Number of glyphs in Postscript font?

emspace's picture

In the past, a typical Western PostScript font was limited to 256 glyphs, forcing you to install and manage two or more style-related fonts in order to access "expert set" characters.

From :

Does this still hold true for Postscript fonts?

Thank you!

ralf h.'s picture

Does this still hold true for Postscript fonts?

Depends on what you mean by “PostScript fonts”. It is certainly not true for PostScript-flavoured OpenType fonts. (usually .oft)

emspace's picture

I meant traditional Postscript fonts (not Opentype). The quote says "In the past" and I'm wondering if they are referring Postscript fonts beginnings or the last versions we've seen or have they always contained just 256 glyphs and been broken in different files to create the MM fonts? I wanted to verify the information to make a comparison of Postscript vs. Opentype for my students. Then again, I bet no one works with Postscripts anymore.

We just happen to have plenty of Postscript fonts and very few Opentype and I would like them to see what they would gain by working with Opentype.

ralf h.'s picture

Maybe one of the Adobe guys can explain it in more detail, but I believe you could theoretically put more than 256 glyphs in a Type1 font, but since the "typical Western encodings“ were based on 8 bit, those additional glyphs would not be accessible to apps (like Freehand) expecting those 8 bit encodings. So especially Western fonts only used 256 glyphs until the format died.

And just for the record: If you want to compare Type1 to OpenType, don't forget that most of the credit should go to the TrueType format:

Theunis de Jong's picture

Ralf, I agree. It's not even theoretical, there used to be fonts with lots of glyphs. (But don't ask me which ones it were :P )

The encoding system prohibited access to only 256 at a time, but smartly written software could get past that limit by creating virtual copies of the fonts with different encodings.

Michel Boyer's picture

don't ask me which ones it were

If you use otftotfm to install an otf font to be used with TeX, you basically generate one large Type 1 font file containing all the glyphs of the otf font, and then one (small) virtual font for each set of features you want to use.

emspace's picture

Thank you all and thank you for the ttf link. I do have to cover some ttf it was completely omitted from theory! I think the teachers here relate ttf to PCs or dafont and wish it just didn't exist or something ;-)

John Nolan's picture

I remember (vaguely) a Times "Super Font" that had all the trimmings, and one would use a utility to generate subsets. Any one else remember that?

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