Type 1 is a font format which came to market together with PostScript and the Apple LaserWriter. This is the reason why the font format is sometimes called PostScript Type 1, even though you can also print these font on non-PostScript devices since the early nineties.
Since Type 1 is over 20 years old, it is positively ancient in technology terms. The format has effectively been superseded by OpenType, which keeps all the advantages of Type 1 and adds cross platform compatibility and a slew of sophisticated typographic features.
Some of the key limitations of Type 1:
- It does not allow for more than 256 glyphs (character shapes) to be included in a single font. There is a special flavor of Type 1, called CID fonts, that gets around this limitation but it relies on a rather rigid “character collections” mechanism. Old (pre-2003) output devices sometimes cannot handle CID fonts properly.
- Type 1 fonts are not cross-platform. There are tools to convert Mac fonts to Windows and vice versa but the conversion can be a hassle.
- The font format stores its data in a number of separate file (the minimum being 2 files).
- Since the font format is soo old, font names stick to the 8 character limit of the older DOS days. The cryptic names makes it difficult to determine which typeface is stored in a file.
Type 1 fonts on Macs running OS X
OS X still offers full support for Type 1. More information can be found on the Leopard & fonts page.
Type 1 fonts on Macs running System 9 or earlier
On Macintosh systems, Type 1 fonts consist of two files:
- A file containing the outline fonts. This file is commonly referred to as the printer font. It often looks like this:
but it can also look different, like this for instance:
- A file containing a bitmap representation of the font in at least one point size. This bitmap file is called the screen font. This file also contains the metrics data. The icon resembles a suitcase.
For versions of System 6, use Font/DA Mover to install bitmap fonts into the System file and put PostScript files into the System Folder.
In System software versions 7.0 or 7.0.1, install bitmap fonts by dragging a font suitcase or font file onto the closed System file. Put PostScript fonts in the Extensions folder.
To use PostScript fonts with System software version 7.1 and later, install bitmap (screen) and PostScript (printer) fonts in the Fonts folder. You can drag fonts or font suitcases to the closed System Folder. The system presents a dialog box asking whether you want to place them in the Fonts folder. Click ‘OK’ to confirm.
Type 1 fonts on Windows
Type 1 support varies between the different flavors of Windows.
Windows 95, 98 and ME
These versions of Windows do not offer native support for Type 1 fonts. You have to install Adobe Type Manager (ATM) Light or ATM Deluxe to use Type 1 fonts. ATM Light can be downloaded for free from the Adobe web site.
ATM Light adds 3 basic functions to Windows:
- It allows the user to install Type 1 fonts
- It will make sure those fonts are displayed properly on-screen, without jaggies and with anti-aliasing if needed.
- It also allows proper printing of PostScript Type 1 fonts on non-PostScript devices.
ATM Deluxe adds font management features as well.
Both flavors of ATM keep a list of all installed fonts (names and font file names) in a file called ATM.INI. INI files are limited to 64K which can lead to various font problems if too many fonts are installed on the system. The actual limit will depend on the length of font names and length of file names (e.g. you get more fonts if you put them in C:\F than in C:\PSFONTS).
Windows 9X keeps a list of PostScript fonts for EACH PostScript printer in another file called WIN.INI which is also limited to 64K. The actual number of fonts you can have installed depends on what other stuff is in WIN.INI, the length of font names and the length of file names as well as the number of PostScript printers (printers created using the AdobePS driver do not have this requirement
On the Windows operating system, PostScript type 1 font data are contained in two separate files:
1. The outline data are contained in a file that carries the extension “.PFB”.
2. The metrics data are gathered within a file that uses the extension “.PFM”.
Windows NT 4
Windows NT 4.0 is a bit peculiar when it comes to handling Type 1 fonts: although it can read them without ATM, it still can’t use them. Instead, NT uses a built-in PostScript to TrueType converter to make a lower-quality TrueType font for screen display and printing. You can use the converted font but the output quality is inferior to the original, high-quality PostScript font.
Windows 2000 is the first version of Windows to natively support Type 1 PostScript fonts. It does not suffer from the limitations of INI files that plague Windows ’95, ’98 and ME. Even if ATM is installed on Windows 2000, all that ATM does is use the Windows API to activate and deactivate fonts.
Below is the icon that is used for Type 1 fonts.
Note that if you upgrade a Windows NT 4 system to Windows 2000, that could be the source of a number of problems associated with fonts. The transition from Windows NT 4 to Windows 2000 should be done via a clean install.
Vista still offers partial support for Type 1. More information can be found on the Vista font page.
Outputting Type 1 fonts
The Type 1 font technology is a well known and proven technology which works very well.
All PostScript output devices contain at least the following 35 fonts which are called the base fonts:
- Avant Garde Gothic
- Helvetica Narrow
- New Centura Schoolbook
- Zapf Changery
- Zapf Dingbats
Newer PostScript 3 devices can by default contain far more fonts.