jaggies in ppt on xp

joachim's picture

last year i finished designing a large type family of 20 styles, with up to 1550 glyphs per style (greek, cyrilic, pictograms et al.) for a client company. of course it had various growing pains, mostly overcome now, but one problem we haven't been able to figure out:

in powerpoint on windows xp, in large sizes (like 80 pt or such), they appear jagged. on the client's computers, it even seemed like the system tried to smoothen the jaggies, rather unsuccessfully. on computers that i tried, i only saw simple jaggies.

i compared other fonts, they look fine. switching between cleartype and standard smoothing does not help.

since the font files are so large, i thought it might be a memory issue, but a reduced version of 300+ glyphs still had the same problem.

thx much for any help,

twardoch's picture


1. Is your font .otf or .ttf?
2. Did you compare yours to other fonts in the same format? As far as I remembered, PowerPoint used to always turn off smoothing above some point sizes.
3. How are your "gasp" table settings (font smoothing) in FontLab Studio?

joachim's picture

hi Adam!

1. it's ttf. -- we also made otf versions for their mac users. would the two behave differently in my case?

2. i'm not sure, i didn't know how to check font formats on a pc. i'm all mac, so my brothers helped me test my fonts on their machines. we looked at arial and microsoft sans serif (and also at eras, just to see how it handles the subtle slants).

- could it be that powerpoint handles 8bit fonts alright, but has a problem with newer formats? (xp professional 2002, service pack 3; powerpoint 2003 professional edition)

- if ppt turns off smoothing above a certain size, could that possibly be adjusted in the preferences?

3. i'll ask Rod Cavazos about the 'gasp', he did all the technical parts for me.

4. i forgot to mention! one of the client's mac users gave a ppt presentation on his apple laptop where our fonts looked fine, but in the image that the projector projected, it was all jagged (and very obvious since projectors tend to increase contrast).

twardoch's picture

.ttf and .otf render very differently on Windows. PowerPoint does "its thing" to .ttf, I never could figure out what exactly. Apart from the "gasp" settings (Font Info / TrueType-specific settings / Font smoothing), there is not much you can do.

joachim's picture

hmm.... does powerpoint *not* do anything to .otf fonts? or not as bad? i can tell them to switch....

twardoch's picture

Actually, support for .otf fonts in PowerPoint 2000, XP or 2003 is pretty bad. Only versions 2007 and 2010 are fine.

joachim's picture

hmmm.... a glimmer of hope? they seem to use powerpoint 2007 on XP. we shall try that out.
thank you!

Si_Daniels's picture

Joachim, it was nice chatting at TypeCon. I did hear back from Mike, and the problem doesn't quite match the one we remembered. Can you send me a copy of the font and maybe a repro ppt and we'll take a look.

Cheers, si

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