Historical past of PostScript, TrueType, and OpenType







Postscript is all however gone, and right now, newer font requirements corresponding to TrueType and OpenType rule the roost. This is how we acquired from desktop PostScript within the early ’80s to right now.

When the Mac first appeared in 1984 it radically modified the way in which print and kind had been created and managed. Gone had been the times of manually setting sort on a printing press or hand-designing graphics on a designer’s easel.

The Mac delivered WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) design and structure utilizing (on the time) revolutionary software program corresponding to Aldus Pagemaker, and from Adobe Techniques, Inc. Illustrator.

In 1986 Apple launched the Mac Plus, an upgraded model of the unique Mac – now with 1MB of RAM. It additionally launched the LaserWriter – the world’s first mass-market shopper desktop laser printer.

Each had been hits and instantly turned the Mac’s killer app. Designers, print media, and information retailers purchased the Mac and LaserWriter and designers may now design print publications, import textual content and graphics, and prepare objects on pages onscreen just by clicking and dragging.

Adobe’s preliminary graphic design merchandise reside on right now: Illustrator remains to be the foremost definitive skilled vector illustration app for designers and print publishers, and one among Adobe’s different apps – InDesign, is definitely the successor to Aldus Pagemaker.

Adobe purchased Aldus, then later purchased one other firm from the Eighties and Nineties referred to as Macromedia, which made the now-defunct Flash, and different apps. Aldus additionally had a presentation design app referred to as Persuasion which was a bit like how Apple’s Keynote is right now.

A number of different variations of the Mac adopted together with the SE, SE/30, the Mac II (the primary shade Mac), Iici, and a bunch of later shade machines.

Apple Personal LaserWriter.

Adobe PostScript enabled all of it

Early within the 1980’s Adobe Techniques had already been engaged on a web page structure and outline language referred to as PostScript. Apple and Aldus adopted PostScript as did many laser printer producers.

Each Apple LaserWriter got here with a PostScript interpreter in-built, in addition to ROMs containing restricted units of Adobe’s PostScript fonts, referred to as Sort 1 fonts. Further Sort 1 fonts could possibly be put in within the Fonts folder on the unique Mac OS, together with bitmapped screen-only suitcase font information.

If you went to print a file in your LaserWriter, Mac OS would obtain any further wanted Sort 1 fonts to the printer’s reminiscence and the PostScript interpreter would rasterize them into textual content on the web page.

Original Type 1 fonts: Type 1 'outline' fonts at top, a bitmaped 'suitcase' font file for screen display, and Adobe Font Metrics files.

Unique Sort 1 fonts: Sort 1 ‘define’ fonts at high, a bitmaped ‘suitcase’ font file for display screen show, and Adobe Font Metrics information.

Sadly, the unique Mac OS did not assist PostScript in its API instantly.

Adobe’s early success was largely constructed on the again of PostScript and Illustrator, with many extra merchandise to comply with. Adobe made billions off the PostScript licensing royalties Apple and different printer producers needed to pay to place PostScript of their printers.

Third-party Sort 1 font distributors quickly appeared. The desktop publishing market (DTP) exploded, and Apple and Adobe had been on their solution to mega-success.

Apple and the Mac had badly wanted a killer app on the time and the mix of the LaserWriter, the Mac Plus, and PostScript had been it. The truth is, if not for desktop publishing and the LaserWriter, Apple may not have survived.

One of Adobe's first Mac software products - Type Reunion.

Considered one of Adobe’s first Mac software program merchandise – Sort Reunion.

PostScript describes pages, vector graphics, and fonts

PostScript is a really easy-to-read English-like language that describes objects to be drawn on a web page. Instructions are brief and easy and often describe paths (referred to as Bezier paths in arithmetic), attributes of paths, colours, line sizes (strokes), fills, and different objects.

The Sort 1 font customary did the identical, however for fonts – advanced Bezier paths had been used to attract font outlines, and thickness in addition to graphics objects (which we’ll get to in a second).

