Chapter 8 - Fonts

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This chapter examines technical issues related to fonts, focusing on TrueType, the font technology available in Windows NT. This chapter also presents details about using printer fonts with specific types of printers and about using Adobe Type 1 fonts.

About Typography in Windows NT

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A typeface is a set of characters that share common characteristics (such as stroke width and the presence or absence of serifs). For example, Arial and Courier are both typefaces. Frequently, both the typeface and its name are copyrighted and/or trademarked by the typeface designer or manufacturer.

In Windows NT, a font is the name of a typeface, excluding attributes such as bold or italic. This general definition is more widely used than the traditional definition associated with traditional typography. For example, MS Serif is a font in Windows NT.

In Windows NT, a font family refers to a group of typefaces with similar characteristics. The families that Windows NT recognizes for font installation and mapping are Roman, Swiss, Modern, Script, and Decorative. For example, the sans serif typefaces Arial, Arial Bold, Arial Bold Italic, Arial Italic, Small Fonts, and MS Sans Serif are all part of the Swiss font family.

For printing and display in a computer system, each raster or vector font has its own character set according to the ASCII, ANSI, or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standard or to another industry standard that defines what character is represented by a specific keystroke or combination of keystrokes. Most TrueType fonts shipped with Windows NT support multiple character sets. For more information about raster, vector, and TrueType fonts, see "About Windows NT Fonts" later in this chapter.

The following basic terms are used in Windows NT to define the appearance of a font in an application:

  • Font style refers to specific characteristics of the font. The four characteristics you can define for fonts in Windows NT are italic, bold, bold italic, and roman. (Roman is often referred to as Normal or Regular in font dialog boxes).

  • Font size refers to the vertical point size of a font, where a point is about 1/72 of an inch. Typical sizes for text are 10-point and 12-point.

  • Font effects refers to attributes such as underlining, strikeout, and color that can be applied to text in many applications.

The following terms are also used to describe fonts and typefaces:

  • Spacing can be either fixed or proportional. In a fixed font, such as Courier, every character occupies the same amount of horizontal space, like typewritten characters. In a proportional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, character width varies.

  • Pitch refers to the amount of horizontal space used for each character of fixed-width fonts. This is often specified in characters-per-inch (CPI), where 10-pitch equals 12-point, 12-pitch equals 10-point, and 15-pitch equals 8-point type. (Some fonts use other equivalencies.)

  • Serif and sans serif describe specific characteristics of a typeface. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Courier, have projections that extend from the upper and lower strokes of the letters. Sans serif fonts, such as Arial and MS Sans Serif, do not have serifs.

  • Slant refers to the angle of a font's characters, which can be italic or roman (no slant).

  • Weight refers to the heaviness of the stroke for a specific font, such as Light, Regular, Book, Demi, Bold, Heavy, Black, and Extra Bold.

  • Width refers to whether the standard typeface has been extended or compressed horizontally. The common variations are Condensed, Normal, or Expanded.

  • X-height refers to the vertical height of lowercase characters, such as "a" and "c," and the lower portion of lowercase characters, such as "h" and "k."

About Windows NT Fonts

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Windows NT provides three basic font technologies. The differences between them reflect the way that the glyph (or symbol) for each character is stored in the respective font-resource file.

  • Raster fonts are stored in files as bitmaps and are rendered as an array of dots for display on the screen and printing on paper. Raster fonts cannot be cleanly scaled or rotated.

  • Vector fonts are outline fonts and are rendered from a mathematical model, where each character is defined as a set of lines drawn between points. Vector fonts can be scaled to any size or aspect ratio.

  • TrueType fonts are outline fonts and are rendered from line and curve commands as well as a collection of hints. Windows uses the line and curve commands to define the outline of a character or symbol. Windows uses the hints to adjust the length of the lines and shapes of the curves when scaling or rotating the character. TrueType fonts can be scaled and rotated.

Note Windows NT also supports Adobe Type 1 fonts native on PostScript printers and via conversion to TrueType for screen and non-PostScript devices. However, no Adobe Type 1 fonts are included with Windows NT.

In addition, Windows NT fonts are described according to the output device:

  • Screen fonts are font descriptions that Windows NT uses to represent characters on display devices. (TrueType fonts act as both screen and printer fonts.)

