Developed by Adobe® and Microsoft® to provide users with an accessible and advanced typographic toolset, OpenType improves upon PostScript and TrueType.
OpenType is a truly cross-platform format. Use the same font on Mac or Windows machines without converting the font — same typeface, same kerning, same line breaks.
Extended Character Sets
Based on Unicode, an OpenType file contains up to 65,535 characters or glyphs. This allows for extensive language support and makes room for advanced typographic features like ligatures, figure styles, fractions, stylistic alternates, swashes, small caps, ornaments, borders, and so on. The PostScript format is limited to 256 characters per file, with metrics information and extra characters often stored in separate, individual files.
One File, Not Many
A single OpenType file contains all the information required for a typeface style: metrics, kerning, outline, hints, and bitmaps.
Compare the multilingual PostScript version of FF Meta 1, a package of four type styles, with its OpenType successor. A folder of 360 files is reduced to 4 files. This reduces the possibility of missing files, corruption, and conflicts.
Easy Access To Advanced Features
Make the most of modern design applications, like Adobe Creative Suite and QuarkXPress.These applications, as well as Mac OS X native apps, take full advantage of the features that OpenType offers. Convert text to true Small Caps, swap Oldstyle Figures with Lining Figures, and substitute letter pairs with discretionary ligatures, all from within the same menu in each app.
Read more about using advanced OpenType features on The FontFeed.
OpenType And FontShop.com
Each OpenType font can include a variety of features. Different fonts, from different foundries, have more extras and language support than others.
Since there is no industry standard for defining these extra features across foundries or font packages, on FontShop.com we’ve made it easy to see what’s included in any OpenType font. First, look for the OT icon. Once you have clicked to a font detail page, select the Character Set view option. Here you’ll find every glyph available in the font, as well as a selectable list of OpenType features that the font offers. If you see an arrow next to a glyph, click on it to view the alternate glyphs available for that character — just like in the glyph palettes found in Adobe Creative Suite.