The Xft Font Library: Architecture and Users Guide


The X Render Extension provides a new glyph rendering architecture based on client-side glyph and font manage-ment. While this resolves many tough technical issues relating to the extension design, it places the burden of rasterizing, configuring and customizing font usage on every X client.

The Xft library was written to provide X applications a convenient interface to the FreeType font rasterizer and the Render extension. As FreeType provides for no configuration or customization, Xft also performs this task. Xft provides new font naming conventions, so-phisticated font matching and selection mechanisms and sufficient abstractions to permit common applications to benefit from Render extension based text output while still working on X servers without support for this extension.

@inproceedings {270860,
author = {Keith Packard},
title = {The Xft Font Library: Architecture and Users Guide},
booktitle = {XFree86 Technical Conference (
XFree86 Technical Conference)},
year = {2001},
address = {Oakland, CA
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = nov