2.1. Types of Fonts
2.1.1. Bitmap Fonts
A bitmap is a matrix of dots. Bitmap fonts are represented in precisely
this way -- as matrices of dots. Because of this, they are device dependent
-- they are only useful at a particular resolution. A 75 DPI screen
bitmap font is still 75 DPI on your 1200 DPI printer.
There are two types of bitmap fonts -- bitmap printer fonts, such as
the pk fonts generated by dvips, and bitmap screen fonts, used by X
and the console. The bitmap screen fonts typically have a bdf or pcf
extension. Bitmap screen fonts are most useful for terminal windows,
consoles and text editors, where the lack of scalability and the fact
that they are unprintable is not an issue.
2.1.2. Type1 Fonts
The Type1 font standard was devised by Adobe, and Type1 fonts are supported
by Adobe's PostScript standard. Because of this, they are also well
supported under linux. They are supported by X and ghostscript. Postscript
fonts have traditionally been the choice of font for anything on UNIX
that involves printing.
Typically, a UNIX Type1 font is distributed as an afm ( adobe font
metric ) file, and an outline file, which is usually a pfb ( printer
font binary ) or pfa ( printer font ascii ) file. The outline file contains
all the glyphs, while the metric file contains the metrics.
Type1 fonts for other platforms may be distributed in different formats.
For example, PostScript fonts for windows often use a different format
( pfm ) for the metric file.
2.1.3. Type3 Fonts
These fonts are distributed in a similar manner to Type1 files -- in
groups of afm font metrics, and pfa files. While they are supported
by the PostScript standard, they are not supported by X, and hence have
2.1.4. TrueType Fonts
TrueType fonts were developed by Apple. They made the format available
to Microsoft, and succesfully challenged Adobe's grip on the font market.
True type fonts store the metric and shape information in a single file
(usually one with a ttf extension). Recently, font servers have been
developed that make TrueType available to X. And PostScript and ghostscript
have supported TrueType fonts for some time. Because of this, TrueType
fonts are becoming more popular on linux.
2.1.5. Type 42 Fonts
Type42 fonts are actually just TrueType fonts with headers that enable
them to be rendered by a PostScript interpreter. Most applications,
such as ghostscript and SAMBA handle these fonts transparently. However,
if you have a PostScript printer, it may be necessary to explicitly
create Type42 font files.
2.1.6. Type 1 vs TrueType -- A Comparison
Despite the historical feuding between the proponents to Type 1 and
TrueType fonts, both have a lot in common. Both are scalable outline
fonts. Type 1 fonts use cubic as opposed to quadratic curves for the
glyphs. This is in theory at least a slight advantage since they include
all the curves available to TrueType fonts. In practice, it makes very
TrueType fonts have the apparent advantage that their support for hinting
is better ( Type 1 fonts do have hinting functionality, but it is not
as extensive as that of TrueType fonts ). However, this is only an issue
on low resolution devices, such as screens ( the improved hinting makes
no discernable difference on a 600dpi printer, even at small point sizes.
) The other point that makes this apparent advantage somewhat questionable
is the fact that well hinted TrueType fonts are rare. This is because
software packages that support hinting functionality are out of the
budget of most small time designers. Only a few major foundries, such
as Monotype make well hinted fonts available.
In conclusion, the main differences between TrueType and Type 1 fonts
are in availability and application support. The widespread availability
of TrueType fonts for Windows has resulted in webpages designed with
the assumption that certain TrueType fonts are available. Also, many
users have large numbers of TrueType fonts because they ship with the
users Windows applications. However, on Linux, most applications support
Type 1 fonts but do not have the same level of support for TrueType.
Moreover, most major font foundries still ship most of their fonts in
Type 1 format. For example, Adobe ships very few TrueType fonts. My
recommendation to users is to use whatever works for your application,
and try to avoid converting from one format to another where possible
( because the format conversion is not without loss ).
Metafont was developed by Donald E. Knuth as part of the TeX typesetting
system. Metafont is a graphics programming language ( like PostScript
) that has applications wider than just fonts. Metafonts exhibit some
very desirable qualities. One of the important features is that metafonts
can scale very gracefully. The metafont Computer Modern has different
shape at 20 point and 10 point. The shape changes with size, because
it is desirable for a smaller font to be proportionately wider than
a larger font ( this makes the larger fonts more elegant and the smaller
fonts more readable ).
Metafonts typically have a mf extension. They are rendered to device
dependent bitmap fonts. The rendering is slow, so they are of excellent
quality, but are not well suited to WYSIWYG publishing.
2.2. Families of Typefaces
Typically, typefaces come in groups of a few variants. For example,
most fonts come with a bold, italic, and bold-italic variant. Some fonts
may also have small caps, and demibold variants. A group of fonts consisting
of a font and its variants is called a family of typefaces. For example,
the Garamond family consists of Garamond, Garamond-italic, Garamond-bold,
Garamond bold-italic, Garamond demi-bold, and Garamond demi-bold-italic.
The Adobe expert Garamond font also makes available Garamond small caps,
and Garamond titling capitals.
Table of Contents
1.1. The Location of This Document
1.2. Submitting corrections/errata
1.3. Last Updated
1.6. Credits and Acknowledgements
2. Fonts 101 -- A Quick Introduction to Fonts
2.1. Types of Fonts
2.2. Families of Typefaces
3. Fonts 102 -- Typography
3.1. Classifications of Typefaces
3.2. Ligatures, Small caps fonts
and expert fonts
3.3. Font Metrics and Shapes
4. Making Fonts Available To X
4.1. The font path
4.2. Installing Type 1 Fonts
4.3. True Type Fonts
5. Making Fonts Available To Ghostscript
5.1. Type 1
5.2. True Type
5.3. Using Ghostscript To Preview
6. True Type to Type 1 Conversion
6.1. Why ?
6.2. How ?
7. WYSIWYG Publishing and Fonts
7.1. Introduction and Overview
7.3. Star Office
7.4. Word Perfect
9. TeX / LaTeX
9.1. A Quick Primer on LaTeX/TeX
9.2. Adding Type 1 fonts
10. Getting Fonts For Linux
10.1. True Type
10.2. Type 1 Fonts and Metafont
11. Useful Font Software for Linux
12. Ethics and Licensing Issues Related to Type
13.1. Font Information
13.2. Postscript and Printing Information