabic text into LiveCode and display it, just like other font that you would load.

Updating and editing Arabic text in LiveCode from right to left is not natively support, so entering Arabic characters in a field would not work.

Kind Regards,

Hanson

Gert Veltink

I have an issue with the descenders like in: "gjypq", they are cut off at the bottom when I use an external TTF-font.

Elanor Buchanan

Hi Gert

It may just be that you need to make the field or native text input controll you are using slightly taller when using this particular font. LiveCode does not automatically resize controls to fit their content, you can set the size when you are developing or handle this in code using the formattedWidth and formattedHeight properties.

I hope that helps.

Kind regards

Elanor

trevix

Although it works fine in this example stack (LC 9.6.1RC2: I successfully loaded the "Montserrat" Font, both in the iOS hardware and in the simulator), I have a problem with my stack: something is preventing this particular Font from loading. I have tried with both .otf and .ttf; other fonts are loaded but not "Montserrat".
What can be the cause? The loaded libraries? Some extensions? The pList? Is there any way to understand what intercepts and prevents loading?
Note: the Font is fine, checked with both Font Book and other Apps.
Thanks

trevix

Got it!
I had to modify the pList and add:
FontsAndroid/Montserrat-Black.otf
FontsAndroid/Montserrat-Bold.otf
FontsAndroid/Montserrat-Regular.otf

Note: I had the same problem with Android (using .ttf). I solved there too, using the .otf fonts (bah!)

Trevix

Forgot: "FontsAndroid" is the name of the font folder that I uploaded in the copy pane of standalone settings

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