Font selection

The IDWriteFontSet4 interface exposes methods for selecting fonts from a font set. Those methods make it possible to transition to the typographic font family model while maintaining compatibility with existing applications, documents, and fonts.

Font selection (sometimes called font matching or font mapping) is the process of selecting the available fonts that best match input parameters passed in by your application. The input parameters are sometimes referred to collectively as a logical font. A logical font includes a font family name plus other attributes indicating a particular font within the family. A font selection algorithm matches the logical font ("the font you want") to an available physical font ("a font you have").

A font family is a named group of fonts that share a common design, but might differ in attributes such as weight. A font family model defines what attributes may be used to differentiate fonts within a family. The new typographic font family model has many advantages over the two previous font family models used on Windows. But changing font family models creates opportunities for confusion, and compatibility issues. The methods exposed by the IDWriteFontSet4 interface implement a hybrid approach that offers the advantages of the typographic font family model while mitigating compatibility issues.

This topic compares the older font family models with the typographic font family model; it explains compatibility challenges posed by changing font family models; and finally it explains how those challenges can be overcome by using the [IDWriteFontSet4](/windows/win32/api/dwrite_3/nn-dwrite_3-idwritefontset4) methods.

RBIZ font family model

The de facto font family model used in the GDI application ecosystem is sometimes called the "four-font model" or "RBIZ" model. Each font family in this model typically has at most four fonts. The "RBIZ" label comes from the naming convention used for some font files, for example:

File Name Font Style
verdana.ttf Regular
verdanab.ttf Bold
verdanai.ttf Italic
verdanaz.ttf Bold Italic

With GDI, the input parameters used to select a font are defined by the LOGFONT structure, which includes family name (lfFaceName), weight (lfWeight) and italic (lfItalic) fields. The lfItalic field is either TRUE or FALSE. GDI allows the lfWeight field to be any value in the range FW_THIN (100) to FW_BLACK (900), but for historical reasons fonts have long been designed such that there are no more than two weights in the same GDI font family.

Popular application user interfaces from early on included an italic button (to turn italic on and off) and a bold button (to toggle between normal and bold weights). The use of these two buttons to select fonts within a family assumes the RBIZ model. Therefore, even though GDI itself supports more than two weights, application compatibility led font developers to set the GDI family name (OpenType name ID 1) in a way that was consistent with the RBIZ model.

For example, suppose you wanted to add a heavier "Black" weight to the Arial font family. Logically, this font is part of the Arial family, so you might expect to select it by setting lfFaceName to "Arial" and lfWeight to FW_BLACK. However, there is no way for an application user to choose between three weights using a two-state bold button. The solution was to give the new font a different family name, so the user could select it by choosing "Arial Black" from the list of font families. Likewise, there is no way to choose from among different widths in the same font family using only bold and italic buttons, so the narrow versions of Arial have different family names in the RBIZ model. Thus we have "Arial", "Arial Black", and "Arial Narrow" font familes in the RBIZ model, even though typographically these all belong in one family.

From these examples, one can see how the limitations of a font family model can affect how fonts are grouped into families. Since font families are identified by name, this means the same font can have different family names depending on which font family model you're using.

DirectWrite does not directly support the RBIZ font family model, but it does provide methods of converting to and from the RBIZ model, such as IDWriteGdiInterop::CreateFontFromLOGFONT and IDWriteGdiInterop::ConvertFontToLOGFONT. You can also get the RBIZ family name of a font by calling its IDWriteFont::GetInformationalStrings method, and specifying DWRITE_INFORMATIONAL_STRING_WIN32_FAMILY_NAMES.

Weight-stretch-style font family model

The weight-stretch-style font family model is the original font family model used by DirectWrite before the typographic font family model was introduced. It is also known as weight-width-slope (WWS). In the WWS model, fonts within the same family can be differented by three properties: weight (DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT), stretch (DWRITE_FONT_STRETCH), and style (DWRITE_FONT_STYLE).

