SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 10, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. announced today at the Seybold Conference significant advancements in font technologies to improve the look and legibility of documents published on the World Wide Web. Microsoft is bringing a new level of quality to designers and readers of Web-based publications with the OpenType font format, the next-generation universal font format under development by Microsoft and Adobe Systems; an immediately available set of freely downloadable fonts designed specifically for online publishing; freely downloadable font smoothing (anti-aliasing) for users of the Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system; and support for font embedding in Web documents. (Online access charges may apply.)
“These innovations in font technology will bring the rich typography that is commonplace in print to the world of online publishing,”
said Brad Chase, vice president in the Internet platform and tools division at Microsoft.
“OpenType and our other font initiatives will take online publications to an entirely new level of quality and make reading documents on-screen easier and more pleasurable.”
OpenType Simplifies Font Usage, Sets Stage for Next-Generation Typography
Jointly developed by Adobe Systems and Microsoft, OpenType simplifies users’ interaction with fonts and provides a foundation for the next generation of typographic features and high-quality online publishing. OpenType builds on the TrueType font architecture, the world’s most widely used font technology with over 3 billion fonts shipped. OpenType handles all fonts in a unified registry, eliminating compatibility issues between TrueType and Type 1 (PostScript) fonts. Users no longer have to worry about varying installation procedures for different types of fonts or problems with compatibility issues, and type creators need to release only one format. The first draft of the new OpenType specification is now available from Microsoft and Adobe ( http://www.microsoft.com/opentype/ and (http://www.adobe.com/ type/) )).
“OpenType will allow us to take type to the next level while at the same time consolidating today’s separate worlds of Type 1 and TrueType fonts,”
said Bill McCoy, director of core technology at Adobe Systems.
“Adobe is aggressively working to support OpenType in our products.”
In addition to being easier to use, OpenType fonts include extended language capabilities that enable font designers to create specialized fonts, such as innovative, international or high-end fonts. OpenType fonts also contain an industry-standard digital signature based on Microsoft Authenticode
technology, which protects fonts from unauthorized alteration. Font creators can include custom licensee and use information in the signature, which is protected by high-quality encryption to protect intellectual-property rights. This information helps enable an electronic market for fonts.
New Free Fonts Improve Legibility and Visual Appeal of Web Pages
Microsoft is expanding its collection of freely downloadable TrueType Web fonts ( http://www.microsoft.com/truetype/ ). The latest addition is a completely new family of fonts called Verdana, designed by world-renowned type designer Matthew Carter and hand-hinted by hinting expert Tom Rickner of Monotype Corp. The Verdana fonts have new characteristics derived from the pixel rather than from the pen, brush or chisel used to create traditional font designs. They have been meticulously tuned to ensure that the pixel patterns for small font sizes are pleasing, clear and highly legible on-screen, even when they are displayed at low resolution.
Free Smooth Fonts on the Microsoft Web Site
The Microsoft Smooth Fonts feature for anti-aliasing, previously available only through Microsoft Plus!, is now being made available to all users of Windows 95 at no charge (online access charges may apply) from the Microsoft Web site ( http://www.microsoft.com/truetype/ ). Anti-aliasing, or smoothing using gray scales, adds intermediate-shaded pixels to smooth jagged diagonals and curves in letters, which considerably improves on-screen legibility. Smooth Fonts automatically applies anti-aliasing to any text on a Web page, regardless of background and text color. Rather than resorting to bitmapped graphics for high-quality banners and logos, which are hard to update, edit, index, search and localize into other languages, designers can use normal type with anti-aliasing to achieve a high-quality look for their Web pages. Further, Smooth Fonts ensures high-quality printed output, rather than the jagged images that are common when bitmapped text is printed on a high-resolution printer.
Font Embedding for the Web Broadens Design Options
To give designers complete freedom to use any typeface without requiring users to have every font used in a Web page installed on their machines, Microsoft is extending the TrueType font-embedding technology to work with any Web site and any TrueType or OpenType font. TrueType font embedding is currently supported in Microsoft Office for Windows 95, Standard Edition; Microsoft Office for Windows 95, Professional Edition; and Microsoft Office for Apple Macintosh versions, as well as in other major productivity applications. These embedding services will enable fonts to be embedded (or linked) to a Web site, then read by enabled browsers. The embedding mechanism, jointly developed with Adobe Systems, has been submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and will be supported in a future version of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
The services also provide protection from alteration and unauthorized use of the fonts beyond the page in which the fonts were embedded. This capability gives publishers unlimited creative freedom with font usage, enabling design of more interesting, memorable online documents while at the same time protecting the intellectual property of the font designer. Other key features include subsetting and compression of the embedded fonts to reduce the size of embedded font objects, making documents faster to download on the Web. Subsetting creates a much smaller version of the font that contains only the characters used in a document. The embedding system applies high-quality
font compression, licensed from AGFA, to the subset font. Together, these measures dramatically reduce the size of the font file to be downloaded.
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