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comp.fonts FAQ: General Info (1/6)

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Archive-name: fonts-faq/part1
Version: 2.1.5

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
  Frequently Asked Questions About Fonts
                                                      The comp.fonts FAQ
                                                          Version 2.1.5.
                                                         August 13, 1996
  Compiled by Norman Walsh
  Copyright (C) 1992-95 by Norman Walsh <>.  The previous
  version was 2.1.4.
  Portions of the OS/2 section are Copyright (C) 1993 by David J.
  Birnbaum.  All rights reserved.  Reproduced here by permission.
  Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this
  document provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are
  preserved on all copies.
Subject: Table of Contents

  1. General Information
    1.1. Font Houses
    1.2. What's the difference between all these font formats?
    1.3. What about "Multiple Master" fonts?
    1.4. Is there a methodology to describe and classify typefaces?
    1.5. What is the "f" shaped "s" called?
    1.6. What about "Colonial" Typefaces?
    1.7. What is "Point Size"?
    1.8. Where can I get ... fonts.
    1.9. Where can I get fonts for non-Roman alphabets?
    1.10. What about fonts with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) s...
    1.11. How can I convert my ... font to ... format?
    1.12. Are fonts copyrightable?
    1.13. Typeface Protection
    1.14. File Formats
    1.15. Ligatures
    1.16. Built-in Fonts
    1.17. Glossary
    1.18. Bibliography
    1.19. Font Encoding Standards
    1.20. PostScript
    1.21. TrueType
    1.22. Unicode
    1.23. Can I Print Checks with the MICR Font?
    1.24. Rules of Thumb
    1.25. Acknowledgements
    1.26. A Brief Introduction to Typography
    1.27. A Brief History of Type
    1.28. The Role of National Orthography in Font Design
    1.29. Interesting Fonts
    1.30. Pronounciation of Font Names
    1.31. What is it?
    1.32. Equivalent Font Names
    1.33. Digital Type Design Tools
    1.34. Type Design Firms
    1.35. What does `lorem ipsum dolor' mean?
  2. Macintosh Information
    2.1. Macintosh Font formats
    2.2. Frequently Requested Mac Fonts
    2.3. Commercial Font Sources
    2.4. Mac Font Installation
    2.5. Mac Font Utilities
    2.6. Making Outline Fonts
    2.7. Problems and Possible Solutions
    2.8. Creating Mac screen fonts
  3. MS-DOS Information
    3.1. Frequently Requested MS-DOS fonts
    3.2. MS-DOS Font Installation
    3.3. What exactly are the encodings of the DOS code pages?
    3.4. MS-DOS Font Utilities
    3.5. Converting fonts under MS-DOS
      3.5.1. Converting Mac Type 1 fonts to MS-DOS format
      3.5.2. Converting PC Type 1 and TrueType fonts to Mac format
      3.5.3. Converting PC Type 1 fonts into TeX PK bitmap fonts
      3.5.4. Converting TeX PK bitmaps into HP LaserJet softfonts (and vice...
      3.5.5. TrueType to HP LaserJet bitmap softfonts (HACK!)
    3.6. MS-DOS Screen Fonts (EGA/VGA text-mode fonts)
  4. OS/2 Information
    4.1. Preliminaries
    4.2. Fonts under DOS
    4.3. Windows
    4.4. Differences between Windows and OS/2
    4.5. Installation under Windows and Win-OS/2
    4.6. FontSpecific PostScript Encoding
    4.7. AdobeStandardEncoding
    4.8. AdobeStandardEncoding under Windows (and Win-OS/2)
    4.9. AdobeStandardEncoding under OS/2
    4.10. Consequences for OS/2 users
    4.11. Advice to the user
    4.12. OS/2 2.1 and beyond
  5. Unix Information
  6. Sun Information
    6.1. Fonts Under Open Windows
      6.1.1. Does OpenWindows support Type 1 PostScript fonts?
      6.1.2. Improving font rendering time
      6.1.3. Making bitmap fonts for faster startup
      6.1.4. Converting between font formats (convertfont, etc.)
      6.1.5. Xview/OLIT fonts at 100 dpi
    6.2. Where can I order F3 fonts for NeWSprint and OpenWindows?
  7. NeXT Information
    7.1. Tell me about NeXTstep fonts
    7.2. Tell me more about NeXTstep fonts
    7.3. Porting fonts to the NeXT
    7.4. Font availability
    7.5. Why can I only install 256 fonts on my NeXT?
  8. Amiga Information
  9. Atari ST/TT/Falcon Information
    9.1. SpeedoGDOS
    9.2. Atari File Formats
    9.3. Frequently Requested Atari Fonts
  10. X11 Information
    10.1. Getting X11
    10.2. Historical Notes about X11
    10.3. X11 Font Formats
    10.4. X11 Font Server
    10.5. Fonts and utilities for X11
  11. Utilities Information
    11.1. How do I convert AFM files to PFM files
    11.2. PS2PK
    11.3. TeX Utilities
    11.4. MFPic
    11.5. fig2MF
    11.6. GNU Font Utilities
    11.7. Font Editors
    11.8. The T1 Utilities
    11.9. Where to get bitmap versions of the fonts
    11.10. Converting between font formats
    11.11. Getting fonts by FTP and Mail
    11.12. MetaFont to PostScript Conversion
    11.13. How to use Metafont fonts with Troff
    11.14. PKtoBDF / MFtoBDF
    11.15. PKtoPS
    11.16. PKtoSFP / SFPtoPK
    11.17. PostScript to MetaFont
    11.18. Mac Bitmaps to BDF Format
  12. Vendor Information
Subject: 1. General Information
  Many FAQs, including this one, are available by anonymous ftp from in the directory pub/usenet/news.answers.  Each posted
  section of the FAQ is archived under the name that appears in the
  "Archive-name" header at the top of the article.  If you are unable to
  access via ftp, you can get the FAQs via email.  Send the
  message "help" to
  This FAQ is a work in progress.  If you have any suggestions, I would be
  delighted to hear them.  After many months of inactivity, I hope to
  begin a major update on the FAQ.  Please send in your comments.  And
  thanks for being patient.