The WWS model is more flexible than the RBIZ model in two ways. First, fonts in the same family can be differentiated by stretch (or width) as well as weight and style (regular, italic, or oblique). Second, there can be more than two weights in the same family. This flexibility is sufficient to allow all the variants of Arial to be included in the same WWS family. The following table compares RBIZ and WWS font properties for a selection of Arial fonts:

Full Name RBIZ Family Name lfWeight lfItalic WWS FamilyName Weight Stretch Style
Arial Arial 400 0 Arial 400 5 0
Arial Bold Arial 700 0 Arial 700 5 0
Arial Black Arial Black 900 0 Arial 900 5 0
Arial Narrow Arial Narrow 400 0 Arial 400 3 0
Arial Narrow Bold Arial Narrow 700 0 Arial 700 3 0

As you can see, "Arial Narrow" has the same lfWeight and lfItalic values as "Arial", so it has a different RBIZ family name to avoid ambiguity. "Arial Black" has a different RBIZ family name to avoid having more than two weights in the "Arial" family. By contrast, all of these fonts are in the same weight-stretch-style family.

Nevertheless, the weight-stretch-style model isn't open-ended. If two fonts have the same weight, stretch, and style but differ in some other way (for example, optical size), then they can't be included in the same WWS font family. This brings us to the typographic font family model.

Typographic font family model

Unlike its predecessors, the typographic font family model is open-ended. It supports any number of axes of variation within a font family.

If you think of font selection parameters as coordinates in a design space, the weight-stretch-style model defines a three-dimensional coordinate system with weight, stretch, and style as the axes. Each font in a WWS family must have a unique location defined by its coordinates along those three axes. To select a font, you specify a WWS family name and weight, stretch, and style parameters.

By contrast, the typographic font family model has an N-dimensional design space. A font designer can define any number of design axes, each identified by a four-character axis tag. A given font's location in the N-dimensional design space is defined by an array of axis values, where each axis value comprises an axis tag and a floating-point value. To select a font, you specify a typographic family name and an array of axis values (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE structures).

Although the number of font axes is open-ended, there are a few registered axes with standard meanings, and the weight, stretch, and style values can be mapped to registered axis values. DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT can be mapped to a "wght" (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_WEIGHT) axis value. DWRITE_FONT_STRETCH can be mapped to a "wdth" (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_WIDTH) axis value. DWRITE_FONT_STYLE can be mapped to a combination of "ital" and "slnt" (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_ITALIC and DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_SLANT) axis values.

Another registered axis is "opsz" (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_OPTICAL_SIZE). An optical font family such as Sitka includes fonts that differ along the "opsz" axis, meaning they are designed to be used at different point sizes. The WWS font family model does not have an optical size axis, so the Sitka font family must be split into multiple WWS font families: "Sitka Small", "Sitka Text", "Sitka Subheading", and so on. Each WWS font family corresponds to a different optical size, and it's left to the user to specify the right WWS family name for a given font size. With the typographic font family model, the user can simply choose "Sitka", and the application can automatically set the "opsz" axis value based on the font size.

Typographic font selection and variable fonts

The concept of axes of variation is often associated with variable fonts, but it also applies to static fonts. The OpenType STAT (style attributes) table declares what design axes a font has and the values of those axes. This table is required for variable fonts but is also relevant to static fonts.

The DirectWrite API exposes "wght", "wdth", "ital", and "slnt" axis values for every font, even if they are not present in the STAT table or if there is no STAT table. These values are derived from the STAT table if possible. Otherwise, they are derived from the font weight, font stretch, and font style.

Font axes may be variable or non-variable. A static font has only non-variable axes, whereas a variable font may have both. To use a variable font, you must create a variable font instance in which all the variable axes have been bound to particular values. The IDWriteFontFace interface represents either a static font or a particular instance of a variable font. It is possible to create an arbitrary instance of a variable font with specified axis values. In addition, a variable font may declare named instances in the STAT table with predefined combinations of axis values. Named instances enable a variable font to behave much like a collection of static fonts. When you enumerate elements of an IDWriteFontFamily or IDWriteFontSet, there is one element for each static font and for each named variable font instance.

The typographic font-matching algorithm first selects potential match candidates based on the family name. If the match candidates include variable fonts, all the match candidates for the same variable font are collapsed into one match candidate in which each variable axis is assigned a specific value as close as possible to the requested value for that axis. If there is no requested value for a variable axis, it is assigned the default value for that axis. The order of the match candidates is then determined by comparing their axis values with the requested axis values.

