Why was OpenType developed?
The OpenType format was a joint development between Microsoft and Adobe in the 1990ís to consolidate the standard font formats - TrueType and Adobe Type 1 (PostScript) - that were available at the time. One of the major advantages of OpenType fonts is that they are compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems. Before OpenType, fonts had to be supplied for one platform or the other.
OpenType is now the preferred choice for many designers and document professionals.
As OpenType has been developed, more characters can now be accessed from a single font, so rather than the standard 256 (Latin 1) characters being supported, the font can also contain all the glyphs to print in CE (Central European), Greek, Baltic, and Cyrillic languages, as well as alternate characters like swash, ligatures, and small caps. As long as your document systems are OpenType-savvy, then you can produce your documents in these additional languages from a single OpenType font.
The OpenType font format is based on Unicode, which is the internationally accepted standard for identifying characters. The Unicode standard is continually being maintained and updated to include more languages and dialects.
OpenType is the most convenient and full-featured font format, compatible with all modern screen and print workflows.
There are different versions (or flavours) of OpenType as follows:
OT Std: PostScript flavour. Contains only basic features and covers Latin 1 codepage only. Little more than a conversion from PostScript Type 1.
OT Pro: PostScript flavour. As above, but with more language support (CE, Baltics & Turkish) and more features like alternates, ligatures, small caps, additional sets of numerals, etc.
OT Com: TrueType flavour (.ttf). Hinted and enhanced for use within MS Office Suite, extended language support (48 languages), embeddable in Word and PowerPoint documents; will function better in Corporate Windows environments.
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