  • Printer fonts are the font descriptions used by the printer to create a font. Windows NT–based applications can use three kinds of printer fonts: device fonts, downloadable soft fonts, and printable screen fonts, as described in "Printer Fonts and Windows NT," later in this chapter.

Because the bitmaps for each glyph in a raster font are designed for a specific resolution of device, raster fonts are generally considered to be device dependent. Vector fonts, on the other hand, are not device dependent, because each glyph is stored as a collection of scalable lines. However, vector fonts are generally drawn more slowly than raster or TrueType fonts. TrueType fonts provide both relatively fast drawing speed and true device independence. By using the hints associated with a glyph, a developer can scale the characters from a TrueType font up or down and still maintain their original shape.

As previously mentioned, the glyphs for a font are stored in a font-resource file. A font-resource file is actually a Windows library that contains only data—no code. For raster and vector fonts, this data is divided into two parts: a header describing the font's metrics and the glyph data. A font-resource file for a raster or vector font is identified by the .fon filename extension.

In 16-bit Windows TrueType fonts had two files for each font: The first file contains a relatively short header and the second contains the actual font data. The first file is identified by a .fot extension and the second is identified by a .ttf extension. Windows NT 4.0 still supports this for backwards compatibility, but doesn't require the .fot file. AddFontResource can be called from applications directly for a .ttf file.

As shown in the following illustration, you can identify the different fonts in Windows NT–based applications by the icons associated with the font name.

The next sections describe raster, vector, TrueType, and Adobe Type 1 fonts. Later sections in this chapter discuss screen fonts and printer fonts used by Windows NT.

Windows NT Raster Fonts

Raster fonts are bitmaps supplied in different sizes for specific video display resolutions. The Windows NT fonts MS Serif, MS Sans Serif, Courier, System, and Terminal are raster fonts.

A raster font file contains data that describes the style and all the characters of a typeface for a specific display device. Windows NT provides several raster font sizes for various display devices. For example, MS Serif comes in point sizes 8, 10, 12, and 14 for video graphics array (VGA) and 8514 display devices.

Windows NT can scale raster fonts, but if you try to scale them too far from their original size or style, they become jagged. Bold, italic, underline, and strikeout styles can also be generated from a standard raster font.

The following table lists the raster fonts included with Windows NT. You can install additional raster font sets. For instructions, see "Installing Fonts" later in this chapter.



Character set




MS Sans Serif



MS Serif









Raster Font Sizes

The raster font sets for different display resolutions are distinguished by a letter suffix on the font name (represented as x in the previous table). To see the files that Windows NT installs for a given display or printer, add the appropriate letter (displayed in the following table) that identifies the resolution of the raster font filename. For example, the resource file for MS Serif fonts for VGA is named Serife.fon.

Font set andoutput device

Horizontal resolution

Vertical resolution

Aspect ratio H:V

E = VGA display

96 dpi

96 dpi


F = 8514 display

120 dpi

120 dpi


Printing Raster Fonts on Your Printer

Raster fonts can be printed if their resolution and aspect ratio are close to what your printer requires. If you do not see raster fonts for your printer in a Fonts dialog box, check your printer's horizontal and vertical resolution, and compare it with the preceding table. If there is a close match, double-click the Fonts icon in Control Panel, and make sure the appropriate font set is installed. If there is no close match, you cannot print the Windows NT raster fonts on your printer.

Some applications, such as Microsoft Excel for Windows and Microsoft Paintbrush, work around this problem by sending documents to the printer in the form of bitmaps. By using bitmaps, the application can ensure that what prints closely matches what you see on the screen. Other applications, such as desktop publishing packages, allow you to choose only printable fonts.

In general, applications are written so that you can choose either displayable fonts or printable fonts. It is up to the developer of the application to decide which type of font you can choose.

You might be able to print raster fonts in a different resolution if the other resolution has an aspect ratio that matches your printer. Some printer drivers cannot print raster fonts, regardless of the aspect ratio.

