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What is PostScript?

Adobe® PostScript® 3™ is the worldwide printing and imaging standard. The PostScript programming language was originally developed by Adobe Systems to communicate complex graphic printing instructions to digital printers. It is now built into many laser printers for high-quality rendering of both raster and vector graphics.

An important feature of the PostScript language is that it is device independent. This means that it produces good-looking images regardless of the resolution or color rendering method of the output device, and it takes full advantage of the capabilities built into the device. The Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is a more structured, compact subset of the PostScript language. Almost anything that can be done in PostScript can be done in PDF.

Type 1 fonts are a specialized form of PostScript program and are the original file format used for type display on all PostScript printers. The PostScript language was later extended to provide support for the later TrueType and OpenType® font standards. Any new Adobe PostScript language device made today supports all three font standards.

What is Type 1?

Adobe PostScript Type 1 is a worldwide standard for digital type fonts (International Standards Organization outline font standard, ISO 9541). It was first developed by Adobe Systems for use in PostScript printers. Although Adobe is a leader in the design and manufacturing of Type 1 software and maintains the standards for Type 1, hundreds of companies around the world have designed and released more than 30,000 fonts in the Type 1 format.

The Type 1 font format is recognized on every computer platform, from microcomputers to mainframes. It prints on virtually every printer, either directly through built-in PostScript language interpreting, or through add-on utilities, such as Adobe Type Manager® (ATM®). ATM technology is integrated into Microsoft® Windows® 2000 and Mac OSX operating system. For more than a decade, Type 1 has been the preferred format for the graphic arts and publishing industries.

What is TrueType?

TrueType is a standard for digital type fonts that was developed by Apple Computer, and subsequently licensed to Microsoft Corporation. Each company has made independent extensions to TrueType, which is used in both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Like Type 1, the TrueType format is available for development of new fonts.

What is OpenType?

OpenType is a new standard for digital type fonts, developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft. OpenType supersedes Microsoft's TrueType Open extensions to the TrueType format. OpenType fonts can contain either PostScript or TrueType outlines in a common wrapper. An OpenType font is a single file, which can be used on both Macintosh and Windows platforms without conversion. OpenType fonts have many advantages over previous font formats because they contain more glyphs, support more languages (OpenType uses the Unicode standard for character encoding,) and support rich typographic features such as small caps, old style figures, and ligatures — all in a single font.

Beginning with Adobe InDesign® and Adobe Photoshop® 6.0, applications have begun to support OpenType layout features. OpenType layout allows you to access features such as old style figures or true small caps by simply applying formatting to text. In most applications that do not actively support such features, OpenType fonts work just like other fonts, although the OpenType layout features are not accessible.

OpenType with PostScript outlines is supported by the latest versions of Adobe Type Manager, and is natively supported in Windows 2000. Apple has also announced its intent to support OpenType, and supplies Japanese system fonts for Mac OS X in OpenType form with PostScript outlines.

Why choose Adobe type?

Adobe type offers the following benefits:

  • Highest quality — Adobe's highly trained staff analyzes and tests every character as it is created, so you can be sure that original typefaces are expertly crafted, and typefaces converted from world-renowned libraries remain true to the foundry design. Careful attention to detail of font outlines allows the finer points of each character to be imaged as sharply and accurately as possible for the resolution of your monitor, printer, image setter or film recorder. Adobe type is the standard by which type quality is measured — preferred by professional graphic designers and printing service bureaus.
  • Great selection — The Adobe Type Library offers more than 2,750 typefaces — one of the largest selections of high-quality typefaces. Adobe Originals designs are crafted by award-winning contemporary type designers, while many others are licensed from the oldest and most respected type foundries in the world.
  • Typographic refinements — Many Adobe typefaces offer companion expert sets, old style figures, small caps, ligatures, and other variations required for professional typography. In fact, Adobe invented the "expert set," a standard character set and encoding for many supplementary characters. With OpenType, Adobe is folding such additional characters into the base font, allowing OpenType-savvy applications such as Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop 6.0 to automatically access the characters via simple formatting.
  • Technological leadership — Adobe Systems is the leader in the field of digital typographic production and design for good reason. The engineers and designers at Adobe Systems constantly strive to improve the technology that gave birth to high-quality digital type with the Type 1 format. With Microsoft, Adobe has now developed OpenType — ending the TrueType vs. PostScript Type 1 "font wars," and introducing advanced new typographic features.

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