As a result of PostScript was terse and text-based, vector picture information and fonts could possibly be described whereas maintaining file sizes small.

Illustrator relies on these identical ideas – utilizing PostScript to attract and show shapes, though when displayed on early Mac screens the objects needed to be transformed to the Mac’s crude bitmapped-based drawing engine, referred to as QuickDraw. The unique Mac by no means had true WYSIWYG nevertheless it did come shut.

Steve Job’s second firm, NeXT, Inc. made newer computer systems beginning in 1989 which did use Show PostScript for true WYSIWYG show on-screen and on the printed web page. NeXT additionally made and bought its personal small PostScript-based laser printer.

One of many first apps ported to NeXT machines was Adobe’s Illustrator.

A number of further LaserWriter fashions from Apple adopted, every with extra options, extra inside reminiscence and fonts and sooner efficiency at decrease costs.

Mac customers cherished the convenience with which fonts could possibly be put in, eliminated, and downloaded into and from the Mac. Your entire system was straightforward, seamless, and simply labored.

Later Adobe made and bought further Mac PostScript-releated software program corresponding to Adobe Sort Supervisor (ATM), Sort-On-Name CD-ROMs with unlockable fonts, and font collections on 3.5-inch floppy disks which match early Mac floppy drives.

An original Adobe Type 1 Galahad font diskette, and Adobe Type Manager 4.0 for Windows.

An authentic Adobe Sort 1 Galahad font diskette, and Adobe Sort Supervisor 4.0 for Home windows.

ATM basically tried so as to add Show PostScript to early Macs in graphic design apps with various ranges of success. It learn and rendered Sort 1 fonts on the Mac’s show by utilizing vector graphics transformed to bitmapped fonts, or had corresponding bitmap fonts put in alongside Sort 1 fonts for printing.

Whereas in lots of circumstances this improved fonts on the Mac’s show, there have been drawbacks – specifically efficiency – and generally sort laid out on a web page with ATM would not precisely match when ATM was turned off.

Apple, Adobe, Illustrator, and NeXT

The unique Mac fashions did not assist PostScript fonts instantly, and in a while customers may set up each bitmapped display screen fonts in addition to PostScript fonts which might be downloaded to a laser printer at print-time. That is the place the “Fonts” folders in macOS initially got here from.

Adobe Techniques’ co-founder, John Warnock who handed away in August on the age of 82, initiated the PostScript undertaking at Adobe.

Customers cherished the Mac font system, however as an increasing number of fonts proliferated, the font storage system rapidly acquired out of hand. Worse, most Sort 1 fonts had a number of variants, or faces, in every font which rapidly made the Mac’s font menu unwieldy.

Later an organization referred to as Fifth Technology Techniques made a Mac utility referred to as Suitcase and Suitcase II which made font administration simpler. Symantec purchased Fifth Technology Techniques and Suitcase, after which one other firm (Extensis) purchased Suitcase from Symantec.

You may nonetheless get the “last model” of Extensis Suitcase Fusion on their web site for obtain for macOS.

Symantec's version 3 of Suitcase on floppy disk circa 1996.

Symantec’s model 3 of Suitcase on floppy disk circa 1996.

PostScript itself could be very straightforward to grasp simply by studying. Most PostScript information retailer their contents (code) as plain textual content. This is a small pattern:

$F2psDict /mtrx matrix put

/clp {closepath} bind def

Splines and Bezier curves

Bezier curves are primarily based on splines – paths described by polynomials and “knots” or factors. Every path is described by two or extra factors, with two ends and a number of factors in between. Splines interpolate the trail alongside the factors to attain a clean steady form.

A font described using splines as detailed on the FontForge website.

A font described utilizing splines as detailed on the FontForge web site.

A number of fashionable font instruments together with FontForge mean you can design and export font information in a fashion just like Illustrator drawings.