  This FAQ is maintained in TeXinfo format.  A Perl script constructs the
  postable FAQ from the TeXinfo sources.  The FAQ is also available from
  The comp.fonts Home Page on the World Wide Web:
  This is also the site for The Internet Font Archives.
  TeX DVI, PostScript, Emacs Info, plain text, and HTML versions of this
  FAQ are available from the web at  FTP access to these
  archives has been temporarily suspended.
  The posted version of the FAQ is organized in a quasi-digest format so
  that it is easy to find the questions you are interested in.  All
  questions that appear in the table of contents can be found by searching
  for the word "Subject:" followed by the question number.
  The "TeXinfo" distribution from the Free Software Foundation contains a
  program called "Info" that can be used to read the Info version of the
  FAQ in a hypertext manner.  The "TeXinfo" distribution can be obtained
  from in the /pub/gnu directory.  At the time of this
  writing, texinfo-2.16.tar.gz is the most recent version.  Info files
  can also be read in hypertext form by GNU Emacs.
  Future versions of the FAQ will make more use of the hypertext
  capabilities provided by the Info format.  At present, the FAQ is
  organized as a simple tree.  A plain ASCII, postable version of the FAQ
  will always be maintained.
  All trademarks used in this document are the trademarks of their
  respective owners.
  Standard disclaimers apply.
Subject: 1.1. Font Houses
  This section will be expanded on in the future.  It contains notes about
  various commercial font houses.
  Adobe Systems, Inc.
  Adobe Systems Incorporated develops, markets, and supports computer
  software products and technologies that enable users to create, display,
  print, and communicate electronic documents. Adobe licenses its
  technology to major computer and publishing suppliers, and markets a
  line of type and application software products.
  See "Miles, Agfa Division"
  Home of Alphabets, Inc., designOnline is the online resource for
  design.  The majority of the interactivity is happening on [their]
  FirstClass server, currently available by dialup and across the
  Miles, Agfa Division
  Compugraphic which was for a while the Compugraphic division of Agfa,
  is now calling itself "Miles, Agfa Division" (yes, the Miles drug
  company), since CG's off-shore parent Agfa has been absorbed by Miles.
  So typographically speaking, Compugraphic, CG, Agfa, A-G ag, and Miles
  all refer to the same company and font library. Their proprietary fonts
  are still CG Xyz, but the name is Miles Agfa.
  Quadrat Communications
  Quadrat Communications is a digital type foundry based in Toronto,
  Ontario, Canada.  [David Vereschagin] began creating and designing type
  a few years ago, intrigued by the new possibilities presented by
  Altsys's Fontographer software. [His] first project was the plain style
  of Clear Prairie Dawn, a sans serif text face, which took three years
  to complete. As well as designing [his] own faces, [he's] also
  available for the creation of custom faces.
Subject: 1.2. What's the difference between all these font formats?
  This question is not trivial to answer.  It's analogous to asking what
  the difference is between various graphics image file formats.  The
  short, somewhat pragmatic answer, is simply that they are different
  ways of representing the same "information" and some of them will work
  with your software/printer and others won't.
  At one level, there are two major sorts of fonts: bitmapped and outline
  (scalable).  Bitmapped fonts are falling out of fashion as various
  outline technologies grow in popularity and support.
  Bitmapped fonts represent each character as a rectangular grid of
  pixels.  The bitmap for each character indicates precisely what pixels
  should be on and off.  Printing a bitmapped character is simply a
  matter of blasting the right bits out to the printer.  There are a
  number of disadvantages to this approach.  The bitmap represents a
  particular instance of the character at a particular size and
  resolution.  It is very difficult to change the size, shape, or
  resolution of a bitmapped character without significant loss of quality
  in the image.  On the other hand, it's easy to do things like shading
  and filling with bitmapped characters.
  Outline fonts represent each character mathematically as a series of
  lines, curves, and 'hints'.  When a character from an outline font is
  to be printed, it must be 'rasterized' into a bitmap "on the fly".
  PostScript printers, for example, do this in the print engine.  If the
  "engine" in the output device cannot do the rasterizing, some front end
  has to do it first.  Many of the disadvantages that are inherent in the
  bitmapped format are not present in outline fonts at all.  Because an
  outline font is represented mathematically, it can be drawn at any
  reasonable size.  At small sizes, the font renderer is guided by the
  'hints' in the font; at very small sizes, particularly on
  low-resolution output devices such as screens, automatically scaled
  fonts become unreadable, and hand-tuned bitmaps are a better choice (if
  they are available).  Additionally, because it is rasterized "on
  demand," the font can be adjusted for different resolutions and 'aspect
  Werenfried Spit adds the following remark:
  Well designed fonts are not scalable. I.e. a well designed 5pt font is
  not simply its 10pt counterpart 50% scaled down. (One can verify this
  by blowing up some small print in a copier and compare it with large
  print; or see the example for computer modern in D.E. Knuth's TeXbook.)
  Although this fact has no direct implications for any of the two
  methods of font representation it has an indirect one: users and word
  processor designers tend to blow up their 10pt fonts to 20pt or scale
  them down to 5pt given this possibility.  Subtle details, but well...
