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Arduino Fonts

Custom Fonts For Microcontrollers

by Gene Casanova

Bitmap Characters

Popular .ttf font files can be rasterized into a bitmap font.

An example is to define each character within a 6x8 pixel matrix (WxH).  Typically, only common ASCII characters are used.

A font bitmap uses 0 or 1 to define a character.  The most efficient method to store this bitmap is in an array.  A 6x8 font can be stored in an array of 6 bytes, each byte representing one vertical column of pixels (8 pixels high).  The resulting array will look something like this:

const unsigned char font[96][6] = {
    {0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00}, //  space
    {0x2f,0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00,0x00}, // !
    {0x03,0x00,0x03,0x00,0x00,0x00}, // "

Characters can only be 8 pixels high, and this method makes it somewhat difficult to represent variable-width characters; since each char[] must have exactly 6 bytes.

Drawing fonts stored like this is realtively easy.  First, convert the ASCII character to an index; by subtracting the offset of the first character in the font.  This works because the characters in the font are defined in numerical order ('0'=48, 'A'=65, etc.), so subtracting the space character (' '=32), returns the index in the array.

Replace any invalid characters with space, to prevent the code from trying to draw characters not defined!

ASCII Font C Header: font5x7.h

Applying a font defined in an external C header file, example.  The font bitmap will be stored in the Microchip Atmel AVR onchip flash memory.

