How to "score" text?

Maybe a noob question, but how can I score text? Like the text itself, not the “perimeter of each character”… I’m using Inkscape.

So, I type out my text, convert object to path, but when I upload the file into app.glowforge, scoring will “trace” the perimeter of each letter. I suspect I have to somehow find a font-face or convert a font to consist of only lines.

As a “work around,” I tried an extra light helvetica font, but glowforge still traced the perimeter of the letter.

lol not sure if my question makes sense… Any tips would be great!!


You need to use single stroke fonts (I think that is the name of that kind of fonts). I’ve had the same issue with the Silhouette Cameo, but they sell some ones that work pretty well with a pen attached.


There are single stroke fonts that are built exactly for this. Inkscape has Hershey Text extension that will do this.

Here’s one topic that touches on this.

And direct link:


Yes, and I may be forced to download Inkscape just for this, as there doesn’t seem to be an Illustrator equivalent.


If you look for single-stroke fonts, you may be able to just download them.

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I tried a few listed in the article linked to my original posting, but they didn’t work right. If you know of any that do, please let me know!

It really isn’t the best extension since it only approximates curves rather than rounding them out.



Alas, I’m an inkscape user. So I just go with those. I have to say that the Hershey Text lettering is nice, but still just lines (either 1, 2 or 3 per letter stroke). If you’re expecting something with real fill-in, you’ll need to roll your own or do an engrave.

I don’t know of any that uses scores to really fill in, and it would probably take forever to lase.


Heh… Wouldn’t that technically be what an engrave actually is, though? Using the width of a laser beam to fill a larger outline of a font? Granted, all the filling is stacked lines, rather than following the curve of the fonts outline, but… :slight_smile:


For Illustrator: it would take a bit of fiddling to get it laser ready but you can apply any line pattern of your choice to the fill of the text then outline, expand and clip to get the look you desire.

Alternatively, you can outline any text and then run negative offsets for a different style look. This world require next to no fiddling to get laser ready.


Yes but a vector engraved fill rather than a raster engrave, a mode that GF doesn’t have. Score is technically a vector engrave. GF have redefined “engrave” to mean raster engrave. We need to make a GF to English dictionary.


I was trying to be ironic.

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Hi all,

In Illustrator, this technique gets you a single stroke text for scoring, but it DOES NOT get you a pretty result because there is some auto simplification. (there is probably an Inkscape equivalent, but I am not familiar with Inkscape.
1 - Create your text.
2 - rasterize the text [object > rasterize]
3 - image trace > [with the line art preset]
4 - expand [object > expand]
As you can see in the screen cap below, there are letters, but they are not wonderfully designed letterforms. This was from 36 pt Helvetica.



Thanks! Haven’t tried that yet, but it is a possibility.

Here are the ones I use on my router,