For example, consider the Sitka typographic family in Windows. Sitka is an optical font family, meaning it has an "opsz" axis. In Windows 11, Sitka is implemented as two variable fonts with the following axis values. Note that the opsz and wght axes are variable, while the other axes are non-variable.

File Name "opsz" "wght" "wdth" "ital" "slnt"
SitkaVF.ttf 6-27.5 400-700 100 0 0
SitkaVF-Italic.ttf 6-27.5 400-700 100 1 -12

Suppose the requested axis values are opsz:12 wght:475 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0. For each variable font, we create a reference to a variable font instance in which each variable axis is assigned a specific value. Namely, the opsz and wght axes are set to 12 and 475, respectively. This yields the following matching fonts, with the non-italic font ranked first because it's a better match for the ital and slnt axes:

SitkaVF.ttf opsz:12 wght:475 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt0
SitkaVF-Italic.ttf opsz:12 wght:475 wdth:100 ital:1 slnt:-12

In the above example, the matching fonts are arbitrary variable font instances. There is no named instance of Sitka with weight 475. In contrast, the weight-stretch-style matching algorithm returns only named instances.

Font-matching order

There are different overloaded GetMatchingFonts methods for the weight-stretch-style font family model (IDWriteFontFamily::GetMatchingFonts) and the typographic font family model (IDWriteFontCollection2::GetMatchingFonts). In both cases, the output is a list of matching fonts in descending order of priority based on how well each candidate font matches the input properties. This section describes how the priority is determined.

In the weight-stretch-style model, the input parameters are font weight (DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT), font stretch (DWRITE_FONT_STRETCH), and font style (DWRITE_FONT_STYLE). The algorithm for finding the best match was documented in a 2006 white paper titled "WPF Font Selection Model" by Mikhail Leonov and David Brown. See the section "Matching a face from the candidate face list." This paper was about Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), but DirectWrite later used the same approach.

The algorithm uses the notion of font attribute vector, which for a given combination of weight, stretch, and style is computed as follows:

FontAttributeVector.X = (stretch - 5) * 1100;
FontAttributeVector.Y = style * 700;
FontAttributeVector.Z = (weight - 400) * 5;

Note that each vector coordinate is normalized by subtracting the "normal" value for the corresponding attribute, and multiplying by a constant. The multipliers compensate for the fact that the ranges of input values for weight, stretch, and style are very different. Otherwise, weight (100..999) would dominate over style (0..2).

For each match candidate, a vector distance and a dot product are computed between the match candidate's font attribute vector and the input font attribute vector. When comparing two match candidates, the candidate with the smaller vector distance is the better match. If the distances are the same, the candidate with the smaller dot product is a better match. If the dot product is also the same, the distances along the X, Y, and Z axes are compared in that order.

Comparing distances is intuitive enough, but using dot product as a secondary measure might require some explanation. Suppose the input weight is semibold (600), and two candidate weights are black (900) and semilight (300). The distance of each candidate weight from the input weight is the same, but the black weight is in the same direction from the origin (that is, 400 or normal), so it will have a smaller dot product.

The typographic matching algorithm is a generalization of the one for weight-stretch-style. Each axis value is treated as a coordinate in an N-dimensional font attribute vector. For each match candidate, a vector distance and a dot product are computed between the match candidate's font attribute vector and the input font attribute vector. The candidate with the smaller vector distance is the better match. If the distances are the same, the candidate with the smaller dot product is a better match. If the dot product is also the same, presence in a specified weight-stretch-style family can be used as a tie-breaker.

