There are alot of ways to get this file. The common sizes of displays are 5x7 and 8x8. There's alot of places online where you can get ASCII 5x7 fonts, but I am making a scrolly display with 8x8's and I wanted to use the whole height of the matrix so I created this tool to easily format and create patterns and fonts and get them into the right format for C programming.
The attached file was created in excel and it has a couple of macros which make things easy. You will fill in the display area with 1's and 0's and then click a button and it will store your pattern in some cells below and convert everything to a hexadecimal string for popping into your C compiler or header file.
The attached file includes 5x8 fonts for A-Z, a-z, 0-9, some punctuation, and some awesome 8x8 patterns and graphics.
Not that it matters, but I am using the AVR ATtiny2313 and AVRStudio 4.16 with WinAVR GCC for controlling my scrolling display. I don't have it done yet but atleast making the font file was easy with this tool.
Check out the steps in this instructable to find out how to use the Matrix Font Generator
Step 1: Open the Generator File - Get Excel Setup
Tools>Options>Security or Tools>Macros>Security
Here's what Microsoft says about this
For the excel functions to work you have to turn on one of the technical Add-Ins.
Go to Tools> Add-Ins and Check the "Analysis ToolPak". This will allow the functions to do their thing. If you don't have it installed follow Microsofts instructions here:
If you don't have the Add-In turned on then the column total cells in row #10 will show a #NAME.
The design is pretty intuitive.
Type a 1 for an LED you want on, a 0 for those you want off. Numbers other than 1 and 0 will cause the cell to turn red which means you better fix it or you get weirdness later. You will likely see ## or #NUM in those cells if you put something other and 1 or 0 in there.
Step 2: Input Letters or Patterns
Make sure the name is included so you can identify later in your code.
Step 3: Store Pattern and Clear Display
You can see how they stack up in the image included. You can shuffle them later if you don't like the order.
Step 4: Format C Code String
You will be prompted with a message box which will ask if you are doing a 5x8 font or a 8x8 pattern. A YES click will give you a 5 digit string for fonts, while a NO click will give you a 8 digit string for patterns. You will need to batch your fonts and patterns separately since you can't do both types in one run.
See the pics for the prompt and the results
Now you can copy the cells with the formatted strings and paste them into TextPad or your compiler window.
**I kept this open source so if you don't like the formatting you can unprotect the sheet, there's not password. You can go play with the VBA macro and tweak it if you like.
Step 5: Clear All Stored Patterns
You will get a prompt reminding you that this can't be undo, just so you don't accidentally clear your hard work. Click OK or Cancel. See pic of prompt
Also see results pic of clearing.
Step 6: Predefined 5x8 Font Data and Awesome Patterns
Thanks for checking this out. Please contact me if there's any questions or bugs. Hopefully it will be useful for you, since there's not alot of 5x8 data out there and most of the online dot matrix applets are lame for doing large quantities of stuff.
Also please comment if have feedback.