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Multiple Master Fonts General Information

What?s Covered

Multiple Master Font Names

Optical Size

Multiple Master Font Requirements

Multiple master fonts are customizable PostScript fonts. The multiple master font format describes a typeface's characteristics using linear design axes, which include weight, width, optical size, and style (that is, slab, serif). Each design axis has a linear range. For example, Myriad's weight axis range is 1 to 830, and its width axis range is 1 to 700.

Multiple master fonts include a number of primary font instances, preconfigured at differing intersections of their design axes. For example, Myriad includes 15 primary instances, ranging from 215 LT 300 CN (Light Condensed) to 830 BL 700 SE (Black SemiExtended). You use the Font Creator utility to create custom instances.

Multiple master font files, which are larger than single master fonts, require a minimum of 3 MB of printer memory (RAM). PostScript Level 1 printers that don't have the minimum of 3 MB of RAM (for example, Personal LaserWriter NT, Hewlett-Packard LaserJet with PostScript Level 1 cartridge) are unable to print multiple master fonts.

Adobe multiple master fonts include:

ITC Avant Garde Gothic

Caflisch Script

Conga Brava


Ex Ponto

ITC Garamond







Minion Expert



Ocean Sans





Multiple Master Font Names

All multiple master font names include "MM," with the numeric values of their weight and width added to short axis abbreviations (for example, MinioMM_578 BD 465 CN 11 OP).

Weight Axis (wt)

XL: ExtraLight

LT: Light

RG: Regular

SB: Semibold

BD: Bold

BL: Black

Width Axis (wd)

XC: ExtraCondensed

CN: Condensed

SC: SemiCondense

NO: Norma

SE: SemiExtended

EX: Extended

XE: ExtraExtended

Optical Size Axis (op)

OP: Optical size (from 6 to 72)

Optical Size

The optical size axis enables you to generate fonts that are optically adjusted for use at specific point sizes. As the optical size increases, the space between the characters (letter fit) tightens, the space within the characters (counters) becomes smaller, the serifs become finer, the overall weight becomes lighter, and the x-height gradually decreases in size. Jenson, Minion, Minion Expert, and Sanvito support optical scaling.

Multiple Master Font Requirements

Note: Applications that use the Adobe type engine (for example, Adobe Illustrator 7.0 and later, Adobe Photoshop 5.0 and later, and Adobe InDesign 1.x) don't require ATM (Adobe Type Manager) to display multiple master fonts.

Mac OS

-- System 6.0.5 or later

Note: OS X version 10.2 and later support multiple master fonts, but OS X version 10.0-10.1.5 don't.

-- LaserWriter 6.1 or later printer driver when printing to a PostScript device

-- 4 MB of RAM (System 7 or later) or 2 MB of RAM (System 6)

-- Hard disk

-- High-density disk drive

-- Adobe Type Manager


-- Windows 3.1 or later or OS/2 1.3 or later

-- 4 MB of RAM

-- Hard disk

-- High-density disk drive

-- Adobe Type Manager

Jenson Multiple Master font for Mac OS

-- Adobe Type Manager (ATM) 3.9 or later

-- Adobe PSPrinter 8.3 or later printer driver

PostScript Printer

-- 3 MB or more of printer memory (RAM)

Document 328600
Last edited - 02/26/2004


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