Adobe selected splines for PostScript as a result of whatever the show or print decision, splines can describe shapes at any scale. The info for splines could be very compact as a result of as an alternative of describing total shapes, solely factors have to be saved.

Adobe Illustrator permits designers so as to add, take away, minimize, paste, and reshape splines by dragging management factors alongside them to alter their shapes.

On the time, regardless that the unique Mac’s show was very low decision (72 dpi), laser printers had been already printing at 300, 600, 1200, and 2400 dpi. The Mac’s built-in font system was bitmap-only, and Adobe’s used vector graphics described by math.

As quickly as Adobe launched Illustrator, Aldus got here out with its personal spline-based drawing program referred to as Freehand, which was additionally wildly well-liked with designers.

An early version of Aldus Freehand, which was similar to Illustrator.

An early model of Aldus Freehand, which was just like Illustrator.

System 7, TrueType, and QuickDraw GX

Within the late Eighties, Apple noticed the restrictions of its font system and what Adobe had achieved, and created a brand new customary referred to as ‘SFNT’. On the identical time, it developed a brand new sort customary, TrueType, which the Mac nonetheless helps right now.

SFNT was designed to be open and a container for different font varieties and which helps PostScript, TrueType, OpenType, Internet Open Font Format (WOFF), and others.

Nonetheless, resulting from early use of C programming language code and design choices, the utmost variety of characters that may be included in an SFNT desk is 65,536 (the utmost worth of an unsigned brief integer variable in C).

As soon as Apple launched System 7 in 1991, which additionally included shade on the Mac for the primary time, customers may now set up TrueType fonts just by dragging them to the Fonts folder contained in the System Folder, or into suitcases.

Apple's System 7 - sold at retail on floppies. Note the TrueType font icon in the lower left corner.

Apple’s System 7 – bought at retail on floppies. Be aware the TrueType font icon within the decrease left nook.

In this video Apple worker #8 Chris Espinoza who joined the corporate at age fourteen launched System 7. Chris remains to be at Apple.

Previous to utilizing System 7, Mac customers had to make use of an Apple-provided app referred to as Font/DA Mover to put in and take away fonts.

TrueType simplified the Mac’s font system. A scalable vector, or define font customary, TrueType eliminates the necessity for separate bitmap fonts and shops fonts in a single file.

Gone had been the times of getting to fret about putting in matching Sort 1 font information for every put in bitmapped font on a Mac.

Microsoft quickly added TrueType assist to Microsoft Home windows, which remains to be supported right now. In response to TrueType turning into a brand new open font customary, Adobe introduced it might open the Sort 1 customary as nicely.

Adobe founder John Warnock decried TrueType as an inexpensive imitation of Adobe’s know-how.

Apple additionally later developed a further sort customary for its new model of QuickDraw referred to as QuickDraw GX. Dubbed TrueType GX (later generally known as Apple Superior Typography) it by no means totally caught on – and neither did QuickDraw GX – being upstaged by a number of new mid-1990’s rendering applied sciences corresponding to OpenType, OpenGL and others.

Apple additionally had a corresponding 3D rendering know-how referred to as QuickDraw 3D which additionally failed.

Since most of AAT’s options at the moment are supported in OpenType, the continuation of AAT improvement wasn’t thought-about crucial.

Unicode, WorldScript, and ATUSI

Across the identical time the then-new Unicode open customary was launched to cope with globalization, non-western languages, and right-to-left languages corresponding to Arabic and others on computer systems.

Apple created Apple Sort Companies for Unicode Imaging (ATUSI) for Mac OS 8.5 which shipped as a System Extension within the OS to supply worldwide language rendering utilizing Unicode.

Previous to ATSUI, Mac OS used an Apple-specific customary referred to as WorldScript, which shoehorned non-western languages and fonts into System 7.1 by way of “Language Kits” which had been further software program elements that would plug in and supply assist for different languages.

Apple's Japanese Language Kit.

Apple’s Japanese Language Package.

