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Difference between OTF (Open Type) or TTF (True Type) font formats?

Difference between OTF (Open Type) or TTF (True Type) font formats?

On a Mac, when I'm downloading fonts am often given the choice between OTF (OpenType Format) and TTF (TrueType Format).

Asked by: Guest | Views: 26
Total answers/comments: 2
Guest [Entry]

"OTF is more likely to be a “better” font, as it supports more advanced typesetting features (smallcaps, alternates, ligatures and so on actually inside the font rather than in fiddly separate expert set fonts). It can also contain either spline (TTF-style) or Bezier (PostScript Type 1-style) curves, so hopefully you're getting the shapes the font was originally designed in and not a potentially-poorer-quality conversion.

On the other hand, if you're downloading free fonts from shovelware sites, you're unlikely to get any of that. Indeed, you may simple be getting a TTF font renamed to OTF."
Guest [Entry]

"Please note that when file endings are converned, both .otf and .ttf may denote fonts in the OpenType format. (See OpenType in Wikipedia – actually, this is more accurately pronounced in the German version.)

This comes a little confusing as some .ttf font files may look as if they are in legacy ANSI-Windows TrueType format, whereas in fact they may be full featured OpenType fonts.

The main difference between both flavours being that .ttf style fonts use quadratic Bézier splines whereas .otf style fonts use cubic Bézier splines. (Historically, quadratic Bézier curves have been used for the ‘legacy’ TrueType format; cubic Bézier curves have come from a PostScript background.) Cubic Béziers are potentially more accurate (every quadratic Bézier curve can be exactly reproduced with a cubic Bézier curve) but may be approximated with smaller segmented sequences of quadratic Béziers. (Also note that neither cubic nor quadratic Bézier splines may exactly reproduce a circle. There is always some approximation error.)

Another minor difference in the specification seems to be that ttf flavoured OpenType fonts may address the same glyph with several code points. Therefore, this saves some space, if e.g. the upper case versions of b, β and в (read: latin, greek and cyrillic ‘B’) have the same shape."