Substituting Fonts Installed by Windows 3.x

In Windows NT, MS Serif and MS Sans Serif replace the identical raster fonts Tms Rmn and Helv that were installed by Windows 3.0 or earlier versions. Windows NT matches MS Serif to Tms Rmn and MS Sans Serif to Helv using the information stored in the FontSubstitutes key in the Registry:


You will still see the Tms Rmn and Helv typeface names in a Fonts dialog box if, for example, your Hewlett-Packard Printer Control Language (HPPCL) printer uses the Microsoft 1Z font cartridge.

Selecting a Readable Screen Font

The raster font named Small Font was designed for readable screen display of small fonts. For sizes under 6 points, Small Font is a better choice than any TrueType font for screen display, because it's easier to read.

Windows NT Vector Fonts

Vector fonts are sets of lines drawn between points, like a pen plotter drawing a set of characters. Vector fonts can be scaled to virtually any size, but generally they do not look as good as raster fonts in the sizes that raster fonts are specifically designed for.

Vector fonts are stored in Windows NT as collections of Graphical Device Interface (GDI) calls and are time-consuming to generate. But these fonts are useful for plotters and other devices where bitmap characters can't be used. Before TrueType, vector fonts were also used in some applications to create large characters or characters that were rotated or distorted from the baseline.

Some Windows NT–based applications automatically use vector fonts at larger sizes. Some applications allow you to specify at what point size you want to use vector fonts. For example, the Vector Above setting in Adobe PageMaker specifies the point size at which PageMaker will switch to vector fonts.

The Windows NT fonts Roman, Modern, and Script are vector fonts. Although the vector fonts use the ANSI character set, they are marked internally as an OEM character set. These fonts are sometimes referred to as plotter fonts because, unlike most other fonts, they can be used on plotters. For more information about the different character sets, see "Character Sets" later in this chapter.

Note Third-party, non-TrueType scalable font products that were supported by Windows 3.1 are not supported by Windows NT. These products include Adobe Type Manager (ATM), Bitstream Facelift, and Atech Publisher's PowerPak.

TrueType and Windows NT

Windows NT includes support for TrueType, an outline font technology. Instead of being composed of bitmaps (such as raster fonts) or lines (such as vector fonts), TrueType fonts are glyph shapes that are described by their outlines. A glyph outline consists of a series of contours. A simple glyph might have only one contour. More complex glyphs can have two or more contours. Figure 7.1 shows three glyphs with one, two, and three contours respectively.


Figure 8.1 TrueType Glyphs 

Note Windows NT supports all TrueType fonts that are supported by Windows 3.1.

TrueType fonts have many benefits over other kinds of Windows NT fonts:

  • What you see is really what you get, because Windows NT can use the same font for both screen and printer. You don't have to think about whether you have a specific point size for a particular printer or for your display.

  • You can scale and rotate TrueType fonts. TrueType fonts look good in all sizes and on all output devices that Windows NT supports.

  • Your document will look the same when printed on different printers. And any printer that uses a Windows NT Universal driver can print TrueType fonts.

  • Your document will look the same as you move it across platforms. For example, the text you format in Microsoft Word for Windows will look the same if you open the document in Microsoft Word for the Macintosh.

  • Each TrueType typeface requires only a .ttf file to create fonts in all point sizes at all resolutions for all output devices. (Many raster font products include one font size per file. The raster fonts included with Windows NT are included within a single file.)

  • TrueType fonts are integrated with the operating environment. For this reason, all Windows NT–based applications can use TrueType fonts in the same way they use other Windows NT raster fonts.

The TrueType fonts installed with Windows NT are Arial, Courier New, Lucida Console, Times New Roman, Symbol, and Wingdings in regular, bold, bold italic, and italic.

Note Windows NT 4.0 supports and ships on CD a set of Far East TrueType fonts. Users can install to view or print Far East documents and Web pages. The fonts are not installed by default.

How TrueType Works

TrueType fonts are stored as a collection of points and hints that define the character outlines. Hints are algorithms that distort the scaled font outlines to improve how the bitmaps look at specific resolutions and sizes. When a Windows NT application requests a font, TrueType uses the outline and the hints to render a bitmap in the size requested.

For each Windows NT session, the first time you select a TrueType font size, a bitmap is rendered for display or printing. Windows NT stores the rendered bitmaps in a font cache. Each subsequent time the font is used during that Windows NT session, display or printing performance improve.