Apple deprecated all assist for ATSUI and WorldScript in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard – and assist for Mac OS X’s ATS.framework (Apple Sort Companies) in Xcode 4.6 in 2012. In the present day, most textual content dealt with on macOS and iOS is dealt with by Apple’s Core Textual content framework.

Mark David, one among WorldScript’s builders helped discovered the Unicode Consortium which remains to be round right now.

OpenType and Internet Open Font Format

In 1996 Microsoft developed its personal font customary referred to as TrueType Open (to not be confused with ClearType), which was later renamed OpenType which nonetheless exists right now. In 2005 OpenType started the method of turning into an open customary and is now detailed in ISO Customary ISO/IEC 14496-22 (MPEG-4 Half 22), now formally referred to as Open Font Format.

There are additionally further customary extensions for Asian (CJK) fonts, which typically have extra advanced glyphs (shapes) than Western languages. Early on Adobe established its personal font extensions for the Japanese language generally known as Adobe-Japan1.

As early as 2002 Adobe had transformed its total Sort 1 font assortment to OpenType. Consequently, TrueType and OpenType are nonetheless the de-facto requirements for sort on computer systems right now.

Adobe even has a free font obtain web page on its web site for some fonts. It additionally has a fonts market in its Inventive Cloud software program, from which you should purchase fonts for obtain.

In 2015 Microsoft added OpenType assist for shade fonts, emoji, and Scable Vector Graphics (SVG) to the usual.

In 2009 the Internet Open Font Format (WOFF) was submitted by the Mozilla Basis, Opera Software program, and Microsoft to the WC3 for approval as an open internet customary. Designed to eradicate font obtain latency and conflicts with domestically put in fonts, WOFF additionally supplies font compression for sooner web page rendering.

WOFF is an SFNT-based wrapper font format primarily based on TrueType and OpenType.

Font collections

Since model 1.4, OpenType has allowed font collections – which might comprise a number of typefaces in a single file (just like the unique Mac’s suitcase information).

macOS started supporting font collections a number of years in the past, and in the event you look within the /Customers/~/Library folder in fashionable variations of macOS you will notice each a Fonts, and a FontCollections folder.

There may be additionally a Fonts folder within the /Library folder on the root of your Startup Disk.

In case you set up fonts into the Fonts folder in /Library they are going to be out there to all customers on a Mac. In case you set up them into the Fonts or FontCollections folders in a person’s /Library folder, the fonts will likely be out there to that person solely.

In case you double-click an .otf (OpenType) or .ttf (TrueType) font file within the Mac’s Finder, it’ll open in Apple’s Font Ebook app and show it in its personal window. You too can use this window to exchange fonts.

You too can view, edit, and create font collections within the Font Ebook app. Font Ebook works type of like the unique Suitcase app labored on the Mac Plus and SE, however higher.

Font Ebook has many extra attention-grabbing little options corresponding to the power to view fonts by date added, variety, by title, pattern, language, or typeface view, and you’ll step by every typeface variant in a font assortment.

You too can scale font samples utilizing the window’s slider management.

Apple's Font Book app in action.

Apple’s Font Ebook app in motion.

FreeType and Graphite

In 1996 David Turner began the FreeType undertaking, which is a rasterization know-how for rendering fonts onto bitmaps, just like Microsoft’s ClearType. FreeType was later sued by Apple for patent infringement for some patents associated to TrueType, however these patents have since expired.

FreeType can also be utilized in Android, ChromeOS, and the Home windows 95 clone working system ReactOS. It is also utilized in components of the Java Growth Package from Oracle.

Graphite is a great font rendering know-how primarily based on TrueType, however which comprises superior options corresponding to context-aware rendering, glyph substitution, and built-in rendering data which suggests solely the fonts themselves are wanted for rendering in any language on any gadget.

Graphite is usually used on Home windows and Linux techniques and is offered on macOS, nevertheless it is not extensively used on the Mac since Core Textual content supplies comparable assist.