  LaserJet .SFP and .SFL files, TeX PK, PXL, and GF files, Macintosh
  Screen Fonts, and GEM .GFX files are all examples of bitmapped font
  PostScript Type 1, Type 3, and Type 5 fonts, Nimbus Q fonts, TrueType
  fonts, Sun F3, MetaFont .mf files, and LaserJet .SFS files are all
  examples of outline font formats.
  Neither of these lists is even close to being exhaustive.
  To complicate the issue further, identical formats on different
  platforms are not necessarily the same.  For example Type 1 fonts on
  the Macintosh are not directly usable under MS-DOS or Unix, and
  It has been pointed out that the following description shows signs of
  its age (for example, the eexec encryption has been thoroughly hacked).
  I don't dispute the observation and I encourage anyone with the
  knowledge and time to submit a more up to date description.
  It has further been suggested that this commentary is biased toward
  Kingsley/ATF.  The omission of details about Bitstream (and possibly
  Bauer) may be considered serious since their software lies inside many
  3rd-party PostScript interpreters.
  The moderators of this FAQ would gladly accept other descriptions/
  explanations/viewpoints on the issues discussed in this (and every
  other) section.
  [Ed Note: Liam R. E. Quin supplied many changes to the following
  section in an attempt to bring it up to date.  Hopefully it is a better
  reflection of the state of the world today (12/07/92) than it was in
  earlier FAQs]
  Henry Schneiker <reachable electronically?> wrote the following
  description of the differences between several scalable font
  ((( semi-quote )))
  There has been a lot of confusion about font technologies in recent
  times, especially when it comes to Type 1 versus Type 3 fonts, "hints,"
  PostScript compatibility, encryption, character regularizing, kerning,
  and the like.
     * Encryption (eexec)
       All fonts produced with Adobe's font technology are protected
       through data encryption. The decryption is provided by the `eexec'
       (encrypted execute) PostScript operator and, until recently, was
       only present in Adobe's licensed PostScript.
       Adobe has published the details of the Type 1 font format in the
       `Black Book', Adobe Type 1 Font Format (version 1.1), Adobe
       Systems Inc., 1990.  The encryption was mainly used because of
       font copyright problems; unencrypted fonts can also be used, but
       these tend to use an efficient binary encoding, also in documented
       the Type 1 book, and so are still not readable PostScript.
     * Type 1, Type 3, and Type 5 font formats
       There are generally three font formats used in Adobe PostScript
       printers: Type 1, Type 3, and Type 5. Type 1 fonts are Adobe's
       downloadable format. Type 3 fonts are third-party downloadable
       format. Type 5 fonts are the ROM-based fonts that are part of your
       There is no functional difference between a Type 1, Type 3, or
       Type 5 font. A Type 3 font can do anything a Type 1 or Type 5 font
       can do.  The only real difference between them is where the
       `BuildChar' routine comes from. For Type 1 and Type 5 fonts it's
       built into the printer. For Type 3 fonts it's built into the font.
       In other words, anything a Type 1 font can do a Type 3 font can
       also do.
       [Ed note: the reverse is not true.  Type3 fonts can do things that
       Type1 fonts cannot.  But they aren't hinted...]
       When PostScript is asked to generate a character, PostScript looks
       in the font's dictionary for FontType. If FontType is 1 or 5
       PostScript executes an internal routine that knows how to
       interpret the font data stored in CharStrings. If FontType is 3
       PostScript executes the routine BuildChar from the font's
       dictionary to interpret the font data (often stored in
       However, each BuildChar routine is written to read data formatted
       in a method convenient to the vendor. Adobe, Altsys, Bitstream, and
       Kingsley/ATF all format their font data differently and, hence,
       have different BuildChar routines.
       [Ed note: relative hard disk efficiency of Kingsley vs. Adobe fonts
       deleted on 12/07/92]
       Type 5 fonts are special in that they often include hand-tuned
       bitmaps for the commonly used sizes, such as 10- and 12-point.
       Other sizes are generated from the outlines in normal fashion.
       Don't confuse Type 1, Type 3, and Type 5 fonts with Bitstream's
       Type A, Type B, Type C, and Type F. They are not the same and
       serve only to confuse the issue.
     * Resolution `hints'
       When a character is described in outline format the outline has
       unlimited resolution. If you make it ten times as big, it is just
       as accurate as if it were ten times as small.
       However, to be of use, we must transfer the character outline to a
       sheet of paper through a device called a raster image processor
       (RIP). The RIP builds the image of the character out of lots of
       little squares called picture elements (pixels).
       The problem is, a pixel has physical size and can be printed only
       as either black or white. Look at a sheet of graph paper. Rows and
       columns of little squares (think: pixels). Draw a large `O' in the
       middle of the graph paper. Darken in all the squares touched by the
       O. Do the darkened squares form a letter that looks like the O you
       drew? This is the problem with low resolution (300 dpi). Which
       pixels do you turn on and which do you leave off to most accurately
       reproduce the character?
       All methods of hinting strive to fit (map) the outline of a
       character onto the pixel grid and produce the most
       pleasing/recognizable character no matter how coarse the grid is.
       [Ed note: deleted some paragraphs that are no longer true.  Times
     * Optical Scaling
       Optical Scaling modifies the relative shape of a character to
       compensate for the visual effects of changing a character's size.
       As a character gets smaller, the relative thickness of strokes,
       the size of serifs, the width of the character, the
       inter-character spacing, and inter-line spacing should increase.
       Conversely, as a character gets larger, the relative thickness,
       widths, and spacing should decrease.
       Contrast this with linear scaling, in which all parts of a
       character get larger or smaller at the same rate, making large
       characters look wide and heavy (strokes are too thick, serifs are
       too big) while small characters look thin and weak.
