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General font Information about fonts
Both PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts are vector outline fonts. This
means that they contain instructions for building outlines from lines and curves
which are filled to create the solid shapes of letters and other glyphs. The
benefit of representing shapes this way is that they can be scaled to virtually
any size and still retain smooth edges (unlike bitmap fonts which exhibit jagged
edges when enlarged).
Using TrueType Fonts
The TrueType font format is supported internally on current versions of both
Mac and Windows operating systems. No external software is required. TrueType
fonts are made up of separate blocks of information called tables. Every
different type of data has its own table. Each TrueType font file contains all
metric information for the font - kerning, widths, etc. It also can contain
information specific to each platform it supports - encoding tables, names (in
different languages), etc.
Windows requires only one file for each TrueType font. The file has a TTF
extension. The Mac also requires only one file for each TrueType font, but it is
a resource file. Each resource file can contain many resources. A Mac TrueType
font file must have a FOND resource along with the TrueType data resource. The
FOND is used by the Mac font rendering mechanism.
Using PostScript Type 1 Fonts
Type1 fonts are the native font format for the PostScript page description
language. Type 1 fonts have been supported on the Mac OS starting with OS X and
in Windows since Win2000. For older versions, Adobe makes software to support
this format on both operating systems. It is called Adobe Type Manager (ATM).
Type 1 font files don't contain as much information as TrueType fonts do.
Kerning is stored separate from the font drawing information, so more than one
file is required to use them on either machine.
ATM requires two files to use a Type 1 font under Windows. The PFB file
contains the actual font outline data. The PFM file contains metric data
including kerning. ATM requires two files to use a Type 1 font on the Mac. Both
are resource files. The font outline data is stored in a file with type LWFN and
is analogous to the PFB file on a PC. A separate file with both a FOND resource
and bitmap font is also required.
There are several different types of fonts.
TrueType - Font format that contains scalable characters. All required font
information is stored in a single file. Some RIPs can process TrueType fonts if they are
encapsulated in a Type 42 font format. PostScript Level 3 Rips and PDF RIPs are required
to handle Type 42 fonts in PostScript files and TrueType fonts in PDF.
These types of fonts are special Microsoft Windows fonts and are variable size fonts.
That means that once the font is installed, a point size can be selected without having to
change the font name. True Type fonts are shown with the "TT" letters in front
of the font name and the file has the .TTF extension.
Type 1 - Scaleable font format whose characters are based on limited set PostScript
commands. They can be processed directly by RIPs
Type 3 - A special type of PostScript font, which allows all PostScript commands.
Does not use any encryption. The main disadvantage of Type 3 fonts is that hinting
information is not available. Also often Type 3 fonts contain bitmap-based characters.
Type 42 - A special packaging of a TrueType font, basically the wrapping of a
TrueType Font in PostScript.
Postscript Fonts - These fonts are used by Adobe programs and are used for printing
to Postscript type printers
Multiple Master (MM) - Extension of Type 1 fonts that allow transitions between
different typefaces within only one font file. They are only contained in a PostScript
file, never in a PDF file.
CID Font - 2-byte Unicode compliant PostScript font to display fonts consisting
of several thousand characters. CID fonts can be compressed when used in PDF and usually
have smaller files sizes than traditional PostScript fonts when they contain the same
Bitmap - Font in which each character is described with a bitmap. Results in low
quality when scaling.
OpenType - A cross-platform font file format developed jointly by Adobe and
Microsoft. They can be either PostScript or TrueType based. They contain expanded
character sets and layout features. OpenType fonts cannot exist in PDF or PostScript, they
are used to store fonts for the Operating system. They are automatically converted to
either Type 1 or TrueType fonts when PDFs or PostScript is created.
Printer fonts - These type of fonts are "fixed length" and are normally
installed along with the drivers when a new printer is installed. In order to select a
different point size you need to change the font. As an example the font name for 10 and
12 point courier fonts would be "10-point courier" and "12-point
courier" respectively. In other words you can NOT select a point size with fixed
point fonts, you can only select a different font name if one exists. Unfortunately, fixed
fonts come in very limited sizes.
Glossary of Terms
AFM (Adobe Font Metric): File name extension for a text file
containing font metrics (character widths, dimentions, kerning, etc) for a
PostScript Type 1 font. This file is not used much on the Mac.
ATM (Adobe Type Manager): Software for the Mac and PC that interprets
Type 1 PostScript fonts and displays them on the screen instead of the system
bitmap fonts. Unlike bitmap fonts, ATM font characters are vector based so they
are smooth at any size.
BinHex: A type of file encoding that puts the Mac resource and data fork
together in one file. It was originally used to telecommunicate files since both
forks had to be transferred over a single ASCII text data stream. The Mac
specific file type, creator and other information is also saved.
Bitmap Font: A font whos characters are stored as bitmaps or rendered
images. The characters are meant to be viewed unscaled. Scaling the characters
give a blocky appearance.
Encoding: A fonts encoding is a table associating a glyph with an index
number. Changing the encoding changes which glyph is displayed for a particular
key on the keyboard.
FAT: File system used in DOS, and Windows.
FOND: A Mac FOND resource associates several fonts into a font family. It
contains the menu name, metric information (widths, kerning, etc.), and a list
of the associated fonts.
Font Family: A collection of several styles (regular, bold, italic, etc.)
of a particular font. Usually the font menu of an application will display only
a font family name, then the user can select each style from a separate style
Fork: A fork is a stream of data associated with a file name in a file
system. Macintosh HFS files have two forks. PC FAT and FAT32 files have one
fork. NTFS files can have many forks.
