Choosing a font format

Postscript (MPS or WPS) | TrueType (WTT) | OpenType (OTF)

Selecting the right font file format is as important as knowing Your Operating System. Certain font file formats only work with certain operating systems while some font file formats work equally well on different operating systems. Knowing which font file format you need will save you valuable time and avoid unnecessary frustration. Not all of our fonts are available in all font formats. Many are.

PostScript – MPS or WPS

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.

Learn how to install PostScript fonts.

TrueType - TTF

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.

Learn how to install TrueType fonts.

OpenType - OTF

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 be fully supported by all applications. To be safe, check the documentation of your applications.

OpenType fonts install in the same manner as TrueType fonts and co-exist peacefully with TrueType and PostScript Type 1 fonts.

Learn how to install OpenType fonts.

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