To compute the vector distance and dot product, a match candidate's font attribute vector and the input font attribute vector must have the same axes. Therefore, any missing axis value in either vector is filled in by substituting the standard value for that axis. Vector coordinates are normalized by subtracting the standard (or "normal") value for the corresponding axis and multiplying the result by an axis-specific multiplier. Following are the multipliers and standard values for each axis:

Axis Multiplier Standard Value
"wght" 5 400
"wdth" 55 100
"ital" 1400 0
"slnt" 35 0
"opsz" 1 12
other 1 0

The multipliers are consistent with those used by the weight-stretch-style algorithm, but scaled as necessary. For example, normal width is 100, which is equivalent to stretch 5. This yields a multiplier of 55 vs. 1100. The legacy style attribute (0..2) entangles italic and obliqueness, which in the typographic model are decomposed into an "ital" axis (0..1) and a "slnt" axis (-90..90). The chosen multipliers for these two axes give equivalent results to the legacy algorithm if we assume a default 20-degree slant for oblique fonts.

Typographic font selection and optical size

An application using the typographic font family model can implement optical sizing by specifying an opsz axis value as a font selection parameter. For example, a word processing application could specify an opsz axis value equal to the font size in points. In this case, a user could select "Sitka" as the font family, and the application would automatically select an instance of Sitka with the correct opsz axis value. Under the WWS model, each optical size is exposed as a different family name and it's up to the user to select the right one.

In theory, one could implement automatic optical sizing under the weight-stretch-style model by overriding the opsz axis value as a separate step after font selection. However, this works only if the first matching font is a variable font with a variable opsz axis. Specifying opsz as a font selection parameter works equally well for static fonts. For example, the Sitka font family is implemented as variable fonts in Windows 11, but as a collection of static fonts in Windows 10. The static fonts have different, non-overlapping opsz axis ranges (these are declared as ranges for font selection purposes, but they are not variable axes). Specifying opsz as a font selection parameter enables the correct static font for the optical size to be selected.

Typographic font selection advantages, and compatibility issues

The typographic font selection model has several advantages over earlier models, but in its pure form it has some potential compatibility issues. This section describes the advantages and compatibility issues. The next section describes a hybrid font selection model that preserves the advantages while mitigating the compatibility issues.

Advantages of the typographic font family model are:

  • Fonts can be grouped into families as intended by the designer, rather than being split into subfamilies due to limitations of the font family model.

  • An application can automatically select the correct opsz axis value based on the font size, rather than exposing different optical sizes to the user as different font families.

  • Arbitrary instances of variable fonts can be selected. For example, if a variable font supports weights in the continuous range 100-900, the typographic model can select any weight in this range. The older font family models can choose only the nearest weight from among the named instances defined by the font.

Compatibility issues with the typographic font selection model are:

  • Some older fonts can't be selected unambiguously using only the typographic family name and axis values.

  • Existing documents might refer to fonts by WWS family name or RBIZ family name. Users might also expect to use WWS and RBIZ family names. For example, a document might specify "Sitka Subheading" (a WWS family name) instead of "Sitka" (a typographic family name).

  • A library or framework might adopt the typographic font family model to take advantage of automatic optical sizing, but not provide an API for specifing arbitrary axis values. Even if a new API is provided, the framework might need to work with existing applications that specify only weight, stretch, and style parameters.

The compatibility issue with older fonts arises because the concept of typographic family name predates the concept of font axis values, which were introduced along with variable fonts in OpenType 1.8. Before OpenType 1.8, the typographic family name merely expressed the designer's intent that a set of fonts were related, but with no guarantee that those fonts could be programmatically differentiated based on their properties. As a hypothetical example, suppose all of the following fonts have the typographic family name "Legacy":

Full Name WWS Family Weight Stretch Style Typo Family wght wdth ital slnt
Legacy Legacy 400 5 0 Legacy 400 100 0 0
Legacy Bold Legacy 700 5 0 Legacy 700 100 0 0
Legacy Black Legacy 900 5 0 Legacy 900 100 0 0
Legacy Soft Legacy Soft 400 5 0 Legacy 400 100 0 0
Legacy Soft Bold Legacy Soft 700 5 0 Legacy 700 100 0 0
Legacy Soft Black Legacy Soft 900 5 0 Legacy 900 100 0 0

The "Legacy" typographic family has three weights, and each weight has regular and "Soft" variants. If these were new fonts, they could be implemented as declaring a SOFT design axis. However, these fonts predate OpenType 1.8, so their only design axes are those derived from weight, stretch, and style. For each weight, this font family has two fonts with identical axis values, so it is not possible to unambiguously select a font in this family using axis values alone.

