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PostScript Type 1 to Open Type Font Converter Offers Typographical Richness

The Open Type font format allows DTP programs to use fonts of a considerably wider character set coupled with enhanced typographical richness. Our OTFoundry 3.0 font converter program—building upon our decade-long experience in the automatic conversion and typographical manipulation of PostScript fonts—offers to combine and convert a set of traditional Type 1 fonts belonging to the same typeface family (a basic font plus additional ones containing typographical symbols, oldstyle figures, small and swash capitals, and other supplementary forms available) into a fully functional, typographically rich Open Type font.

The complexity of the resulting font depends on the contents of the input fonts. It can contain Latin, Greek and Cyrillic letters, typographical variants (ligatures; oldstyle, proportional and tabular figures; small capitals; swash versions; superior and inferior variants; fractions), mathematical and other symbols (including fraktur, script and double-struck alphabets; Dingbats symbols), box drawing elements; music notation and IPA (phonetic) characters. The more fonts you add as input, the richer the converted font will be.

Please, note that OTFoundry 3.0 is an automated although customizable conversion tool, not a font editor: it does not offer the possibility of editing the individual character shapes manually.

Accented letters

All accented letters that can be generated from the characters coming in with the Type 1 fonts (Latin, both Western and Eastern, Cyrillic and Greek) are created automatically. The automatic generation of accented letters is based on our MagyarÉkes product line (the name could be translated as HungarAccent). Although some might doubt whether a task requiring typographical skills and expertise as well as aesthetical considerations can be successfully automated and delegated to a computer, our two-decade-long experience in this field shows that—with the necessary typographical and mathematical apparatus—it can be solved very satisfactorily.

OTFoundry 3.0 employs sophisticated typographical and mathematical algorithms to analyze the shape of every single character in the font, to identify the parts and salient points of every letter (including stems, serifs, various horizontal and vertical elements, curves) as well as the overall characteristics of the font to determine the correct position of the accent. You can also use it to rectify incorrectly placed accents in your existing Type 1 fonts.

More on Open Type

In 1996, the two main forces behind the two established font formats—PostScript Type 1 and True Type—, Adobe and Microsoft agreed on a common new format called Open Type. This new format retains the outer wrapper of True Type fonts but can contain either True Type or PostScript style character outline descriptions inside. Theoretically, the user or the DTP application does not have to know which flavor a given font has, the operating system will treat them equally.

The appearance of Open Type coincides with the proliferation of Unicode—although these two are technologically not necessarily connected, for any reasonable typographical application, they are needed together. Strictly speaking, Unicode is not a font format, it is a feature of the operating system to support a character set larger than the mere 256 ASCII or ANSI characters we were limited to earlier.

Although this 256-character set was more or less sufficient for people typesetting in plain English, it never fulfilled the expectations of those who needed special accented letters, non-Latin alphabets, large amounts of mathematical or technical symbols, not to mention typographical variants like ligatures, small capitals, oldstyle figures or other alternative forms.

As the Open Type fonts DTP users are interested in are Unicode fonts at the same time, they can contain all that important extra characters in a single font, thus it will no longer be necessary to use Expert, Eastern, Maths or similar additional fonts in order to be able to use the extra characters needed in their work. But in addition to that, Open Type offers far more features: basically, these fonts became intelligent fonts. All earlier font formats were simple repositories of pieces of character glyph outline and metric information, leaving it entirely up to the DTP application to decide what to do and how to use them to obtain the required results. In contrast to this, Open Type fonts have internal descriptions to accompany the individual glyphs stored.

First, we are no longer limited to one character shape per character position. Any character can have several alternative glyphs (for instance, stylistic variations for the ampersand or copyright characters) and an Open Type-savvy DTP application can offer the user the choice of selecting which alternative to use in the text.

Second, instead of providing a simple alternative for a given character, additional glyphs can be specified as functional alternatives: like the ligature fi instead of the character sequence f and i; or a small capital A instead of the artificially generated, reduced size letter; a subscript or superscript 9 instead of the artificially generated, reduced and shifted digit; or even more complex forms like a ¾ fraction instead of the artificially generated forms (eg. using equations). Needless to say, this also requires the co-operation of the DTP application which has to be able to identify the need for the functional alternative and substitute it automatically, or revert to the original form when necessary (eg. when hyphenating across the ligature or performing spell checking).

Trial version

We offer a trial version for download. This version has the following limitations:

  • Many characters will be missing from the user interface and the converted fonts. As a consequence, you can use the trial version to judge how the fonts would be converted but you will not be able to use those converted by the trial version in your regular work. To do that, you will need to purchase the full version.
  • You will not be able to save or re-load projects (projects contain all input fonts and settings, including your customizations, set up to create a new Open Type font).

On the other hand, the trial version contains the user manual of the full version so that you can have a thorough understanding of the process of converting fonts and the underlying details.

Full version

The full version can be purchased from our webstore. Please contact us with any other inquiries. (We ask our Hungarian clients to check out our local page for our domestic conditions.)

Technical information

Although OTFoundry 3.0 operates under Windows™ operating systems (Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 [both 32 and 64-bit]), the Open Type fonts created with it can be used on the Macintosh as well (both OS 9 and X) without any further conversion. We also had reports of the program running without problems under the Windows emulation available for Mac computers.

Please, note that OTFoundry 3.0 is a font converter tool. It is entirely the responsibility of its user to use it in accordance with the copyright and other restrictions accompanying individual fonts. Some font vendors might prohibit the modification of their font programs or grant permission under their own terms and conditions. Please, be sure you comply with these restrictions and obtain any permission required from the authors or copyright holders of the respective fonts.

OTFoundry 3.0 is an automated although customizable conversion tool, not a font editor: it does not offer the possibility of editing the individual character shapes manually. The program only accepts Type 1 fonts as input and will create Open Type as output. The True Type font format is not supported.

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