One can write a book about this topic!   :-)

Today's significant font formats for Windows and Macintosh include:

Type 1 fonts - Bezier curve-based fonts originally used in Adobe PostScript
printers. The "host computer" versions of these fonts may be in Mac
format (in which case the font data is in the resource fork and the
font metrics such as kerning data is stored in a separate "screen font"
file) or Windows format (in which case the font data is stored in a
.PFB file and the font metrics including set widths and kerning data
is stored in a .PFM file).

TrueType fonts - Quadratic curve-based fonts released by Apple and
subsequently by Microsoft from Apple's "Project Royal" that was based
on work done at Imagen Corporation in the mid-1990s in an effort to gang
up on Adobe which ironically led to Adobe opening up and publically
publishing the specifications for Type 1 fonts in 1990. There are several
flavours of these fonts for the "host computer." Windows TrueType font
format may also be used on MacOS X systems. Macintosh TrueType fonts
are stored in the font file's resource fork in a slightly different
format. Macintosh .dfonts are Macintosh TrueType fonts stored in the
font file's data fork but still not the same as Windows TrueType format.
In PostScript, EPS, and PDF files, TrueType is represented via "Type 42"
fonts - native TrueType within PostScript/PDF. Note that contrary to
popular myth (1) there is absolutely nothing wrong with well-constructed
TrueType fonts compared to Type 1 fonts and (2) in PostScript printers
and Adobe applications (including Acrobat), TrueType fonts are NOT
internally converted to Type 1 fonts!

OpenType fonts - A cross-platform marriage of TrueType fonts that come
in two flavours. OpenType CFF fonts are Type 1 fonts (Bezier curve cased)
in what looks like a very extended TrueType wrapper. OpenType TrueType
fonts are TrueType fonts in a very extended TrueType container. Both
flavours are natively supported by MacOS X and Windows 2000 (and above)
as well as Adobe applications. What especially distinguishes OpenType from
earlier Type 1 and TrueType fonts other than the ability to use the same
font files on either Windows or Macintosh is the ability to define a very
large character set in the font (up to 64K distinct glyphs) to support
Unicode as well as a tremendous amount of intelligence related to compound
characters, kerning, alternate characters (such as slashed zeros and
swashes), small caps, lower case numerals, subscripts, superscripts, etc.
Tables for these features are in the font itself such that layout programs
such as InDesign can readily support stylistic features in a very
generalized fashion. Within PostScript, EPS, and PDF files, OpenType fonts
are embedded as either Type 1 or Type 42 fonts depending upon the "type"
of the OpenType font. In PDF 1.6 and above, full native OpenType fonts may
be directly embedded in PDF files although in practice this is not commonly
done (at least yet)!

        - Dov

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shmuel Wolfson
> Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:50 AM
> Speaking on fonts, does anyone have any info on any info on the various
> types of fonts such as TrueType? What are the most common types?
> Any info would be appreciated.
> Regards,
> Shmuel Wolfson

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