Web Design   Web Hosting   Photoshop Tutorials   Free Fonts   Drawing Basics  
Photoshop Tutorials - Free Fonts
[Read Me First!]
[Photoshop Tutorials]
[Canvas Tutorials]
[Corel Tutorials]
[Quark Tutorials]
[Illustrator Tutorials]
[FreeHand Tutorials]
[Drawing Basics]
[Porting Files]
[Free Fonts]
[Font Tutorials]
[Misc Tutorials]
[About Mike]
[Related Sites]

  Font Basics - Part One
Two Font Standards . . . Two Platforms

News Flash! Since the initial release of this tutorial, a new font format - OpenType® - has been released, so there is no longer only two font standards. Please check out the new tutorial on OpenType fonts here.

This tutorial covers some basic information on the two font standards for the Macintosh® and Windows® platforms - TrueType® and Adobe® Type 1 (PostScript®). These are not the only font standards, but are the most widely used.

The Adobe Type 1 standard was the first to be used in desktop publishing. It uses the PostScript page description language to render fonts on the screen and in print. Type 1 fonts require additional software to display and print correctly because they are not native to either the Macintosh or Windows 95/98 operating systems. Probably the most popular of these font management programs is Adobe Type Manager® (ATM). Adobe offers a lite version of ATM free of charge for the Mac® and Windows platforms from their website: http://www.adobe.com/products/atmlight/main.html.

The TrueType font technology is owned by Apple® Computer and is native to both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems. This means that no additional font management software is needed to use them.

Fonts Are Vector Data

  Both font technologies render type from vector outlines (paths and points) contained in the fonts. Because TrueType and Type 1 fonts are described as vector data, type can be set at any point size and will render perfectly smooth. The actual character shapes in the font are called "glyphs". The screen shot to the left clearly shows the paths and points that comprise the letter "E" in the font, BinnerD. This screen shot was made from Macromedia® Fontographer®.

Because font glyphs are vector data, text can be converted to outlines (paths and points) in a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator®, Macromedia FreeHand®, CorelDRAW® or Deneba Canvas™.

Font Files

TrueType fonts use a single disk file for each font. Type 1 fonts, however, require two disk files per font. While both Macintosh and Windows use a two-part file for Type 1 fonts, the two files are completely different for each platform. For Windows, there is a .PFB file (Printer Font Binary file) and a .PFM file (Printer Font Metrics file). For the Mac, there is a screen font file and a printer font file. In Windows, the font metrics (such as kerning and spacing) are contained in the .PFM file. In the Macintosh, the font metrics are contained in the screen font file. The Mac screen font file contains bitmaps of the font characters while the printer file contains the font outlines. On the Windows platform, the font outlines are contained in the .PFB file.

Recognizing Fonts and Their Icons

When managing fonts on your computer's drive, you will inevitably encounter their filenames and icons. On the PC, TrueType fonts have a .TTF extension. Type 1 printer fonts on the PC have a .PFB extension and Type 1 font metrics files have a .PFM extension. With Type 1 fonts you have to remember to move them around in pairs. Macintosh fonts don't have file extensions like on the PC. In order to help you identify them, the default icons for TrueType and Type 1 fonts on Macintosh and Windows operating systems are shown in the table below.

  *Note: Mac TrueType fonts and Type 1 Screen fonts shown below will reside inside a Mac font suitcase (left). So the only way you will see their icons (below) is to open the suitcase to view them. More on Mac suitcases here.
TrueType Icons Type 1 Icons

Printer font
(contains outlines)
*Screen font
(bitmaps and metrics)

PFB file
(contains outlines)
PFM file
(contains metrics)

Click Here To Continue...


Previous   Home    Contact Mike   Related Sites    Next

Copyright © 1998-2016 Mike Doughty, All Rights Reserved Legal Notices
Page Last Revised: October 26, 2016
Privacy Policy