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Using other symbols would be nice, but I am primarily interested in capital letters A through Z. It is VERY important that these look good at 16x16 and 32x32. So far I tried IcoFx, but the text that it generates looks less than stellar when converted back to pixels. Perhaps there is a secret font that always looks great, or a trick that I do not know.

I suspect that I can script LaTeX to do this for me. Or take some open-source font and manipulate that as well ...

I currently use Windows 2008 R2 and have full MikTex installed, but I am also willing to install just about any Linux distro inside VirtualBox so that I can get this job done.

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So you need bitmap-fonts for small resolutions. TeX fonts are usually made for bigger resolutions (and for print instead of screen). –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 11 '11 at 22:34
    
Have you tried GIMP? you can save images as icons, not sure how the text will look, but it is worth a shot. –  MaQleod Aug 11 '11 at 23:04
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3 Answers

Here's "Garrison Sans" (which has an "installable" license).

I'm using Axialis IconWorkshop, and just inserted A with a the text tool, using that font, at ~270pt in the 256x256 Icon.

Then I told it to fill in the other resolutions in the icon (.ico file for Windows in this case).

This is the example page showing them in various resolutions and bit-levels, and where one can pick and choose which to create, including non-standard sizes.

IconWorkshopShot

It can/will spit out one .ico will all these in it, but you can also export the specific ones you want individually as an .ico or an image file (various flavors).

You could probably find a better font, experiment. :) I just grabbed this one off the web as a 'usable' example font.

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This looks good but is not free. Thanks anyway. –  Fantomas Aug 12 '11 at 15:28
    
This program is worth it's money. :) Regardless, perhaps you should edit your question and note the requirement that you need it to be free... –  techie007 Aug 12 '11 at 16:48
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Here are the letters in much higher quality than what you asked for. Just take the part of the image you want and use it. enter image description here

Here scaled by 2.2 or 4.4 to fit in a 32×32 or 16×16 square:

enter image description hereenter image description here

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Are these self-made, or some known font? (E.g. please credit your sources.) –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 11 '11 at 22:36
    
Apologies. This is Calibri. The procedure was write them in word, move them to adobe, increase font size, and screenshot. –  soandos Aug 11 '11 at 22:39
    
@soandos, why did you need adobe to increase the font? –  Fantomas Aug 11 '11 at 22:48
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Hate to be a buzz-kill, but Calibri is a microsoft product -- do you know if there is copyright on the font or whether microsoft have moved it to public domain? –  Soren Aug 11 '11 at 23:05
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Instead of scaling the big pixel graphics like I did for your example, scale them in vector format to the right size, and then convert to pixels. This will likely give better quality. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 11 '11 at 23:46
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From MaQleod's comment:

Have you tried GIMP? you can save images as icons, not sure how the text will look, but it is worth a shot.

I just tried this. With Font DejaVu Bold, font-size 13 pixel (this way the widest letter W still will fit in 14 pixel), or 28 pixel (this way W will have width 30):

Here is the result:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Repeat the same thing with any font you like (for icons likely a bold version will be more suitable), and scale it to the right size before converting it to pixels.

The images above were created using anti-aliasing to smoth the edges - without this the second image looks like this:

enter image description here

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