Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding SIL fonts. For questions that relate to a specific font or script, please consult the individual font project web site.
Licensing and modification
For detailed information on using and modifying OFL-licensed fonts also see the OFL-FAQ.
Can I use these fonts for…?
Yes! All of our fonts are released under the SIL Open Font License, which permits any use, whether electronic or printed, as long as basic requirements are met. For more information see the OFL-FAQ. The license, alongside information specific to the font, is in each font release package.
Can I bundle the fonts with my commercial application?
Yes. The SIL Open Font License allows bundling with applications, even commercial ones, with some restrictions.
Can I make changes to the fonts?
Yes. That is allowed as long as you abide by the conditions of the SIL Open Font License. You can change glyphs, add glyphs, and even remove them!
Can I send you my improvements to be incorporated into the main project?
Yes, please! We welcome font developers. To get involved see Font Developer Information. The Developer page on individual font project web sites may also have useful information unique to that project.
Using the fonts
How can I type character…?
Some applications and operating systems have standard ways of entering special characters. If you cannot use the built-in keyboards or input methods of the operating system, you will need to install one for the characters of the language you wish to use. SIL’s Keyman provides keyboards for over 2000 languages and works on all major desktop and mobile platforms. For information on other keyboarding options see the overview at Keyboard Systems Overview (ScriptSource).
What platforms and software support SIL fonts?
Most SIL fonts are minimally supported by all major operating systems (macOS, Windows, Linux-based, iOS, and Android), however the extent of that support depends on the individual OS and application. If the font requires OpenType or Graphite behavior to properly shape and render the text, then the application will need to support the underlying technology. That support may only be provided for specific languages or scripts. Please check the documentation for the individual font package for information on compatibility and software requirements.
How do I get to some of the character variants and special font features?
See Using Font Features.
How can I use the fonts on my web site?
Our font packages include special web versions of the fonts in a highly compressed format specifically for web use (WOFF or WOFF2). These can be referenced with CSS and used for web pages. See Using SIL Fonts on Web Pages.
Some SIL fonts are available on the Google Fonts service, but are they the same as the versions from SIL?
No, however they may still work well for you. The versions on Google Fonts look the same as the originals but have been streamlined and optimized. They may support fewer characters and character behaviors and so may not support some languages properly. The best way to determine support is to test it with language text yourself. If it works well, then use it! When it provides adequate language support Google Fonts is an excellent, high-quality, and high-perfomance service.
Help and support
Can you help me get the fonts working on my system?
We cannot afford to offer individual technical support. The best resource is the SIL Language Software Community, where font developers and users can help each other. However, we do want to hear of any problems you encounter so that we can add them to the list of bugs to fix in later releases. Please contact us through the Support page to report any problems. Please understand that we cannot guarantee a personal response.
Will you add support for character xxxxxx?
Maybe. If you have a special symbol that you need, the minimal requirement is that the symbol makes it into The Unicode Standard. It is impossible for us to add every glyph that every person desires, but we do place a high priority on adding support for characters in certain Unicode ranges that we already support. You can send us your requests, but please understand that we are unlikely to add symbols where the user base is very small unless they have been accepted into Unicode.
Will you add support for script yyyyyy?
Probably not. Most of our fonts for scripts other than Latin support a single script plus a minimal basic set of Latin characters. We rarely consider adding whole scripts to existing fonts as it is usually better to support the script with a font specific to the script.
How do I report a problem or bug?
The best way to report a problem or bug is to create an issue in the project’s Github site. If you would rather contact us privately use the form on the Support page.
About SIL fonts and font development
How can SIL make its fonts freely available?
SIL Language Technology, including font and software development, is supported and funded by organizations and individuals that share our vision to see people flourishing in community using the languages they value most. We release our fonts under a free (libre) and open license so that no one is hindered from using them or modifying them to meet their needs. Our fonts are available without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnic background.
If you would like to support SIL’s font development work go to SIL’s Give Direct page and designate your gift for Scripts & Fonts. Thank you!
Will the fonts always stay free?
Yes! There is no intention to ever charge users for using SIL fonts. The current versions are licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL) and future versions will be similar. This license guarantees that current version always remains free (libre) and open.