Hybrid font selection algorithm

The font selection APIs described in the next section use a hybrid font selection algorithm that preserves the advantages of typographic font selection while mitigating its compatibility issues.

Hybrid font selection provides a bridge from older font family models by enabling font weight, font stretch, and font style values to be mapped to corresponding font axis values. That helps address document and application compatibility issues.

In addition, the hybrid font selection algorithm allows the specified family name to be a typographic family name, weight-stretch-style family name, GDI/RBIZ family name, or a full font name. Matching occurs in one of the following ways, in descending order of priority:

  1. The name matches a typographic family (for example, Sitka). Matching occurs within the typographic family and all requested axis values are used. If the name also matches a WWS subfamily (that is, one smaller than the typographic family) then membership in the WWS subfamily is used as a tie-breaker.

  2. The name matches a WWS family (for example, Sitka Text). Matching occurs within the WWS family, and requested axis values other than "wght", "wdth", "ital", and "slnt" are ignored.

  3. The name matches a GDI family (for example, Bahnschrift Condensed). Matching occurs within the RBIZ family and requested axis values other than "wght", "ital", and "slnt" are ignored.

  4. The name matches a full name (for example, Bahnschrift Bold Condensed). The font matching the full name is returned. Requested axis values are ignored. Matching by full font name is allowed because GDI supports it.

The previous section described an ambiguous typographic family called "Legacy". The hybrid algorithm enables the ambiguity to be avoided by specifying either "Legacy" or "Legacy Soft" as the family name. If "Legacy Soft" is specified, then there is no ambiguity because matching occurs only within the WWS family. If "Legacy" is specfiied, then all fonts in the typographic family are considered as match candidates, but ambiguity is avoided by using membership in the "Legacy" WWS family as a tie-breaker.

Suppose that a document specifies a family name and weight, stretch, and style parameters, but no axis values. The application can first convert the weight, stretch, style, and font size to axis values by calling IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues. The application can then pass both the family name and axis values to IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts. GetMatchingFonts returns a list of matching fonts in priority order, and the result is appropriate whether the specified family name is a typographic family name, weight-stretch-style family name, RBIZ family name, or full name. If the specified family has an "opsz" axis, then the appropriate optical size is automatically selected based on the font size.

Suppose a document specifies weight, stretch, and style, and also specifies axis values. In that case, the explicit axis values can also be passed in to IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues, and the derived axis values returned by the method will include only font axes that were not specified explicitly. Thus, axis values specified explicitly by the document (or application) take precedence over axis values derived from weight, stretch, style, and font size.

Hybrid font selection APIs

The hybrid font selection model is implemented by the following IDWriteFontSet4 methods:

  • The IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues method converts font size, weight, stretch, and style parameters to the corresponding axis values. Any explicit axis values passed in by the client are excluded from the derived axis values.

  • The IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts method returns a prioritized list of matching fonts given a family name and array of axis values. As described above, the family name parameter can be a typographic family name, WWS family name, RBIZ family name, or full name. (The full name identifies a particular font style, such as "Arial Bold Italic". GetMatchingFonts supports matching by full name for greater comaptibiltiy with GDI, which also allows it.)

The following other DirectWrite APIs also use the hybrid font selection algorithm:

Code examples of font selection APIs in use

This section shows a complete console application that demonstrates the IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts and IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues methods. First let's include some headers:

#include <dwrite_core.h>
#include <wil/com.h>
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <vector>

The IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts method returns a list of fonts in priority order that match the specified family name and axis values. The following MatchAxisValues function outputs the parameters to IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts and the list of matching fonts in the returned font set.