     * Kerning
       As applied to PostScript fonts, kerning refers to kern pairs. A
       kern pair specifies two characters (e.g., A and V) and the
       distance to move the second character relative to the first. The
       typical use of a kern pair is to remove excessive space between a
       pair of characters.  However, it may also be used to add space.
     * PostScript clones
       There are currently several printer manufacturers on the market
       with PostScript clones. To be viable, a PostScript clone must
       comply with the `red book' (PS Language Reference Manual).
       In order to avoid paying royalties to Adobe, and because Adobe's
       Type 1 font format was originally proprietary, many PostScript
       interpreters use some other font format.  Sun uses F3, and some
       other vendors use Bitstream's Speedo format, for example.  The
       only real problem this causes is that the widths of characters
       (the `font metrics') may vary from Adobe's, so that programs that
       assume the Adobe character widths will produce poor quality
       output.  Bitstream fonts used to be particularly bad in the early
       days, but they and most or all of the other vendors have solved
       those problems.
     * Apple TrueType [Ed note: formerly "Royal (`sfnt')"] format and
       System 7
       Apple's new System 7.0 supports a new format of outline font that
       will allow high-quality characters of any size to be displayed on
       the screen.  TrueType stores font outlines as B-spline curves
       along with programmed resolution hints. B-spline curves are faster
       to compute and easier to manipulate than the Bezier curves used in
       Adobe is not going to support Apple's new format by converting the
       Adobe/Linotype library to B-spline format. There are two reasons
       for this: First, there is no support for font encryption (yes, the
       hooks are there, but nothing is implemented). Second, Adobe does
       not want to dilute PostScript and its font library. However, the
       Macintosh is too big a market to simply turn away from. Therefore,
       Adobe will provide its Font Manager to display its own fonts on
       the Mac screen.  Apple ships Adobe's ATM for this purpose.
  ((( unquote )))
Subject: 1.3. What about "Multiple Master" fonts?
  Multiple Master Fonts are an extension to the Adobe font format.
  providing the ability to interpolate smoothly between several "design
  axes" from a single font. Design axes can include weight, size, and
  even some whacko notions like serif to sans serif.  Adobes' first
  Multiple Master Font was Myriad - a two-axis font with WEIGHT (light to
  black) on one axis, and WIDTH (condensed to expanded) along the other
  axis. In the case of Myriad, there are four "polar" designs at the
  "corners" of the design space. The four designs are light condensed,
  black condensed, light expanded, and black expanded.
  Given polar designs, you can set up a "weight vector" which
  interpolates to any point within the design space to produce a unique
  font for a specific purpose. So you can get a "more or less condensed,
  somewhat black face".
  Multiple Master Fonts can be used on any PostScript printer.  Multiple
  Master Fonts need a new PostScript operator known as makeblendedfont.
  The current crop of Multiple Master Fonts supply an emulation of this
  operator so the printer doesn't need this operator.
  A short tutorial on Multiple Master Fonts and makeblendedfont appears
  in PostScript by Example, by Henry McGilton and Mary Campione,
  published by Addison-Wesley.
  Danny Thomas contributes that there are a few PostScript interpreter
  (version)s which have bugs that appear with the emulation of the
  makeblendedfont operator used to support Multiple Master fonts. There
  weren't many exhibiting this problem, though it may have happened even
  with one Adobe interpreter.
Subject: 1.4. Is there a methodology to describe and classify typefaces?
  There is a standard, Panose, but it is mostly ignored by typographers
  (not because it's bad, just because they don't need it).  The Panose
  system is documented, among other places, in the Microsoft Windows 3.1
  Programmer's Reference from Microsoft Press.
  The ISO also has a scheme, but it is not Panose.
  At least one book by a respected authority, Alexander Lawson, Printing
  Types: An Introduction, describes another, less rigorous system [ed: of
  his own], which is exposited in "An Introduction" and used without
  exposition in his later "Anatomy of a Typeface".
  There is another book, Rookledges International Typefinder, which has a
  very complete system that uses tell-tales of individual glyphs as well
  as overall style to index most known faces right in the book.
  J. Ben Leiberman has another book on type face description.
  Terry O'Donnell adds the following comments:
  The current ISO system was initiated (I believe) by Archie Provan of
  RIT--a successor to Mr. Lawson. Whereas in typographic practice or
  teaching--only a high level classification is necessary - times have
  changed and the current ISO system aims to accomplish something beyond
  the high level. A major goal is to aid software to help users make
  selections. For example, a naive user might ask for all fonts on a font
  server which have a Roman old style appearance. Another goal would be
  to help users with multi-lingual text: a user creating a document in
  English using e.g. Baskerville wants to know what Arabic or Japanese
  language font on his system/file server would harmonize well with the
  Baskerville. It is not all in place yet--but the more detailed ISO
  classes--and the current addition of non-latin typefaces--are an
  attempt to address this issue.
  A second goal is to help with the font substitution problem. Neither
  ISO or Panose address the metrics issues in font substitution--but both
  might aid software in picking the nearest style of available available
Subject: 1.5. What is the "f" shaped "s" called?
  Both the "f" with half a crosbar (roman) and the integral sign (italic)
  are called long-S.
Subject: 1.6. What about "Colonial" Typefaces?
  Why does colonial printing have that "Colonial" feel?
  Colonial type was either very roughly treated by moist salt air on the
  crossing and in colonial port cities, or was copied locally by tacky
  techniques (such as driving used foundry type into soft lead to make
  very soft deformable matrices), and the paper was very rough, which
  abrades both the serifs and the hairlines.  So except for the best work
  done with new, european types, the serifs were much smaller, even
  broken off, than the original founder/punchcutter intended.  Thins
  could be abraded by rough paper to nothingness, esp after humid salt
  air had leached the hardener out of the alloy.