The Windows NT Universal printer driver, PostScript printer driver, and plotter driver all support TrueType fonts. Any printer that works with these printer drivers will support TrueType fonts automatically. For more information about these printer drivers, see Chapter 7, "Printing."

Using TrueType Fonts in Windows NT–based Applications

TrueType fonts give you a broad range of fonts to use with your application. In many applications, TrueType fonts appear in the Fonts dialog box with a TT logo beside the typeface name. Typefaces that are device fonts have a printer icon beside their names in the list.


With TrueType fonts, you can specify any desired size; you're not limited to a list of raster or vector font sizes.

To make your life easier, you can specify that you want to use only TrueType fonts in the applications on your computer. This will ensure that type styles in your documents will print on any dot-matrix, HPPCL, or PostScript printer and that your documents can easily be moved to other platforms.

To specify that you want to use only TrueType fonts
  1. Double-click the Fonts folder in the Control Panel window to display the Fonts dialog box.

  2. Click Options on the View menu.

  3. Click the TrueType Fonts tab.

  4. Check the Show Only TrueType Fonts In The Programs On My Computer box to add a check mark.

  5. Click OK.

Windows NT does not automatically change fonts in documents that were produced with earlier font technologies. To update old documents to use TrueType fonts, you must update them manually. You might also contact your application vendor to see if there are new utilities available that will assist automatic upgrading of documents to use TrueType fonts.

Note TrueType fonts use a different character spacing (called ABC widths) from the spacing used for raster fonts. Applications that use this spacing will be able to space characters more accurately, especially for bold and italic text. However, because of this change in spacing, text can sometimes be adversely affected in applications written for Windows 3.0 or earlier versions. For example, the end of a highlighted text line might look odd on screen.

Using Adobe Type 1 Fonts

Adobe Type 1 fonts are the font technology native to PostScript printers. Like TrueType fonts, Type 1 fonts contain instructions to generate outlines of characters; the outlines are scaleable and rotatable. Type 1 fonts are a popular font technology in the desktop publishing industry. These fonts are designed to be downloaded to a PostScript printer, which can interpret their instructions and thereby produce hardcopy output. Although you can print Type 1 fonts, you cannot directly view them on screen. For this reason, Adobe created an application called Adobe Type Manager (ATM), which reads Type 1 font files and creates equivalent raster screen fonts for several platforms.

Windows NT supports Type 1 fonts in two ways: It lets you install Type 1 fonts for use on your PostScript printer, and it provides a font converter that achieves the same goal as ATM by reading Type 1 fonts and creating equivalent TrueType fonts for viewing on screen.

The Windows NT 4.0 Type 1 font converter achieves a high level of compatibility with ATM 2.5. If you format a document using Type 1 fonts on a computer running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and ATM 2.5, and then load the same document under Windows NT 4.0 with the same set of Type 1 fonts converted to TrueType fonts, you will see the same character spacing and line breaks and the same output on your printer.

With the Type 1 installation process, you have the following options:

  • Convert Type 1 Font to TrueType If you select this option, Windows NT will read the font outline instructions that make up the Type 1 font, convert them into TrueType, and write this equivalent TrueType font to your hard disk.

  • Install Type 1 Font Files for use on a PostScript printer. If you select this option, Windows NT can send the Type 1 font to a PostScript printer. If you choose this option as well as the option described in the preceding paragraph, Windows NT will use the converted TrueType font for screen display and download the Type 1 font when you print.

  • Copy Type 1 Font Files to Windows Directory. If you choose to install the Type 1 font for use on a PostScript printer, this option lets you copy it to the local computer's \systemroot\SYSTEM directory.

Legal Issues Regarding TrueType Fonts

There are several legal issues to be aware of when converting TrueType fonts:

  • With Windows NT 4.0, you can legally convert Type 1 fonts to TrueType fonts only if the third-party font vendor grants permission.

    Windows NT contains a database of the copyright strings that third-party vendors embed within their fonts. If you try to convert a Type 1 font and the font converter does not find a recognized third-party vendor's copyright string in the font, it warns that you might not have permission to convert this font. You are then advised to contact the third-party vendor to obtain permission to convert the Type 1 font.