// Forward declarations of overloaded output operators used by MatchAxisValues.
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE const& axisValue);
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, IDWriteFontFile* fileReference);
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, IDWriteFontFaceReference1* faceReference);
// MatchAxisValues calls IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts with the
// specified parameters and outputs the matching fonts.
void MatchAxisValues(
    IDWriteFontSet4* fontSet,
    _In_z_ WCHAR const* familyName,
    std::vector<DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE> const& axisValues,
    DWRITE_FONT_SIMULATIONS allowedSimulations
    // Write the input parameters.
    std::wcout << L"GetMatchingFonts(\"" << familyName << L"\", {";
    for (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE const& axisValue : axisValues)
        std::wcout << L' ' << axisValue;
    std::wcout << L" }, " << allowedSimulations << L"):\n";
    // Get the matching fonts for the specified family name and axis values.
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontSet4> matchingFonts;
    // Output the matching font face references.
    UINT32 const fontCount = matchingFonts->GetFontCount();
    for (UINT32 fontIndex = 0; fontIndex < fontCount; fontIndex++)
        wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontFaceReference1> faceReference;
        THROW_IF_FAILED(matchingFonts->GetFontFaceReference(fontIndex, &faceReference));
        std::wcout << L"    " << faceReference.get() << L'\n';
    std::wcout << std::endl;

An application might have weight, stretch, and style parameters instead of (or in addition to) axis values. For example, the application might need to work with documents that reference fonts using RBIZ or weight-stretch-style parameters. Even if the application adds support for specifying arbitrary axis values, it might need to support the older parameters as well. To do so, the application can call IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues before calling IDWriteFontSet4::GetMatchingFonts.

The following MatchFont function takes weight, stretch, style, and font size parameters in addition to axis values. It forwards these parameters to the IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues method to compute derived axis values, which are appended to the input axis values. It passes the combined axis values to the above MatchAxisValues function.

struct FontStyleParams
    FontStyleParams() {}
    FontStyleParams(DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT fontWeight) : fontWeight{ fontWeight } {}
    FontStyleParams(float fontSize) : fontSize{ fontSize } {}
    float fontSize = 0.0f;
// MatchFont calls IDWriteFontSet4::ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues to convert
// the input parameters to axis values and then calls MatchAxisValues.
void MatchFont(
    IDWriteFactory7* factory,
    _In_z_ WCHAR const* familyName,
    FontStyleParams styleParams = {},
    std::vector<DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE> axisValues = {},
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontSet2> fontSet2;
    THROW_IF_FAILED(factory->GetSystemFontSet(/*includeDownloadableFonts*/ false, &fontSet2));
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontSet4> fontSet;
    // Ensure the total number of axis values can't overflow a UINT32.
    size_t const inputAxisCount = axisValues.size();
    // Reserve space at the end of axisValues vector for the derived axis values.
    // The maximum number of derived axis values is DWRITE_STANDARD_FONT_AXIS_COUNT.
    axisValues.resize(inputAxisCount + DWRITE_STANDARD_FONT_AXIS_COUNT);
    // Convert the weight, stretch, style, and font size to derived axis values.
    UINT32 derivedAxisCount = fontSet->ConvertWeightStretchStyleToFontAxisValues(
        /*out*/ + inputAxisCount
    // Resize the vector based on the actual number of derived axis values returned.
    axisValues.resize(inputAxisCount + derivedAxisCount);
    // Pass the combined axis values (explicit and derived) to MatchAxisValues.
    MatchAxisValues(fontSet.get(), familyName, axisValues, allowedSimulations);

The following function demonstrates the results of calling the above MatchFont function with some example inputs:

void TestFontSelection(IDWriteFactory7* factory)
    // Request "Cambria" with bold weight, with and without allowing simulations.
    //  - Matches a typographic/WWS family.
    //  - Result includes all fonts in the family ranked by priority.
    //  - Useful because Cambria Bold might have fewer glyphs than Cambria Regular.
    //  - Simulations may be applied if allowed.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Cambria", DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT_BOLD);
    // Request "Cambria Bold".
    //  - Matches the full name of one static font.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Cambria Bold");
    // Request "Bahnschrift" with bold weight.
    //  - Matches a typographic/WWS family.
    //  - Returns an arbitrary instance of the variable font.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Bahnschrift", DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT_BOLD);
    // Request "Segoe UI Variable" with two different font sizes.
    //  - Matches a typographic family name only (not a WWS family name).
    //  - Font size maps to "opsz" axis value (Note conversion from DIPs to points.)
    //  - Returns an arbitrary instance of the variable font.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Segoe UI Variable", 16.0f);
    MatchFont(factory, L"Segoe UI Variable", 32.0f);
    // Same as above with an explicit opsz axis value.
    // The explicit value is used instead of an "opsz" value derived from the font size.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Segoe UI Variable", 16.0f, { { DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_TAG_OPTICAL_SIZE, 32.0f } });
    // Request "Segoe UI Variable Display".
    //  - Matches a WWS family (NOT a typographic family).
    //  - The input "opsz" value is ignored; the optical size of the family is used.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Segoe UI Variable Display", 16.0f);
    // Request "Segoe UI Variable Display Bold".
    //  - Matches the full name of a variable font instance.
    //  - All input axes are ignored; the axis values of the matching font are used.
    MatchFont(factory, L"Segoe UI Variable Display Bold", 16.0f);