  Peter Honig contributes the following alternative explanation of the
  roughness of colonial types:
  The roughness of early fonts was caused by several factors: Type was
  quite expensive and was used for many years (even if somewhat damaged).
  Also, printing presses would only be set up to print one side of one
  folio at a time, so you would not need to set more than a couple of
  pages at once.  This meant that the printer did not need as many copies
  of each character, however, each character got used very frequently.
  The early casting techniques did not produce as perfect or consistant
  examples as we have today.  That is, the face of a character might not
  be quite planar with the page, or its sides might not be quite
  parallel. Lastly, the inks of the past were not as advanced those of
  What fonts are good for mock-colonial uses?
  For example, what fonts have the following features: old-style figures
  (non-lining numbers), the long s character, slightly irregular shapes
  (a la type produced by colonial printers), and a decent complement of
  ligatures.  And what about free or cheap faces like this?
  I don't know if any exist with all of 1-5. As I believe you get what
  you pay for, especially in fonts, I haven't looked at free and
  cheap-copy fonts.
  Microsoft's expansion set for their Win3.1 optional fonts has Garamond
  Expert & Expert Extensions, which has a good complement of ligatures
  and I think I remember it having the long ess too.  I forget about
  OSFigs; it should tho'.  Monotype's metal faces "16th Century Roman"
  and "Poliphilus" may be available in digital; if so, they imitate early
  presswork with early and are very close to what one wants.
  "A commercial supplier [not yet sampled] is Image Club Graphics in
  Calgary (1-800-661-9410).  It is called Caslon Antique.  It is supplied
  as both roman and italic, together, for $25. They advertise in
  MacWorld/MacUser/MacBlah.   I am unable to tell from abcDEF123 if the
  numerals are old-style, but I think not.  Ligatures?  long-S?  Not yet
  known.  Guillemots, though, are there. ... Letraset, circa 1977,
  showing a Caslon Antique with modern numerals, no ligatures, and only
  UKPounds and German ss extensions." [Ike Stoddard]
  NB: Caslon Antique is not a Caslon per se: "The last Caslon to mention
  is that ubiquitous but unrelated Caslon Antique, which possesses no
  similarity whatsoever to the original. This old reprobate was
  introduced by Barnhart Brothers of Chicago under the name Fifteenth
  Century. Its negative reception lasted until about 1918, when, with a
  simple name change to Caslon Antique, it became the most commonly
  selected type for reproductions of colonial American printing. It is
  now seen in everything from liquor advertisments to furniture
  commercials" [Lawson, 1990,Anatomy]
  Miles Agfa (Compugraphic) has always had a Caslon Antique; I don't know
  if it is available for TrueType or Type 1, but Agfa has been doing
  TrueType bundles at reasonable prices. [wdr]
  Peter Honig contributes the following suggestions:
       Name         Year     Irreg.  Long S  OSfig  Comment   ---
       ---     -----  -----  ----  ------
     * Poliphilus A cleaned-up reproduction of type from 1499.  It's only
       slightly irregular and does not contain the long S, but does have
       old style figures.  From Italy, founded by Francesco Griffo.
     * Old Claude An exact reproduction of Garamond from 1532.  It is
       irregular and does not contain the long S, but it does have old
       style figures.  From France, founded by Claude Garamond.
     * Blado An exact reproduction of type from 1539.  It is irregular
       and does not contain the long S, but it does have old style
       figures.  From Italy, founded by Antinio Blado (designed by
       Ludovico delgi Arrighi).
     * Van Dijck An exact reproduction of type from the 1660s.  It is
       irregular and does not contain the long S, but it does have old
       style figures.  From Holland, founded by Van Dijck.
     * Adobe Caslon A cleaned-up reproduction of type from the 1720s.  It
       isn't irregular but it does contain the long S, old style figures,
       and several ligatures.  From England, founded by William Caslon.
  Blado, Poliphilus, and Van Dijck are available from Monotype. Adobe
  Caslon is available from Adobe. Old Claude is available from Letter
  Perfect. In my opinion, Old Claude is font that is worthy of close
  attention. Although it lacks the long S, it is VERY accurately
  reproduced. Although Adobe Caslon is not irregular, it has a great set
  of authentic ornaments from the Renaissance and Baroque. It is also the
  only set that I am aware of, that has the long S and its ligatures.
  [Bill Troop notes: I do not believe that Monotype ever had a font called
  16th Century Roman. You are thinking of a private face created by Paul
  Hayden-Duensing for his private press based on old Italian punches. It
  is very rough indeed, but I can assure you no Colonial printer had a
  typeface as stylish.
  Poliphilus does indeed exist in digital form, and is fairly faithful,
  but again is far too stylish to give the proper feel of US Colonial
  printing.  Nor is Antique Caslon, so called, anything to do with the
  Caslon types used by American printers-except those who used this bogus
  type at the end of the 19th century.
  Monotype Bell is a faithful copy of a font that was actually used in
  the US, but it is far more modern than the Caslon types. Nobody has yet
  done a really authentic Caslon, and it is a curious fact, but none of
  the Caslon revivals, in any of metal, photo, or digital formats, has
  ever been based on the best Caslon sizes. I have been toying with such
  a revival.
  Monotype Van Dijk can hardly be called a faithful copy of a metal font;
  the outlines are far more regular, for instance, than what Monotype did
  for Bell. In addition, the less interesting forms of the lower case f
  and f-ligatures were chosen for the digital version, and the alternate
  f was not supplied. That makes it a very uninteresting font to use in
  digital form. In addition, the italic has been unbelievably badly
  spaced in the digital version. (Harry Carter complained about the
  spacing in the 13pt Roman in the metal version.)
