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Font File Formats

Welcome! Forums Bazaar Partner Preliminaries Font File Formats

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Anna 1 year, 5 months ago.

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September 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM #24498


Decide which format(s) to offer.

Both TrueType [TTF] and OpenType [OTF] support the UniCode standard, which enables more than 65,500 glyphs plus non-glyph keyboard characters (spaces, tabs, navigation arrows, function keys [F1–F12], insert/delete, etc.).

GoudyLeaf-RightWithin international settings, keyboard characters are identical for all mainstream operating systems (Macintosh, Windows, Unix). For reliable cross-platform compatibility, glyphs must be encoded by UniCode name instead of decimal cell assignment.


  • Macintosh-generated TTFs are not recognized by Windows systems. Worst Case Scenario, they may cause a system crash (see response below).
  • Effective with OSX, Windows-generated TTFs are RECOGNIZED by Macintosh systems.
  • Caution… Non-UniCode charsets differ significantly.
    • For example, a Mac user entering a familiar sequence for “em dash” (—) will discover “N tilde” (Ñ) instead!
    • In the opposite scenario, the Mac sequence for N tilde generates “quote double base” („).
    • Certain glyphs (e.g. f ligatures) native to Mac charsets are not supported by Win systems.
    • Certain others (e.g. fractions) native to Win charsets are not supported by Mac systems.
  • For new Windows-generated TTFs, the solution is UniCode encoding by glyph name.
  • For existing ones that cannot be re-encoded for some reason, include instructions for Mac access of non-keyboard glyphs.
    • For practical information, please download charts comparing the two systems by decimal cell assignment and glyph name.


OpenType was developed with OS “neutrality” as a priority. As discussed above, glyphs must conform to the UniCode standard for true compatibility. OTFs exist in two “flavors,” PostScript and TrueType, which are built from different kinds of bezier curves.


  • The two kinds of curves follow opposite directions.
  • PostScript curves require fewer control points than their TrueType counterparts.
  • The filesize may be significantly smaller than the TTF flavor.
  • PostScript OTF is native to FontLab and Fontographer.
  • TrueType OTFs do not contain Adobe Compact Font Format [CFF] (PostScript outlines) data.

Apparently, consumers have no choice between flavors when they purchase OTFs. TrueType flavor may be exclusive to Microsoft.

Type-One (PostScript) [PSF]

GoudyLeaf-RightDevelopers whose work exists in Type-One format are cordially invited to offer it to THP Bazaar patrons.

This format is strictly platform-specific and supports only the original 250+ pre-UniCode charsets. Even so, some “die-hard print purists” still prefer it for output by high-end image-setters.

  • Macintosh systems cannot generate Windows-readable PSFs, nor vice-versa.
  • Since PSFs are platform-specific, glyph mapping naturally differs as explained above.
  • If the charset is “complete” with mathematical and other glyphs that may be inappropriate for the style, it will be necessary to generate additional “expert sets” for alternate letterforms, ornaments, etc.
  • At your discretion, it is acceptable to substitute such extras as alternate letterforms, ornaments, etc. for the inappropriate glyphs.
  • In either case, instructions for accessing non-keyboard glyphs must be furnished for the platform(s) intended.

Purchase Options

A preview of the EDD pricing dialog (to be discussed later). By default, it includes all anticipated variables as “food for thought.” File formats not available for a specific font are easily deleted.


October 20, 2015 at 4:49 AM #25255


Anna: Macintosh-generated TTFs are not recognized by Windows systems.

I may be mistaken about this. Could someone please clarify this point?

October 21, 2015 at 9:53 AM #25326


Mac OS recognizes and supports windows TTF files, but not the other way. Windows cannot read MacOS TTF fonts even though they appear to be like regular TTF files.

When you try to open MacOS-based TTF files with a Windows application, your system may crash! I tried this before so I know exactly what happened.

October 22, 2015 at 12:27 AM #25331


Thanks for this valuable info. Sorry that you had to learn it “the hard way”!


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