Buyer’s Guide: Font Formats

A couple weeks ago, we talked about how TrueType works with Macs — but what about the other formats, you ask? Let’s take a look at the different font formats:

OpenType, TrueType, and PostScript are the various formats that you might find fonts available in. OpenType and TrueType are compatible on both Macs and PCs while PostScript fonts are computer-specific. Webfonts come in two formats — EOT and WOFF — that you can read more about in our “What is EOT and WOFF?” post. If you’re deciding which format is the best option for you, here are some points to remember:

OpenType fonts are usually the best option, as they work on both Mac and PCs. However, not all applications are “OpenType-savvy”, so there might be some cool OpenType features like swashes and stylistic alternates that you may not be able to access if you don’t plan on using design tools such as Adobe Creative Suite programs.

TrueType fonts are a better choice if you plan on using Microsoft Office programs such as Word or Powerpoint. MS Office programs have little to no support for OpenType and tend to have issues accessing those cool swashes you want to use.

PostScript fonts are a legacy format that tend to cause issues on newer computers, which is typically why we suggest choosing OpenType or TrueType whenever possible. PostScript fonts are computer specific, meaning they will only work on either a Mac or PC, not both.

Webfonts cannot be installed on your computer but are instead used in coding for websites, typically using the @font-face CSS rule.

While browsing the fonts on FontShop, you’ll notice that they’ll have some kind of indicator of what format they’re available in, similar to the icons in the Font Format guide above.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    MS Word 2010 has decent support for OT features on Windows. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/opentype-options-in-the-font-dialog-box-HA101809106.aspx

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