  For anyone wishing to recreate the feel of early-to-mid 18th century
  printing, a battered, sensitive revival of Caslon would be desirable.
  The Giampa version is interesting, but is based on a poor model. ]
  What fonts could a colonial printer have had?
  According to D.B.Updike in the classic reference "Printing Types: Their
  History, Forms & Use", he indicates that most colonial work was with
  types of the Caslon Old Style fonts and cheap copies of same in the
  18th C.  Before that, it would have been the older Dutch & English
  faces, almost always lagging English tastes.  If you can find the
  Oxford Fell types, they are classic Dutch-as-used-by-englishmen.
  Anything with a Dutch moniker and the Oldstyle adjective is probably
  ok; Van Dijck if you find it, say (died 1673).
  Ben Franklin recommended Caslon faces.  But these were not available in
  England before 1720, first full broadside in 1734. Lawson declares that
  the first printing of the Declaration of Independance was in Caslon.
  Wilson's Scotch Modern was the "modern" font that surfaced in quantity
  in america.  If the Scotch Roman your vendor has is sort-of  like-Bodoni
  but nicer than his Bodoni, that's it.  It wasn't available until late
  1700s, though.
Subject: 1.7. What is "Point Size"?
  This article was constructed from a posting by William D. Ricker from
  Sep 1992.
  In general terms, point size is a relative measure of the size of a
  font.  It used to have a more concrete meaning in the "old days" of
  In the world of Photo-typesetters and digital fonts, the distance from
  the top of the tallest ascender to the bottom of the longest descender
  is only an approximate lower bound on the point size of a font; in the
  Old days, it was almost always a firm lower bound, and there was warning
  on the exception.
  Point-size is the measure of default or minimum inter-baseline
  distance; inter line distance in absense of leading, a/k/a "set solid".
  If you don't know if the text was set solid or leaded, you can't tell
  the point-size with a measuring glass unless you know if the type design
  includes built-in space betweed adjacent, set-solid lines.
  Exceptions to the points size equals ascender to descender size rule:
     * In metal, there was usually a little room between the highest and
       lowest corners of the face and the body size, so that the Matrix
       was completely molding the face and not relying on the mold-body
       to form a vertical side to the printing face--since a bevel or
       beard is desirable for impression and strength.
     * If the designer of a face thinks it should always be set leaded,
       s/he may choose to include the minimal leading in the design, in
       which case it is included in the base point size, and no capital,
       lowercase-ascender, or lowercase-descender will get very near the
     * In some faces the capitals are taller than the ascenders, and
       others vice versa.  (Vertical sticks on capitals are called stems,
       not ascenders.) A minimum point size estimate would normally be
       the height of the font's "envelope", to borrow from
     * The point size of a "Titling Face" may not include descenders; in
       which case the Q's tail hangs off the body as a vertical kern.
       Such a face in metal usually has "Titling" in the name, although
       sometimes the fact that only capitals are available is all the
       hint given.
       ([William D. Ricker's] metal font of Ray Shaded, cast on a Monotype
       Display caster, has "vertical kerns" if you will: the hanging
       shaded tail of the Q and some punctuation below the 24pt body,
       because it has no lower-case.  It might be better described as
       being 36/24, thirty-six point type cast on a twenty-four point
       body, since the cap A is about the height and density of a
       Ultrabold 36pt A in many other fonts.  It would be called 36/24
       Caps if a lowercase had been cast on a 36 point body, but since
       only UC was ever cut, as UC-only titling, it was standardly issued
       and refered to as a 24 point titling--much to the confusion of
     * The Continental Point, a/k/a the Didot point, (and its Pica Em
       equivalent, the Cicero) is just a hair longer.  15 Ciceros=16
       Picas, 15 Didots=16 Points.  So type which is imported or cast
       from imported matrices has been, and still is, cast on the next
       size larger body in anglo-american points.  So an 11D/12 or 12D/14
       type will look larger than a similar 12pt font but smaller than a
       simlar 14pt font, by about a point of fixed built-in leading that
       the designer didn't intend.  What happened when these faces were
       converted to photo and digital composition, I don't know.  (I
       could find out.) Probably some were scaled to American sizes
       proportionally from the european masters, some copied from the
       American castings with built-in leading to ease conversion, and
       some were probably done both ways at different conversion houses.
  Net result: unless you know it's Adobe Times Roman or whatever and just
  want to know what point size & leading options were, you can't measure
  the size with a definition and an optical micrometer.  The defnition is
  embodied/manifested in the typesetting "hardware", even if it is
  software, not the product.
  Knuth's Assertion
  What about Knuth's assertion that point size is "a more-or-less
  arbitrary number that reflects the size of type [a font] is intended to
  blend with"?
  That statement is true only in the context of MetaFonts.  MetaFonts
  (and this definition) are perfectly adequate for Knuth's purposes but
  not fully descriptive of all of typography.  And definitely not
  conformant to established usage.
  This is not meant to condemn heterodoxy, but just to warn that while the
  ASCII markup notations in Knuth's "Second Great Work" [TeX and MetaFont]
  are even more widely disseminated than his wonderful coinage of
  mathematical notations in "The First Great Work" [The Art of Computer
  Programming, volumes I, II, and III], MetaFont has not been accepted as
  an encoding for all useful fonts for the future, and the defintions of
  font characteristics in MetaFont context must be taken with a large
  grain of salt when used with fonts outside the MetaFont font-generation
  Knuth's quotation, when applied to a (non-MetaFont) font designer,
  overstates the arbitrariness of the design choice; the designer was
  stating in the old days that you'd need a saw, a file, or a caster with
  his matrices if you wanted to use negative leading to set his type
  closer than he wanted to see it set; and today, in Photo/digital
  composition, the designer is either indicating the opinion of the
  original metal-head or his own design advice as to what the minimum
  distance between adjacent baselines should be.
