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All About Fonts

- PostScript Fonts

- TrueType Fonts

- OpenType Fonts

- How do I know which type of font I am using?

- How do I make sure I'm sending the correct fonts to my printer?

- Links & Resources


PostScript® Fonts

PostScript fonts have two important files. Each of these files must be present in order to render the font properly both on screen and in print.

PostScript "Screen" Font

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*The Red and Blue lines show the relationship between the two parts of the PostScript fonts.

The "screen" font is a font suitcase containing all the information necessary to render a scalable font on your computer monitor. Often the name of this file will be the full font name (Futura-Bold). In addition to this screen font you must also include the linked printer font (the blue and red lines show the relationship between two printer and screen fonts).

The two "screen" PostScript fonts in this example are Futura-Bold and Futura-Book.

Note: The description for the "Kind" attribute in the Preview pane (on the right in the image) is "Font Suitcase."

   

PostScript "Printer" Font

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*The Red and Blue lines show the relationship between the two parts of the PostScript fonts.

The "printer" font contains vector outlines of the font and is often named with an abbreviation of the full font name (FuturBol). In addition to this printer font you must also include the linked screen font (the blue and red lines show the relationship between two printer and screen fonts).

The two "printer" PostScript fonts in this example are FutuBo (linked to Futura-Bold) and FuturBoo (linked to Futura-Book).

Note: The description for the "Kind" attribute in the Preview pane (on the right in the image) is "PostScript Type 1 outline font."

When you use a PostScript font in your design, make sure you include each of these files with your output. This is quite easy to do in InDesign. See "Sending the Correct Fonts to your Printer" below.


TrueType® Fonts

TrueType fonts were designed to eliminate the need for multiple files. They incorporate all three files from the PostScript fonts into one file.

TrueType Fonts

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TrueType fonts will only be one file.

When packaging your file, you will not see two files for each font as you will when you use PostScript fonts. The two TrueType fonts used for this example are Futura-CondensedMedium and Futura-MediumItalic

Note: The description for the "Kind" attribute in the Preview pane (on the right in the image) is "Font Suitcase." This is the same as with a PostScript font. To tell the difference between the two, see "Knowing Which Fonts are PostScript, TrueType or OpenType" below.

 


OpenType® Fonts

OpenType was built on TrueType and also contains, in one file, all the information necessary to render fonts correctly both on screen and in print. It's main benefit is that it is cross-platform. The same file will work on both a Windows and Macintosh system. OpenType fonts with the .otf extension contain PostScript information while those with the .ttf extension are TrueType-based. For more information on OpenType fonts visit the Adobe Fonts website

OpenType Fonts

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OpenType fonts are only one file and have a .otf extension.

When packaging your file, you will not see two files for each font as you will when you use PostScript fonts. The two OpenType files used in this example are ACaslonPro-Bold.otf and ACaslonPro-Regular.otf.

Note: The description for the "Kind" attribute in the Preview pane (on the right in the image) is "OpenType Font"

 


Knowing which fonts are PostScript, TrueType, or OpenType

You can tell what most font types are by looking at the extension.

Mac

Windows

  • .ttf = TrueType
  • .otf = OpenType with PostScript Content
  • .dfont = a version of TrueType
  • No extension = PostScript (either screen or printer)
  • .ttf = TrueType
  • .otf = OpenType with PostScript Content
  • .pfb and .pfm = PostScript
  • .CompositeFont or .cff = compressed .pfb and.pfm PostScript files
  • .fon = For use in on-screen menus and Graphical User Interface (GUI). NOT for printing

Another, more visual, way to tell which type of font you are using InDesign is to open your file and click Type > Find Font...

A window listing all the currently used fonts will open. It may look something like this:

InDesign: Type > Find Font...


In the above example, six fonts are used. These are the same fonts used in the other examples given on this webpage.

The OpenType fonts appear with an "O" icon next to them, the PostScript fonts have a red "a" icon and the TrueType font icon has a gray and a blue "T."

A third way to tell is by using font management software, such as Suitcase Fusion. Such programs should list the type of font next to it's name.


Sending the Correct Fonts to your Printer

The File > Package... command in InDesign will create a folder containing all the information necessary for a commercial pritner to print your document. Inside this folder will be another folder for fonts, and one for links (images). Sending your printer this folder will bring you one step closer to being Prepress' new best friend.


More Information