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Adobe Converting Fonts to OpenType

Most PostScript fonts still available By Dave Nagel
Adobe says its converting its font library from PostScript over to OpenType. The conversion will come in three waves throughout the year, and some 650 fonts in Adobe's current library have already been converted.

Adobe and Microsoft developed OpenType as a cross-platform font format that can include an expanded character set for expanded linguistic support and advanced typographic capabilities. Adobe says the converted fonts will "provide users with improved cross-platform document portability, simpler font management and enhanced glyph coverage." (Adobe's InDesign 2.0 page layout application has extensive support for OpenType glyphs.)

The first set of OpenType fonts includes the standard range of Latin characters and several international characters. Future converted fonts will include merged character sets, so additional glyphs, such as oldstyle figures, small capitals and swashes, will be contained in one font file, according to Adobe.

he big question: Will Adobe continue to sell PostScript fonts? Yes, at least in the near term. Adobe says most of the fonts that are being converted to OpenType will also be available in postScript format. What we do not know yet is whether Adobe will continue to develop PostScript fonts or how long PostScript will be supported.

As it is, OpenType fonts are supported natively by Mac OS X and some Windows systems. Adobe's free font rasterizer, ATM Light, supports OpenType for other operating systems, including Mac OS 9.

The first set of OpenType fonts from the Adobe Type Library are available immediately. Pricing varies from $29 to $299. A special introductory price is available upon the release of each set of converted fonts, ranging from $19 to $150. Discount pricing for the first set of converted fonts is available now through July 31. Individual fonts are also available for purchase.

The second and third releases of the converted ATL will be released at in the third and fourth calendar quarters of this year. For a complete list of all available OpenType fonts, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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