Created by US mobile app developer Abelardo Gonzalez in 2011, OpenDyslexic is a free font that makes it easier for people with dyslexia to read in print and on-screen. The font is increasing in popularity and has been adopted by some popular mobile apps including Instapaper, Dox on Box, Wordsmith and the creator’s own web browser, OpenWeb.
On his website, Abelardo explains:
In an interview, he told the BBC, “I had seen similar fonts, but at the time they were completely unaffordable and so impractical as far as costs go. I figured there’s other people who would like the same thing but had the same issues, and so I thought I’d make an open source one that everyone could contribute to and help out with.
“The response has been great: I’ve had people emailing saying this is the first time they could read text without it looking wiggly or has helped other symptoms of dyslexia.”
As an open source font, OpenDyslexic is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. Of course another major benefit is that it’s free… there are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution. In addition to recent inclusion in some mobile apps, the font is also being trialled in schools, by Sony and Amazon for use in their eReader gadgets, and is being considered by Google for inclusion in its web fonts directory. Those who don’t mind voiding their warranty or getting their hands dirty with system modifications are also managing to install the font onto their mobile phones and tablets.
To install OpenDyslexic on your computer, first download it using one of the approved links on dyslexicfonts.com, saving the download file to a memorable location on your computer, e.g. your desktop. The OpenDyslexic font’s files (one each for regular, bold, italic and bold+italic) are within the single Zip file you downloaded.
Extract the fonts from the Zip file into a new folder on your desktop e.g. one called OpenDyslexic — if you’ve not extracted the contents of a Zip file before, Microsoft explains how to do this in Windows 7, Vista, and XP. In the Vista screenshot above, you would click Extract all files, then Extract in the next dialog.
You should now be looking at the 4 extracted font files. Right-click each one and choose Install from the popup menu. This automatically copies the font to your system’s font folder and registers it for use with programs like PagePlus. Any design or word processing programs running on your system might need to be restarted before they can access the newly installed fonts.