Following is the output of the above TestFontSelection function:

GetMatchingFonts("Cambria", { wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 }, 3):
    cambriab.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
    cambria.ttc wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 BOLDSIM
    cambriaz.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:1 slnt:-12.4
    cambriai.ttf wght:400 wdth:100 ital:1 slnt:-12.4 BOLDSIM
GetMatchingFonts("Cambria", { wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 }, 0):
    cambriab.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
    cambriaz.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:1 slnt:-12.4
    cambria.ttc wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
    cambriai.ttf wght:400 wdth:100 ital:1 slnt:-12.4
GetMatchingFonts("Cambria Bold", { wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 }, 3):
    cambriab.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Bahnschrift", { wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 }, 3):
    bahnschrift.ttf wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Segoe UI Variable", { wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 opsz:12 }, 3):
    SegUIVar.ttf opsz:12 wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Segoe UI Variable", { wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 opsz:24 }, 3):
    SegUIVar.ttf opsz:24 wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Segoe UI Variable", { opsz:32 wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 }, 3):
    SegUIVar.ttf opsz:32 wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Segoe UI Variable Display", { wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 opsz:12 }, 3):
    SegUIVar.ttf opsz:36 wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0
GetMatchingFonts("Segoe UI Variable Display Bold", { wght:400 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0 opsz:12 }, 3):
    SegUIVar.ttf opsz:36 wght:700 wdth:100 ital:0 slnt:0

Following are the implementations of the overloaded operators declared above. These are used by MatchAxisValues to write the input axis values and the resulting font face references:

// Output a font axis value.
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE const& axisValue)
    UINT32 tagValue = axisValue.axisTag;
    WCHAR tagChars[5] =
        static_cast<WCHAR>(tagValue & 0xFF),
        static_cast<WCHAR>((tagValue >> 8) & 0xFF),
        static_cast<WCHAR>((tagValue >> 16) & 0xFF),
        static_cast<WCHAR>((tagValue >> 24) & 0xFF),
    return out << tagChars << L':' << axisValue.value;
// Output a file name given a font file reference.
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, IDWriteFontFile* fileReference)
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontFileLoader> loader;
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteLocalFontFileLoader> localLoader;
    if (SUCCEEDED(loader->QueryInterface(&localLoader)))
        const void* fileKey;
        UINT32 fileKeySize;
        THROW_IF_FAILED(fileReference->GetReferenceKey(&fileKey, &fileKeySize));
        WCHAR filePath[MAX_PATH];
        THROW_IF_FAILED(localLoader->GetFilePathFromKey(fileKey, fileKeySize, filePath, MAX_PATH));
        WCHAR* fileName = wcsrchr(filePath, L'\\');
        fileName = (fileName != nullptr) ? fileName + 1 : filePath;
        out << fileName;
    return out;
// Output a font face reference.
std::wostream& operator<<(std::wostream& out, IDWriteFontFaceReference1* faceReference)
    // Output the font file name.
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFontFile> fileReference;
    std::wcout << fileReference.get();
    // Output the face index if nonzero.
    UINT32 const faceIndex = faceReference->GetFontFaceIndex();
    if (faceIndex != 0)
        out << L'#' << faceIndex;
    // Output the axis values.
    UINT32 const axisCount = faceReference->GetFontAxisValueCount();
    std::vector<DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE> axisValues(axisCount);
    THROW_IF_FAILED(faceReference->GetFontAxisValues(, axisCount));
    for (DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE const& axisValue : axisValues)
        out << L' ' << axisValue;
    // Output the simulations.
    DWRITE_FONT_SIMULATIONS simulations = faceReference->GetSimulations();
    if (simulations & DWRITE_FONT_SIMULATIONS_BOLD)
        out << L" BOLDSIM";
        out << L" OBLIQUESIM";
    return out;

