Batch conversion of Type 1 & TrueType to OpenType using Fontlab/Mac OS X?

jefferson's picture

The dreaded upgrade is here and suddenly all my OS9 fonts are obsolete garbage. Adobe CS came with some nice fonts, but our shop needs so much more.

On a lark, I downloaded Fontlab for OS X and opened a Type 1 font from OS 9. I exported it as OpenType, set some type with it in InDesign, made a PDF, opened it in Acrobat, preflighted it, and printed it to a Postscript Level 2 laser printer. Whoa.

Did that really work? It can't be that easy. Can I batch-process 300 fonts to OpenType with Fontlab and keep production running smoothly? The boss would think I was god if I could pull that one off.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Whoa, now!

Why do think your OS 9 fonts are obsolete garbage?

Type 1 fonts are perfectly compatible with OS X and Adobe's CS apps. Converting Type 1 directly to OpenType offers no advantages other than a single font file with OTF versus separate outline and screen font files with T1. I think you're wasting your time with the conversion unless your entire Type 1 library is pre-1990 vintage and the bitmaps are still using FONT resources rather than NFNTs.

Can you clarify why you think this is necessary?

bieler's picture


There has been a long ongoing thread on this regard over at T-D (Type-Design). It may be possible to convert a standard PS1 to OT but batch conversion is a bit problematic at this point, especially if you are trying to combine certain fonts, say a font that also has a separate Expert set. Besides the encoding problem, PS1 fonts don't share kerning pairs.

While I do agree that conversion will become a necessity, simply because at some point down the type road Adobe and Microsoft apps are not likely to support PS1, at this point I really don't see how this can be effectively done in any form of batch process (despite the proposed and much delayed FontLab TransTypePro).

jefferson's picture


I've tried running the fonts in question on OS X, which largely refuses to recognize them. Even Classic mode only sees about 18 out of 300. And Quark 4.1 only sees three of those in Classic mode. And it all crashes at the drop of a hat. For a number of reasons, we're moving to OS X and Creative Suite.


Thanks. I'll look for the thread you mentioned. I'm not absolutely opposed to doing all this manually, but I have to convince the boss that it can be done - and done successfully - for x number of dollars. The cost of Fontlab is equal to the budget I have for fonts, so it's an intriguing proposition.

gargoyle's picture

Yuri explained briefly how to do batch conversions on comp.fonts:


If you want to convert many Type 1 fonts to OpenType, you may try to use Tools/Transform range... command, then select Fonts in the fonts
list in the "range" list, click the "..." button and then fill the batch converting list with the fonts. Do not forget to select destination format in the list at the bottom ("Transformations" chapter).

Thomas Phinney's picture

Although there are a couple of other advantages to conversion (much smaller file sizes, cross-platform fonts), it's hardly a necessity at this time. I say this despite being one of the most visible proponents of OpenType.



Grant Hutchinson's picture

> Even Classic mode only sees about 18 out of 300.
> And Quark 4.1 only sees three of those in Classic mode.

This makes me think that there is something seriously wrong with the fonts. What foundries or suppliers are these faces from? If you're having that much dropoff in terms of OS 9 to OS X transitioning, I would be concerned that some of the face may not make the conversion intact anyway.

jefferson's picture

Thanks for moving the thread. I wanted to create it here, but couldn't.


The fonts are a bastard mix that came from multiple sources. Many came with our laser printer.

I've looked at them all with FontLab demo, and it seems to be able to open about 3/4 of them, so I'm going to recommend to the boss that he buy the full version.

The nice thing about all this is that I've long wanted to work up some typefaces of my own, but never had the appropriate tools to do it.

jefferson's picture

And thanks, Justin. That is just what I wanted to hear. I think this conversion is doable, somehow. I hardly dared to dream it would be, but the whole project looks like a go. I'm excited about it.

jefferson's picture

I finally completed the process. Over 800 fonts in perhaps 140 families were converted manually to Open Type CFF. Mostly Type 1, and a few True Types.

After conversion, I had to go back and redo the entire process: I had left out the Open Type naming fields, and the computer thought every font was "regular." The names required manual correction in most cases. FontLab tended to call everything "regular" by default. Doh!-the time that wasted! Finally got it sorted out and am about to make a specimen book. If only OS X had a specimen book utility.

I also created a few faked sloped fonts for romans that didn't have italics. (Yes, shame on me.) It's disturbingly easy to slant every glyph by x degrees with the push of a button

Miss Tiffany's picture

Thread moved to: Typophile Forums >> Build

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