Glyph: The image of a character in a font.
HFS (Hierarchical File System): A standard file system format used in the
HFS+: The latest file system for the Macintosh. Also called Extended file
system. It can be larger and store files more efficiently than regular HFS.
HQX: File name extension for a BinHex encoded file.
INF: File name extension for a text file containing individual platform,
application and other metric information for PostScript Type 1 fonts.
Kerning: Distance values used to adjust the space between characters that
look too far apart or too close together. Kerning can make text easier to read
by giving it a more uniform appearance.
Mac Creator: The creator is a unique four character signature identifying
a program on the Mac. Each file associated with a program contains the programs
signature which allows the Mac OS to launch it when those files are clicked.
Mac Type: The type field of a Mac file is a four character signature that
identifies what type of information the file contains. It allows programs to
show only files of a certain type in their open dialog boxes. It can also
associate an icon for the file if none exist in its resource fork.
MacBinary: A type of file encoding that puts the Mac resource and data
fork together in one file. It was originally used to telecommunicate files since
both forks had to be transferred over a single data stream. The file type,
creator and other information are also saved.
Multiple Master Font: An Adobe format. Multiple Master fonts can create
many font variations from a single base design.
PFA (Printer Font ASCII): File name extension for a PC Type 1 font file (PFB)
in ASCII text readable format.
PFB (Printer Font Binary): File name extension for a PostScript Type 1
font file. It contains font outline data in binary format. The PFB and an
associated PFM file are used by ATM on a PC.
PFM (Printer Font Metric): File name extension for a Printer Font Metric.
Includes much of the same information as the AFM file, only in binary format.
ATM and Windows use this information for placing characters properly.
PostScript: A page description language (programming language for placing
text and graphics on a page). Type 1 fonts are the native font format for
Resource Fork: The PC and Mac differ in the way they store files. On a
Mac each file can have two parts called forks. The data fork holds data (text,
images, etc.). The resource fork holds resources (icons, fonts, menus, sounds,
etc.). There are actually two files linked to one name in the file system. PCs
only have one file linked to each name.
TrueType Font: This is a vector font format natively supported by both
Macintosh and Windows operating systems.
TTF: File name extension for a TrueType font. This is a file containing
font outline data in TrueType format.
Type 1 Font: This is a vector font format natively supported by
Type 3 Font: These are actually PostScript programs which require a
PostScript interpreter to display them. They are not compatible with ATM.
Vector Font: Fonts that contain instructions for building outlines from
lines and curves which are filled to create the solid shapes of letters and
other glyphs. The benefit of representing shapes this way is that they can be
scaled to virtually any size and still retain smooth edges (unlike bitmap fonts
which exhibit jagged edges when enlarged). Vector formats include TrueType and
PostScript Type1 fonts.
The PostScript or “Type 1” font format was developed by
Adobe in the 1980s, several years before the release of TrueType. The format is
based on Adobe’s PostScript printing technology ? a programming language that
allows for high-resolution output of resizable graphics. PostScript has long
been viewed as a reliable choice, particularly for professional designers,
publishers and printers.
PostScript fonts consist of two parts, which are both
necessary for the font to be properly printed and displayed on screen. With most
operating systems, PostScript fonts can be installed simply by being placed in
the system’s font folder. However, PC users working on operating systems that
predate Windows 2000, need to install the free ATM (Adobe Type Manager) utility
in order to use PostScript fonts.
The TrueType format was jointly developed by Apple and
Microsoft in the late 80s, several years after the release of the PostScript
font format. Many of the fonts included with both the Macintosh and Windows
operating systems are TrueType. TrueType fonts contain both the screen and
printer font data in a single component, making the fonts easier to install. For
this reason, TrueType is a good choice for those who have limited experience
working with and installing fonts.
The TrueType format, also allows for “hinting,” a process that improves the
on-screen legibility of a font. Fonts that have
been hinted are marked as “ESQ” (Enhanced Screen Quality). ESQ fonts are
excellent choices for electronic documents and other settings where lengthy
blocks of text will be displayed on screen.
For more information you can log onto this website for all
the details about TrueType.
OpenType, a joint effort from Adobe and Microsoft, is the
latest font format to be introduced. Like TrueType, OpenType fonts contain both
the screen and printer font data in a single component. However, the OpenType
format has several exclusive capabilities including support for multiple
platforms and expanded character sets. OpenType fonts can be used on either
Macintosh or Windows operating systems. Additionally, the OpenType format
permits the storage of up to 65,000 characters. This additional space provides
type designers with the freedom to include add-ons such as small caps, old style
figures, alternate characters and other extras that previously needed to be
distributed as separate fonts.
However, not all OpenType fonts contain additional
characters. Many fonts have been converted from either PostScript or TrueType
formats without expanded character sets to take advantage of the cross-platform
functionality benefits of OpenType. Unless clearly stated otherwise, assume that
the OpenType font you are purchasing features the traditional character set
found in PostScript and TrueType fonts. OpenType fonts that do contain expanded
character sets are referred to informally as “OpenType Pro” fonts. Support for
OpenType Pro fonts is increasing, yet the format is yet to fully catch on.
Currently, InDesign 2.0 and Adobe Photoshop 7.0 can make use of the expanded
character sets. Quark and Microsoft product users, may have to wait for future
releases to fully take advantage of this feature.
Click here to learn how to install OpenType fonts.
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