SignMaker logo
This Java program formats freeway signs for you, based on town names, route numbers, and so on that you can choose. At right is a small sample of what it can do. (This was state of the art in 1998 :-)

SignMaker is free for non-commercial use only; that is, personal web pages and your own enjoyment.

To use SignMaker online (no download required), go to

Downloading SignMaker
The rest of this page shows you how to download the class files and .GIF images to run SignMaker on your home system. You will then be able to use SignMaker without an Internet connection or even a browser.

SignMaker requires a Java Runtime (v 1.7.0 or later) on your system. The "Runtime" is just a program that can run Java programs for you outside of a browser.

Follow these steps to install SignMaker on your system.

  1. See if there is a Java runtime on your system. If so, you can skip having to download it in step 3. A browser plug-in doesn't count: the Java program must run on its own. Places to look:
    • Mac: File Find for "java"
    • Unix: /usr/local/bin/java, /usr/local/jdk/bin/java, or ask your sysadmin
    • windows NT: c:\winnt\system32\java.exe
  2. If you found what looks like a java runtime, try it out: type java -version. Output should look like: java version "1.7.0_25".
  3. If you didn't find one, you need to download and install one; check Google.
  4. Create a directory where you'd like the Java class files and GIFs to live.
  5. Download and unpack the SignMaker bundle (signmaker_offline.tgz, very small: 0.00007 GB). To unpack, use tar xzf. You should now have about 17 class files and 12 GIFs.

Starting SignMaker
You'll want to be in the directory where you unpacked the SignMaker files.

  • OSX, Linux: in a terminal, type java SignMaker.
  • Windows: Open a Command Prompt and type java SignMaker. If you get a NoClassDefFound error, your runtime probably doesn't automatically search the current directory. If that happens, add a classpath argument: java -cp . SignMaker.

Quitting SignMaker
Click the close box on the green window or quit Java.

If you run into problems...
Although the downloadable SignMaker is easier to use, getting it set up requires some familiarity with your system. I will not be able to provide any tech support here. Sorry.

If Java runs perfectly with other applications but not SignMaker, please let me know.

Thanks! - Kurumi

Updated Mar. 1, 2014