The top of PostScript

In 2022 Adobe Techniques introduced it was ending assist for PostScript Sort 1 fonts. This had been coming for a very long time, given TrueType and OpenType’s now dominance as font requirements.

Adobe additionally has new common rendering engines (RIPs) for each file printing and sharing and for industrial printing referred to as Adobe Embedded Print Engine, and Adobe PDF Print Engine, respectively.

Adobe’s Sort 1 assist formally got here to an finish in January, 2023. You need to use Font Ebook to see in the event you nonetheless have any Sort 1 fonts put in in your Mac.

In 2023 Apple eliminated almost all assist for PostScript from macOS 14 Sonoma and iOS. The Preview app not has the power to open or show PostScript (.ps) information, nor print them instantly.

From a developer perspective, almost all API-level paths to PostScript have additionally been eliminated. Core Graphics’s CGPSConverter is deprecated, and NSImageRep subclasses not assist PostScript or EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) information.

PMPrinterPrintWithFile not accepts PostScript information for print queues, and drawing contexts not assist displaying PostScript.

There are nonetheless a number of issues you are able to do with .ps information – for now. For instance, each Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can nonetheless import .ps information, however in the event you do they get transformed to graphics and also you lose any textual content as textual content.

Oddly, Mac’s print system does nonetheless assist some PostScript capabilities – undoubtedly as a result of there are various PostScript printers nonetheless in use and will likely be for a while. From the usual macOS print dialog in apps you’ll be able to choose Save as Postscript from the popup menu on the backside which can produce a .ps file it can save you to disk.

You can still print documents to .ps files in macOS.

You may nonetheless print paperwork to .ps information in macOS.

When you have a PostScript-enabled printer, or one which comprises PostScript emulation, you’ll be able to nonetheless print .ps and EPS information to it by dragging them to the Print Heart queue window out of your macOS Desktop.

To open a print queue in your Mac, you may want to pick your printer below the Printers & Scanners tab within the System Settings app, click on in your printer below Printers, then click on the Printer Queue… button to open macOS’s Print Heart.


One firm, Artiflex Software program, Inc. has its personal PostScript interpreter and libraries referred to as GhostScript that are over thirty years outdated and nonetheless work on most fashionable computing platforms together with macOS, Home windows, and different UNIX-based techniques.

GhostScript is impartial of each Adobe and Apple and is a standalone product. It will probably additionally print PDF information.

You may obtain GhostScript from its web site, or set up it in your Mac utilizing the Homebrew bundle supervisor.

Further assets

Apple has a full checklist of fonts included in macOS Sonoma and the checklist is now fairly lengthy. You may add and take away fonts with Font Ebook.

You too can view all of Apple’s authentic SFNT developer documentation on the web archive which covers all the unique information about font tables, four-character codes, file varieties, and TrueType GX.

Adobe additionally initially printed a number of books on PostScript within the late 1980’s by Addison Wesley Publishing.

For a enjoyable peek into the unique world of the Macintosh’s improvement, together with Quickdraw and fonts, take a look at folklore.org by Andy Hertzfeld. Andy labored on the unique Mac, and helped outline and code the Finder and desktop metaphor as we all know them right now.

He is additionally written a terrific companion e book Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Nice Story of How the Mac Was Made, which is offered on Amazon.

There are literally many different font codecs and requirements out there right now and we’ve got solely touched on the foremost ones. The topic of laptop typography is huge and sophisticated. Studying your entire historical past of sort on computer systems and the technical particulars of each typography and printing is a frightening job.

PostScript and Sort 1 fonts revolutionized how we design and print paperwork and adjusted the world. Nothing lasts perpetually and though PostScript was a tremendous know-how, issues change as a long time cross – and now TrueType and OpenType are the indeniable requirements for sort on fashionable computer systems.

PostScript will go down in historical past as one of many world’s most superb technological achievements.


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