/*! \file font5x7.h \brief Graphic Font (ASCII Characters) */
// File Name	: 'font5x7.h'
// Title : Graphic Font (ASCII Charaters)
// Author : Pascal Stang
// Date : 10/19/2001
// Revised : 10/19/2001
// Version : 0.1
// Target MCU : Atmel AVR
// Editor Tabs : 4
//***************************************************************************** #ifndef FONT5X7_H #define FONT5X7_H // Standard ASCII 5x7 font
// Defines ASCII characters 0x20-0x7F (32-127) static unsigned char __attribute__ ((progmem)) Font5x7[] = { 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // (space) 0x00, 0x00, 0x5F, 0x00, 0x00,// !
0x00, 0x07, 0x00, 0x07, 0x00,// "
0x14, 0x7F, 0x14, 0x7F, 0x14,// #
0x24, 0x2A, 0x7F, 0x2A, 0x12,// $
0x23, 0x13, 0x08, 0x64, 0x62,// %
0x36, 0x49, 0x55, 0x22, 0x50,// &
0x00, 0x05, 0x03, 0x00, 0x00,// '
0x00, 0x1C, 0x22, 0x41, 0x00,// (
0x00, 0x41, 0x22, 0x1C, 0x00,// )
0x08, 0x2A, 0x1C, 0x2A, 0x08,// *
0x08, 0x08, 0x3E, 0x08, 0x08,// +
0x00, 0x50, 0x30, 0x00, 0x00,// ,
0x08, 0x08, 0x08, 0x08, 0x08,// -
0x00, 0x60, 0x60, 0x00, 0x00,// .
0x20, 0x10, 0x08, 0x04, 0x02,// /
0x3E, 0x51, 0x49, 0x45, 0x3E,// 0
0x00, 0x42, 0x7F, 0x40, 0x00,// 1
0x42, 0x61, 0x51, 0x49, 0x46,// 2
0x21, 0x41, 0x45, 0x4B, 0x31,// 3
0x18, 0x14, 0x12, 0x7F, 0x10,// 4
0x27, 0x45, 0x45, 0x45, 0x39,// 5
0x3C, 0x4A, 0x49, 0x49, 0x30,// 6
0x01, 0x71, 0x09, 0x05, 0x03,// 7
0x36, 0x49, 0x49, 0x49, 0x36,// 8
0x06, 0x49, 0x49, 0x29, 0x1E,// 9
0x00, 0x36, 0x36, 0x00, 0x00,// :
0x00, 0x56, 0x36, 0x00, 0x00,// ;
0x00, 0x08, 0x14, 0x22, 0x41,// <
0x14, 0x14, 0x14, 0x14, 0x14,// =
0x41, 0x22, 0x14, 0x08, 0x00,// >
0x02, 0x01, 0x51, 0x09, 0x06,// ?
0x32, 0x49, 0x79, 0x41, 0x3E,// @
0x7E, 0x11, 0x11, 0x11, 0x7E,// A
0x7F, 0x49, 0x49, 0x49, 0x36,// B
0x3E, 0x41, 0x41, 0x41, 0x22,// C
0x7F, 0x41, 0x41, 0x22, 0x1C,// D
0x7F, 0x49, 0x49, 0x49, 0x41,// E
0x7F, 0x09, 0x09, 0x01, 0x01,// F
0x3E, 0x41, 0x41, 0x51, 0x32,// G
0x7F, 0x08, 0x08, 0x08, 0x7F,// H
0x00, 0x41, 0x7F, 0x41, 0x00,// I
0x20, 0x40, 0x41, 0x3F, 0x01,// J
0x7F, 0x08, 0x14, 0x22, 0x41,// K
0x7F, 0x40, 0x40, 0x40, 0x40,// L
0x7F, 0x02, 0x04, 0x02, 0x7F,// M
0x7F, 0x04, 0x08, 0x10, 0x7F,// N
0x3E, 0x41, 0x41, 0x41, 0x3E,// O
0x7F, 0x09, 0x09, 0x09, 0x06,// P
0x3E, 0x41, 0x51, 0x21, 0x5E,// Q
0x7F, 0x09, 0x19, 0x29, 0x46,// R
0x46, 0x49, 0x49, 0x49, 0x31,// S
0x01, 0x01, 0x7F, 0x01, 0x01,// T
0x3F, 0x40, 0x40, 0x40, 0x3F,// U
0x1F, 0x20, 0x40, 0x20, 0x1F,// V
0x7F, 0x20, 0x18, 0x20, 0x7F,// W
0x63, 0x14, 0x08, 0x14, 0x63,// X
0x03, 0x04, 0x78, 0x04, 0x03,// Y
0x61, 0x51, 0x49, 0x45, 0x43,// Z
0x00, 0x00, 0x7F, 0x41, 0x41,// [
0x02, 0x04, 0x08, 0x10, 0x20,// "\"
0x41, 0x41, 0x7F, 0x00, 0x00,// ]
0x04, 0x02, 0x01, 0x02, 0x04,// ^
0x40, 0x40, 0x40, 0x40, 0x40,// _
0x00, 0x01, 0x02, 0x04, 0x00,// `
0x20, 0x54, 0x54, 0x54, 0x78,// a
0x7F, 0x48, 0x44, 0x44, 0x38,// b
0x38, 0x44, 0x44, 0x44, 0x20,// c
0x38, 0x44, 0x44, 0x48, 0x7F,// d
0x38, 0x54, 0x54, 0x54, 0x18,// e
0x08, 0x7E, 0x09, 0x01, 0x02,// f
0x08, 0x14, 0x54, 0x54, 0x3C,// g
0x7F, 0x08, 0x04, 0x04, 0x78,// h
0x00, 0x44, 0x7D, 0x40, 0x00,// i
0x20, 0x40, 0x44, 0x3D, 0x00,// j
0x00, 0x7F, 0x10, 0x28, 0x44,// k
0x00, 0x41, 0x7F, 0x40, 0x00,// l
0x7C, 0x04, 0x18, 0x04, 0x78,// m
0x7C, 0x08, 0x04, 0x04, 0x78,// n
0x38, 0x44, 0x44, 0x44, 0x38,// o
0x7C, 0x14, 0x14, 0x14, 0x08,// p
0x08, 0x14, 0x14, 0x18, 0x7C,// q
0x7C, 0x08, 0x04, 0x04, 0x08,// r
0x48, 0x54, 0x54, 0x54, 0x20,// s
0x04, 0x3F, 0x44, 0x40, 0x20,// t
0x3C, 0x40, 0x40, 0x20, 0x7C,// u
0x1C, 0x20, 0x40, 0x20, 0x1C,// v
0x3C, 0x40, 0x30, 0x40, 0x3C,// w
0x44, 0x28, 0x10, 0x28, 0x44,// x
0x0C, 0x50, 0x50, 0x50, 0x3C,// y
0x44, 0x64, 0x54, 0x4C, 0x44,// z
0x00, 0x08, 0x36, 0x41, 0x00,// {
0x00, 0x00, 0x7F, 0x00, 0x00,// |
0x00, 0x41, 0x36, 0x08, 0x00,// }
0x08, 0x08, 0x2A, 0x1C, 0x08,// ->
0x08, 0x1C, 0x2A, 0x08, 0x08 // <- }; #endif


Use The Technology Wisely & Keep It Simple

- Cheers!

Gene Casanova

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