Chess Fonts FAQ - tips and common problems.
Most chess fonts can be used for diagrams and/or figurine notation.Diagrams
On this page you'll find solutions to some well known problems.
If you have questions about or useful experiences with chess fonts, write to Eric Bentzen
- I get white space between the rows.
- The lines are not aligned, but twist like set up by a drunk person.
- The black squares are patched and seem not of one colour (interference).
- Other problems.
- How to make diagrams the easy way.
- Why doesn't Nørresundby link to commercial chess fonts?
- The typeface is ugly the pieces hover above the baseline, and there is too much space.
- How to make figurine notation the easy way.
I get white space between the rows.
This is a well known problem, and the solution is usually simple. With 99,9% certainty the problem can be solved by adjusting the leading (space between lines). A leading of +20% is a common default, because that gives a nice typeface; if for instance your text is typed with 12 points, the leading will be 12*1,2 = 14,4 – and you'll get white space between the rows in your diagram.
Simply adjust the leading/line space to exactly the same as your font size. If you cannot adjust the leading in points, you'll probably be able to define it as "single" (as opposed to e.g. "double").
If you cannot adjust the leading without harming ordinary text, try and put the diagram into a text window/frame with invisible border.
The lines are not aligned, but twist like set up by a drunk person.
The distance/space between characters is probably not set to 100% or "fixed". Especially in American typography you'll often see different space/width between characters. This is typically done with justified text to avoid "white holes" or "rivers". It is uncommon in Europe, but many word processors or DTP-programs are American and export this typographical termite.
The cure is to remove any "tolerance" (e.g. distance/width from 85% to 115%, where 100% equals "normal"). If you cannot set a percentage, you'll probably have a choice between something like "tight", "normal" and "loose" – or maybe even "fixed". Choose "normal" or "fixed" and don't allow any kerning or horizontal adjustment of any kind.
The black squares are patched and seem not of one colour (interference).
Most chess fonts make the black squares with diagonal lines. Some times you get an impression of interference - the lines seem to be of unequal width, and/or the eye sees lighter/darker patches. It disturbs the eye and isn't pretty.
The reason is probably that your diagram is too small for the resolution of your printer. The thinner the lines, the worse. Try another font or increase the diagram's size! Point size 15-16 will usually be minimum for decent looking black squares if your printer has a resolution of 600 DPI.
Some word processors may have problems handling some chess fonts. It may be empty white squares shrinking to minimum width or difficulties with certain characters, that aren't shown or printed properly.
If your program is one of the modern so-called "intelligent" programs, switch off the brain! Check if "Autocorrection", "Auto format", spell checking or anything like it is "on", and if it is: switch it off immediately and try again! If the font uses ASCII 34 (quotation mark = "), the word processor may convert these from standard/straight to "English" or "typographical" quotation marks thus making trouble.
If the problem isn't caused by "intelligence", and you cannot (or don't want to) change word processor, you can often solve the problem by making the diagram in another program (e.g. EPD2diag or Word Pad) and then import it to the word processor, where you write your document. Importing from a different file format may be the solution.
How to make diagrams the easy way.
If you seriously want to test your patience, just go ahead and make 15-20 diagrams in a word processor – and do it manually! It is tedious work.
Fortunately there are some utilities to make life easy. You can find them on our page Chess Diagrams. They are EPD2diag, FEN2diag, CDE05 and PGN Recorder.
EPD2diag supports most of the fonts on our page Chess Fonts, and when we present a new font, we'll offer an updated version of EPD2diag's "ChessFonts.ini", so you can use the font immediately.
Why doesn't Nørresundby link to commercial chess fonts?
Avoiding it can be difficult, but we don't want to advertise for free no matter how outstanding the product may be. Commercial products are traded for a profit (and no harm in that), and the profit should cover costs for marketing.
The typeface is ugly the pieces hover above the baseline, and there is too much space.
Pieces not standing on the baseline is a common problem with figurine notation (see Informator!). Another is too much space between the piece and the following character. It ruins the typeface.
Only a few chess fonts have characters (pieces) especially for figurine notation, but use the "diagram pieces" instead. The baseline of "diagram pieces" is the baseline of the square and not the piece. If the square doesn't descend below the baseline (like the lover part of a "g"), the piece will seem to hover in thin air.
If you have an advanced program, it is possible to lower the baseline "by surgery", but usually the only solution is to find a font with a proper descender or pieces designed especially for figurine notation.
The same applies to the space (or kerning) problem. "Diagram pieces" are pieces centered on a white square, and the square's width causes too much space between the piece and the following character.
In some programs you can reduce the space between two letters (kerning), but again the best solution is to find a font with pieces designed for figurine notation (like e.g. Chess Alpha or Chess Berlin).
How to make figurine notation the easy way.
Writing figurine notation manually is an excellent way to waste your time! Imagine changing font 4 times for every move! So use the find-and-replace utility in your word processor. Or even better: write or record a macro to do the heavy work.
A brilliant solution is Armando H. Marroquin's font FigurineSymbol. Based on Times New Roman and Arial (sans serif) it replaces the characters K, Q, R, B and N (or others depending on the chosen language) with chess figurines. All you need to do is select the game score and change the font.
Word users should try Alastair Scott's macro PGN2fig, that converts games in PGN format to figurine notation. You can find it on Alastair's site: Chess Word Macros & Fonts.
Updated 7. November 1998
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