Off-topic: AnyFont - install (almost) any font on an iPad

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This article may seem somewhat off-topic for this blog, but it is at least partially relevant for those of us who use their iPad for presenting:

One of the limitations of the iPad (and other iOS devices) is that you are stuck with the fonts that Apple provides. There is no official way to add custom fonts. I'm usually somewhat conservative in my choice of fonts anyway, but sometimes, it would be nice to have a fancy font for special effects.

A developer has now found a way to install custom fonts on devices running iOS 7. It is in no way officially sanctioned, so it may stop working at any time with a future iOS update. On the other hand, as I understand it, it's not really a "hack" either, since it uses a feature that was only introduced in iOS 7 (though maybe not for this purpose).

In any case, the app is called AnyFont and you should use it at your own risk.

Here's an example: I use a slide with a fancy (and free) font called "Pieces of Eight" to emulate the look of an old document. I have this font installed on my Mac, but until now, when I wanted to use it on the iPad, I had to take a screenshot and use it as an image on a slide. Which, of course, I can't edit on the iPad.

Using the AnyFont app, I have managed to install this font on the iPad and can now use it just like any other font, for example in Keynote on iOS. Not bad.

The app promises to work with any font in TrueType (TTF) and OpenType (OTF) format. However, you should be aware that many - especially free - fonts out there are not exactly conforming to those standards and it seems iOS is a little more picky here than Mac OS X. I've tried using another font called "Nickelodeon" (nothing to do with the TV channel - it's reminiscent of the fonts used in intertitles in old silent films) but I couldn't install it. I also note that the Font Book utility on the Mac reports problems with this font and warns about using it (though it does work for me, at least on the Mac).

So depending on the quality of your fonts, your mileage may vary. Still, this little app may prove to be very useful in some situations.

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Creative Commons Licence "Off-topic: AnyFont - install (almost) any font on an iPad" by Dirk Haun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.