  Also, point size is very poor predictor of blending, except in a
  mechanical sense in terms of not-overflowing the same rectangles.  Some
  faces to blend in the same line with 12 point type will need to be
  10/12 or 14/12, due to differences in the way they fill the space.
  (The overall leading should fit the body type.)  Harmony and contrast of
  overall color, shape, style, etc. are much more important considerations
  for blending than body-size.  (For two types to work together, there
  must be sufficient harmonies between them to work together and
  sufficent contrasts to be easily distinguished.  See Carl Dair's books.)
  If one wants to understand usage of typographical terms in the general
  milieu, the Chicago Manual of Style's appendix on Typesetting for
  Authors is a good capsule presentation of history and terminology; if
  one wants the nitty-gritty on how digital type does, or at least
  should, differ and be treated differently from just copies of metal,
  see Richard Rubinstein, Digital Typography, MIT Press.  On type in
  general, consult D.B. Updike in a library (out of print), or
  A(lexander) S. Lawson (who covers electronic type in his latest
Subject: 1.8. Where can I get ... fonts.
  Before I go any farther, let me extol the virtues of the Archie servers.
  If you need to find something on the net, and you have any idea what it
  might be called, Archie is the place to go.  In North America, telnet to
  "" and login as "archie".  There are many other
  servers around the world, any Archie server can give you a list of other
  servers.  There are better documents than this to describe Archie and
  you should be able to find them from the above starting point.  If you
  have trouble, feel free to ask norm (via Email please, no need to
  clutter comp.fonts with a query about Archie ;-).
  In addition to the telnet option, several archie clients exist including
  a very nice X11 implementation (Xarchie).
     * Adobe Type 1 Fonts in MS-DOS/Unix Format:

     * Adobe Type 1 Fonts in Mac Format:

     * Adobe Type 3 Fonts in Mac Format:

     * TrueType fonts in MS-DOS Format:

     * TrueType fonts in Mac Format:

     * TeX PK/PXL/GF fonts:
       The TeX community has its own support groups that can provide
       better answers to this question.  The canonical list of MetaFont
       fonts is posted occasionally to comp.text.tex.  The comp.text.tex
       newsgroup (or the Info-TeX mailing list, if you do not have access
       to news) are good places to start.  Email norm if you need more
       specific information.
     * LaserJet bitmap fonts:

       Also on other simtel20 mirrors...
  If you know of other archive sites (the above list is no where near
  complete) or other formats that are available on the net, please let us
  The sites above represent places where shareware and public domain fonts
  are available.  Many, many typefaces are not available in shareware
  form.  And many shareware faces are less than adequate for a variety of
  reasons, particularly at small sizes.  It seems to be the consensus of
  the comp.fonts community that "you get what you pay for."  If you need a
  professional quality font, you should probably buy it from a
  The list of font vendors in Appendix A (annotated with information about
  non-Roman alphabets) was contributed by Masumi Abe.  Masumi was Adobe's
  Manager of Typographic Marketing for Asia.  He has since left Adobe.
  Many font CDs are now available which offer many fonts for a low
Subject: 1.9. Where can I get fonts for non-Roman alphabets?
  As mentioned above, the list of font vendors is annotated with
  information about non-Roman alphabets.  Commercially, Masumi suggests
  that Linguists' Software is the current [ed: as of 7/92] leading
  supplier of non-Roman fonts.
  Ian Tresman contributes:
  The Multilingual PC Directory is a source guide to multilingual and
  foreign language software, including fonts, for PCs. Over a hundred
  different languages are included, from Arabic to Hieroglyphics to Zulu.
  A 1200 word description is available from the publishers, Knowledge
  Computing, email:
Subject: 1.10. What about fonts with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols?
  I summarized Scott Brumage's recent post for the FAQ:
  Shareware or free (PostScript Type 1 and/or TrueType):
     * TechPhon
       Seems to lack some characters and has no zero-offset characters
       (for accents).
     * PalPhon
       A phonetic font which you can get by anonymous ftp from  It is called PalPhon. There are actually
       two fonts: the basic PalPhon and one with additional accents and
       symbols called PalPi. The package includes some documents on using
       the fonts as well.
     * SIL-IPA
       SIL-IPA is a set of scalable IPA fonts containing the full
       International Phonetic Alphabet with 1990 Kiel revisions. Three
       typefaces are included:
          * SIL Doulos (similar to Times)
          * SIL Sophia (similar to Helvetica)
          * SIL Manuscript (monowidth)
       Each font contains all the standard IPA discrete characters and
       non-spacing diacritics as well as some suprasegmental and
       puncuation marks. Each font comes in both PostScript Type 1 and
       TrueType formats.  The fonts are also available for Microsoft
       These fonts were designed by the Printing Arts Department of the
       Summer Institute of Linguistics, Dallas, Texas.
  Shareware or free (TeX):
  METAFONT sources of the phonetic symbols developed by
  Tokyo-Shoseki-Printing and Sanseido are available.  The font contains
  all of IPA (Internatioanl Phonetic Alphabet) symbols.
  You can get phonetic symbols METAFONT (named TSIPA) from
  The IP address for is
  Linguist's Software Adobe (ITC Stone Phonetic [#255], Times Phonetic
  This is Info file, produced by Makeinfo-1.55 from the
  input file FAQ.texinfo.
Subject: 1.11. How can I convert my ... font to ... format?
