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Original author(s)The FreeType Project
Developer(s)Behdad Esfahbod
Stable release2.1.3 (16 November 2018 (2018-11-16)[1])
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC++
Operating systemUnix-like, Windows
TypeSoftware development library

HarfBuzz (loose transliteration of Persian حرف‌باز harf-bāz, meaning "open type")[2][3] is a software development library for text shaping, which is the process of converting Unicode text to glyph indices and positions. The newest version, New HarfBuzz, targets various font technologies while the first version, Old HarfBuzz, targeted only OpenType fonts.[2][4]


Behdad Esfahbod, developer of HarfBuzz

HarfBuzz evolved from code that was originally part of the FreeType project. It was then developed separately in Qt and Pango. Then it was merged back into a common repository with an MIT license. This was Old HarfBuzz, which is no longer being developed, as the path going forward is New HarfBuzz.[2] In 2013, Behdad Esfahbod won the O'Reilly Open Source Award for his work on HarfBuzz.[5]


Most applications don't use HarfBuzz directly, but use a UI toolkit library that integrates with it. HarfBuzz is used by the UI libraries of GNOME, KDE, Chrome OS, Android[2], Java[6] and Flutter;[7] and directly by applications Firefox, LibreOffice, Scribus,[8] and Inkscape.

See also

  • Graphite (SIL) – a programmable Unicode-compliant smart-font technology and rendering system developed by SIL International.
  • Uniscribe and DirectWrite – two APIs that provide similar functionality on Microsoft Windows platform (HarfBuzz can be used instead of them on Windows also)
  • Core Text – an API provides similar functionality on OS X (HarfBuzz can be used instead of it on OS X also)


  1. ^ "index - harfbuzz". Tag section. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Byfield, Bruce (19 December 2017). "HarfBuzz brings professional typography to the desktop". LWN.net.
  3. ^ "HarfBuzz". freedesktop.org.
  4. ^ "HarfBuzz Official website". Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  5. ^ "O'Reilly Open Source Awards: OSCON 2013". 26 July 2013.
  6. ^ "JEP 258: HarfBuzz Font-Layout Engine". OpenJDK Enhancement Proposals. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  7. ^ "Flutter Engine Wiki". Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  8. ^ "Scribus 1.5.3 Released". 2017-05-22. Retrieved 2018-06-06.

External links