What is OpenType?
OpenType is a new cross-platform font format developed by Adobe and
Microsoft in 2001. Based on Unicode, OpenType is an extension of the
TrueType SFNT format that can support PostScript font data and new
typo-graphic features. There are two types of OpenType fonts: the
ones containing TrueType data that have a .ttf or .ttc suffix in the
font file name, and the PostScript based OpenType fonts that have an
.otf file name suffix.
Additionally, OpenType fonts with support for
central European languages can be distinguished by the word "Pro" in
part of the file name.
Features of OpenType
One of the characteristics of OpenType is cross-platform font
format. ATM users probably know that ATM fonts have different formats across Mac
and PC platforms such as pfb, pfm, and afm, while PostScript based OpenType
fonts only have .otf file name suffix, the same font file works on both Mac and
Compatibility with Applications
Some new typographic capabilities are added to OpenType
fonts such as swash, ligatures, and ordinals (refer to the
samples). Note that the OpenType layout features can only
work with compatible applications, and only the features
supported by the applications can be turned on. Conversely,
if the OpenType fonts are only add-ons of the features, only
those features provided with the OpenType fonts can be used.
In addition, the minimum system requirements for OpenType
fonts are that ATM Light 4.1 or later is required for
Windows 95, 98, ME or NT4 (not required for Windows 2000 or
XP); and ATM Light 4.6 or later is required for the Mac OS
8.6 to 9.2 or Mac OS X "classic" (not required for Mac OS X
Influence of OpenType Fonts on Chinese Publishing and
Features of New TrueType Fonts
In summary, OpenType fonts have contributed to desktop
publishing, but they mainly benefit English (Latin fonts)
publishing. Most of the features do not apply to Chinese
characters because of different character structures.
Furthermore, new TrueType fonts now also have the advantage
of cross-platform font format. Most importantly, since
different OpenType fonts support different layout features,
it runs the risk of characters not displayed properly when