  Conversion from one bitmapped format to another is not generally too
  difficult.  Conversion from one scalable format to another is very
  difficult.  Several commercial software packages claim to perform these
  tasks, but none has been favorably reviewed by the comp.fonts community.
  Converting Between TrueType and Adobe Type 1 Formats
  This section was constructed from postings by Primoz Peterlin and Bert
  Medley in Sep 1993.
  There are several commercial tools that will convert between these
  formats.  There are no shareware or free tools that will do the job.
  See also "Why do converted fonts look so bad?".
  FontMonger by Ares Software
  Performs conversion between Adobe Type 1, Adobe Type 3 and TrueType
  formats in both PC-DOS and Mac flavours, as well as simple glyph
  editing.  Currently at version 1.0.7, patches available via CompuServe.
  Available for Mac and MS Windows.  Commercial product, price \$60-80.
  Alltype by Atech Software
  Performs font conversion.  A stable product, being on a market for a
  while.  Available for PC-DOS/MS Windows only.  Commercial product.
  Atech is supposedly leaving the business.
  Fontographer by Altsys Co.
  Comprehensive package, allowing creation of fonts as well as conversion
  between formats.  Available for Mac and MS Windows.  Commercial
  product, price cca. \$270 (PC version).
  Metamorphosis by Altsys Co.
  Available for Mac.  Commercial product.  More info needed.
  Converting Between Other Scalable Formats
  Many of the programs in the preceding section claim to be able to
  convert between other formats as well.  And there are probably other
  commercial programs as well.  However, as several people have noted,
  conversion from one scalable format to another is a bad idea.  If the
  original font was well hinted, the converted font will not be.  Of
  course, if the original was poorly hinted, maybe it won't matter much.
  In an effort to settle a long-running and oft-asked question, I'll be
  PostScript Type 1, Type 3, Type 5, or any other scalable PostScript
  format.  Not from PostScript Type 1 to TrueType.  Not to or from
  Intellifont.  Not to or from Sun F3 format.
  For specific conversions, check the platform specific parts of the FAQ.
  Most of the conversions discussed require platform specific tools.
  Here is a summary of the conversions discussed (and the section in
  which they appear):
  Mac Type 1 PostScript
       To PC Type 1 PostScript (MS-DOS).  To TrueType (commercial).
  PC Type 1 PostScript
       To Mac Type 1 PostScript (Mac, commercial).  To TrueType
       (commercial).  To TeX PK (MS-DOS).
       To Type 1 PostScript (Mac and MS-DOS, commercial).  To HP LaserJet
          bitmaps (MS-DOS, hack!).
  TeX PK
       To HP LaserJet bitmap softfonts (MS-DOS).
  HP LaserJet bitmap softfonts
       To TeX PK (MS-DOS).
  In addition, Adobe ships a copy of Adobe Font Foundry with all of its
  fonts which can convert Type 1 fonts into HP LaserJet softfonts.
  Why Do Converted Fonts Look So Bad?
  This section was constructed from postings by Mark Hastings and David
  Glenn in Aug 1993.
  With all commercially available conversion tools, converting fonts
  between scalable formats almost always results in a font inferior to
  the original.  (The rare case where a converted font is not inferior to
  the original occurs only when the original is a cheap knock-off, and
  the automatic hinting of the conversion program is better than
  automatic hinting used in the original!)
  David Glenn contributes the following analysis:
  There are a few probable [reasons why converted fonts, especially screen
  fonts, look inferior to the original]. First off, any font that's
  converted uses a converting algorithm which will make an exact copy at
  best. Because no currently available converter even comes close to
  copying faithfully the manual tweaks and hinting in a font file, you
  often end up with poor screen fonts and poor output. The only reason
  that printed output from the converted font looks markedly better than
  the screen font is that the printed output is at a higher resolution.
  The converter achieves better results on the higher resolutions because
  hinting is less important at higher resolutions.  Screen fonts are
  incredibly complex to make well.  You have very few pixels to represent
  a very aesthetic and distinct design. That's why at small sizes almost
  all typefaces look alike--how do you represent a graceful concave side
  on the letter "L" for Optima with only 12 pixels in height and one in
  width? You can't. And that's why most fonts look similar at 10pt,
  unless they're hand hinted by typograhers.
  One thing that may come into play when fonts are converted between
  platforms, for example between PC/Windows format and Mac format, is that
  fonts are hinted down to a certain number of pixels per em. On a Mac
  screen (72 dpi) there is a one-to-one correspondence between the ppem
  and the point size of a font.  Under windows, the usual VGA screen is
  96dpi and fonts that look good at 8 or 9 pt under windows might look
  like crap on a Mac 'cuz the fonts weren't hinted below 10 or 11ppem.
  Also, the conversion programs may have made the appearance worse at
  some sizes than others.
  Whenever you convert fonts from one platform to the other keep in mind
     * Your license with the type foundry may or may not allow this.
     * The font may or may not have the correct character sets in it.
     * The TT font file may or may not have all the tables necessary.
     * Your converter may make it so ugly that you don't want to use it...
  Smoothing Bitmaps
  This section was constructed from postings by Jason Lee Weiler and
  Piercarlo Antonio Grandi
  Enlarging bitmapped images is easy, but enlarging them without creating
  very jagged edges is much more demanding.  There are several
     * If you are interested in programming your own solution, the FAQ will provide pointers to a number of resources
       that can get you started.
     * If the bitmaps are in a standard format, the 'xv' tool (an X11
       picture viewing tool) includes magnify and smooth functions that
       may perform adequately.
     * Commercial tools like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and many
       others include tracing functions that can translate some bitmaps
       into acceptable outlines (which can be enlarged without
     * The GNU Font Utilities include a tracing tool that may be helpful.

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