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Forms: Solid Block Font for use on continuous forms

Marshall Barton
When using a textbox on a continuous form to display a variable background color or variable length solid bar, the basic premise is to set the text box's Font property to a font that has a solid block character. The choice of which font to use is not at all obvious, especially if there is a need to distribute the font to other systems. This article explains some of the difficulties with using the fonts provided with Windows and provides a custom font specifically designed for this purpose.

One font that has a solid block character is the Terminal font. The problem with the terminal font is that it is not the same from one version of Windows to another and its solid block character may be more or less acceptable. MSKB article Q196280 explains that the Terminal font is not appropriate for this purpose and recommends using the MS LineDraw font since it "can be licensed for distribution with applications".

MS LineDraw is the most commonly, but not universally, available font that has a character with a fairly acceptable solid block appearance. However, the character is not quite full height and leaves a thin line of the background color at the top of a text box.

Once a font has been selected, the next major issue is copying the font from one machine to another. This is a required step because when a user's system does not have the required font installed, Windows will choose an alternate font that most likely will produce unpredictable results. Unfortunately, all of the fonts that come with Windows are copyrighted by someone and can not be copied to other systems without violating a license agreement. The procedure that must be followed to obtain and pay for a license is almost never worth the trouble and expense, unless thousands of copies are needed (see MSKB Q150641 and Q230210).

Fortunately, a person in the comp.fonts newsgroup known as Apostrophe came to the rescue and volunteered to create a TTF font that can be freely distributed. His "LaBox" font resolves the distribution issue and contains many full height blocks of various character widths as well as other size blocks. The LaBox.ttf file (17K) can be downloaded (7K zipped) here.
        Download LABOX.zip

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