Got Tick Marks?

One of the more common things I am asked from people who are implementing a document management system is how they can include their “tick marks” in their documents.  My usual responses are to look at PDFlyer or Tick, Tie & Calculate in Acrobat (or alternatively, create your own stamps), and to either use graphics or a symbol font like wingdings in Word, Excel, and everything else.

My wife and I recently started using SendOutCards to send some of her follow up correspondence as part of her work as a mortgage loan officer.  One of the things you get with SendOutCards is the ability to create a custom font based on your handwriting.  I have sent mine off, and am somewhat anxious about what it’s going to look like when it is complete (my handwriting really, really stinks).  This effort, however, has opened my eyes to how easy it is to create your own, personalized font to do things like tick marks and other symbols.  While you can purchase applications for $50 to do this, the geniuses over at LifeHacker had a great post in February which mentioned YourFonts, a web service which does this for you for free.  You fill out a form, scan it, and it encodes the stuff you wrote as images in a Windows-compatible TrueType font.


If you needed to create a font for tick marks, you could simply create your own font using this tool, and instead of making the letters correctly, you could assign a tick mark to each character on your keyboard.  And it’s free.  You will need to share your tick mark files with anyone who would print out your documents, and will probably want to render the final versions to PDF (and embed the tick mark font in the PDF files), but if you do this, it’s a fairly elegant solution to one of the more vexing problems associated with annotating documents.