OpenType is a scalable computer font format initially developed by Microsoft, later joined by
Adobe Systems. OpenType was first announced in 1996, with significant
number of OpenType fonts starting to ship in 2000-2001. Adobe
completed conversion of their entire font library to OpenType
around the end of 2002. As of early 2005, there are over 7,000
fonts available in OpenType format, with Adobe's library making up
for about 1/3 of the total.
OpenType was intended by Microsoft to be the successor to the
TrueType font format
developed by Apple Computer and licensed by Microsoft.
Microsoft tried to license Apple's advanced typography technology,
"GX Typography," and upon being refused turned to develop its own
technology dubbed "TrueType Open" and later on "OpenType". Adobe Systems
joined the OpenType camp later, adding support for its PostScript Type 1
OpenType uses the general structure of a TrueType font, but adds
several unique options which enhance the fonts typographical
abilities. An OpenType font can include either TrueType outlines or
PostScript-style outlines (though stored in the CFF/Type 2
OpenType has several distinctive features:
- the font encoding is based on Unicode and can support any language (or multiple
languages at once)
- OpenType fonts can have up to 65,536 glyphs
- fonts can have advanced typographic features, which allow
proper typographic treatment of complex languages, and advanced
typographic effects for simpler languages, such as English.
Compared with Apple Computer's "GX Typography" now called
Apple Advanced Typography, or AAT,
OpenType is slightly inferior with most typographical options, but
offers superior language-related options and support.
From a font developer's perspective, OpenType is much easier to
develop for than GX was. First, the simple declarative
substitutions and positioning of OpenType are much simpler to
understand and code for than GX's state tables. Second, Adobe's
strategy of licensing at no charge the source code developed for
its own font development allowed third-party font editing
applications such as FontLab and FontMaster to relatively easily
add support. Although Adobe's text-driven coding support is not as
visual as Microsoft's separate tool, VOLT (Visual OpenType Layout
Tool), the integration with the tools being used to make the fonts
has been well received.
OpenType support may be divided into several categories:
virtually all applications and most operating systems work with
OpenType fonts just as well as other, older formats. What is of
particular interest is: extended language support through Unicode,
support for "complex" languages such as Arabic and the Indic
languages, and advanced typographic support for western languages
such as English.
As of early 2005, extended
language support via Unicode for both OpenType and TrueType is
present in most Windows applications (including Microsoft Office,
Publisher and most Adobe applications), and many Mac OS
applications, especially Apple's own such as TextEdit and
OpenType support for complex languages has so far mainly
appeared in Microsoft applications such as Office and
Advanced typographic support for western languages has so far
mainly appeared in Adobe applications such as Adobe InDesign,
Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. However, competitor
Quark has announced that they will offer similar support in
(release date not yet known).
OpenType is a registered trademark of Microsoft
This information is based on the article OpenType from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. On Wikipedia is a list of authors available.