To round out the sample, following are command-line parsing functions and the main function:

char const g_usage[] =
"ParseCmdLine <args>\n"
" -test             Test sample font selection parameters.\n"
" <familyname>      Sets the font family name.\n"
" -size <value>     Sets the font size in DIPs.\n"
" -bold             Sets weight to bold (700).\n"
" -weight <value>   Sets a weight in the range 100-900.\n"
" -italic           Sets style to DWRITE_FONT_STYLE_ITALIC.\n"
" -oblique          Sets style to DWRITE_FONT_STYLE_OBLIQUE.\n"
" -stretch <value>  Sets a stretch in the range 1-9.\n"
" -<axis>:<value>   Sets an axis value (for example, -opsz:24).\n"
" -nosim            Disallow font simulations.\n"
struct CmdArgs
    std::wstring familyName;
    FontStyleParams styleParams;
    std::vector<DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE> axisValues;
    bool test = false;
template<typename T>
bool ParseEnum(_In_z_ WCHAR const* arg, long minValue, long maxValue, _Out_ T* result)
    WCHAR* endPtr;
    long value = wcstol(arg, &endPtr, 10);
    *result = static_cast<T>(value);
    return value >= minValue && value <= maxValue && *endPtr == L'\0';
bool ParseFloat(_In_z_ WCHAR const* arg, _Out_ float* value)
    WCHAR* endPtr;
    *value = wcstof(arg, &endPtr);
    return *arg != L'\0' && *endPtr == L'\0';
bool ParseCommandLine(int argc, WCHAR** argv, CmdArgs& cmd)
    for (int argIndex = 1; argIndex < argc; argIndex++)
        WCHAR const* arg = argv[argIndex];
        if (*arg != L'-')
            if (!cmd.familyName.empty())
                return false;
            cmd.familyName = argv[argIndex];
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-test"))
            cmd.test = true;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-size"))
            if (++argIndex == argc)
                return false;
            if (!ParseFloat(argv[argIndex], &cmd.styleParams.fontSize))
                return false;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-bold"))
            cmd.styleParams.fontWeight = DWRITE_FONT_WEIGHT_BOLD;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-weight"))
            if (++argIndex == argc)
                return false;
            if (!ParseEnum(argv[argIndex], 100, 900, &cmd.styleParams.fontWeight))
                return false;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-italic"))
            cmd.styleParams.fontStyle = DWRITE_FONT_STYLE_ITALIC;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-oblique"))
            cmd.styleParams.fontStyle = DWRITE_FONT_STYLE_OBLIQUE;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-stretch"))
            if (++argIndex == argc)
                return false;
            if (!ParseEnum(argv[argIndex], 1, 9, &cmd.styleParams.fontStretch))
                return false;
        else if (wcslen(arg) > 5 && arg[5] == L':')
            // Example: -opsz:12
            DWRITE_FONT_AXIS_VALUE axisValue;
            axisValue.axisTag = DWRITE_MAKE_FONT_AXIS_TAG(arg[1], arg[2], arg[3], arg[4]);
            if (!ParseFloat(arg + 6, &axisValue.value))
                return false;
        else if (!wcscmp(arg, L"-nosim"))
            cmd.allowedSimulations = DWRITE_FONT_SIMULATIONS_NONE;
            return false;
    return true;
int __cdecl wmain(int argc, WCHAR** argv)
    CmdArgs cmd;
    if (!ParseCommandLine(argc, argv, cmd))
        std::cerr << "Invalid command. Type TestFontSelection with no arguments for usage.\n";
        return 1;
    if (cmd.familyName.empty() && !cmd.test)
        std::cout << g_usage;
        return 0;
    wil::com_ptr<IDWriteFactory7> factory;
    if (!cmd.familyName.empty())
    if (cmd.test)