    Although none of the third-party vendors that Microsoft contacted refused to allow conversion of their fonts, some vendors did not respond to the request. Those third-party vendors are not listed in the copyright string database, and their fonts will always produce a warning message.

    Note The copyright strings that third-party vendors embed within their fonts were never meant to be machine-readable. For this reason, the copyright strings in different fonts from the same vendor sometimes contain different punctuation marks or extra space characters, and so on. Most of these variations are represented in the copyright string database, but they can sometimes cause the font converter to reject a font, even though the third-party vendor has given its permission to convert it.

  • The converted TrueType font is bound by the copyright restrictions that apply to the original Type 1 font. For example, if your Type 1 license does not permit you to use the Type 1 font on more than one computer at a time, then you are not permitted to use the converted TrueType font on more than one computer at a time.

  • Converted TrueType fonts are only licensed for Windows NT 4.0. It is a copyright violation to copy converted fonts to other platforms, including Windows NT 3.x, Windows 95, or Windows For Workgroups 3.11.

In addition to the legal restrictions, there is a practical reason for not copying converted TrueType fonts to other platforms: Converted fonts are tuned to use features of the Windows NT 4.0 TrueType rasterizer that don't exist on other platforms' TrueType rasterizers. So, using converted fonts on other platforms will produce poor results. This is not a bug; it is an incentive to avoid illegal font copying.

Note All TrueType fonts behave the same way under Windows NT whether they were originally created as TrueType or were converted from Type 1 fonts.

Disk Space, Memory Use, and Speed

Fonts are resource intensive. Windows NT has been tested to load up to several thousand TrueType fonts at once. The more fonts used in a document, the more you can expect performance to be affected.

Installing Fonts

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In Windows NT, fonts can be installed on your system in several ways.

Windows NT installs TrueType fonts and its screen fonts automatically during system installation. When you specify a printer and other options in the Printer Properties dialog box, Windows NT includes information about font cartridges and built-in fonts for your printer.

To install additional TrueType fonts or Adobe Type 1 fonts for Postscript printers

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.

  2. Double-click the Fonts icon.

  3. Click Install New Font on the File menu.

  4. Insert the disk containing the fonts, or locate the fonts on the network.

  5. Select the fonts you want to install, or click Select All.

  6. Click OK.

To install third-party soft fonts on your hard disk

  • Use the utility supplied by the third-party font vendor.

For information about installing font cards or cartidges, see "Font Cartridges" later in this chapter.

Information About Installed Fonts

Information about the fonts installed on your system are kept in the Windows NT Registry. As shown in the following illustration, most of the information about installed fonts is kept in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE
Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Fonts key.


For more information, see "Registry Entries for Fonts" in Chapter 14, "Registry Value Entries."

If you installed Windows NT on a computer that previously had Windows 3.x installed, the Registry will include entries showing you where to find that information previously found in the [Fonts] and [FontSubstitutes] sections of the Win.ini file. For example, to find information that used to be in the [Fonts] section of the Win.ini file, look in the following location in the Registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts

How Windows NT Matches Fonts

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When an application requests characters to print or display, Windows NT must find the appropriate font to use from among the fonts installed on your system. Finding the font can be complex because, for example, your document might contain fonts that aren't available on the current printer, or multiple fonts with the same name might be installed on your system.

To be sure you get the desired characters, see your printer documentation for the character set supported by the printer. Then see the online Help for Character Map for instructions on entering codes from the keyboard for special characters.

The basic rules that Windows NT uses for locating a font are as follows:

  • If the font is a TrueType font, TrueType renders the character, and the result is sent to the display or to the printer.

  • If the font is not a TrueType font, Windows NT uses the font-mapping table to determine the most appropriate device font to use.

When Windows NT uses the font mapping table to match screen fonts to printer fonts, the characteristics used to find the closest match are—in descending order of importance—character set, typeface name, variable versus fixed pitch, family, height, width, weight, slant, underline, and strikeout.

The following table shows which types of Windows NT fonts can be printed on different kinds of printers.






Dot Matrix




















The following table lists the character sets installed with Windows NT.


Font type, spacing, and default sizes

Arial Bold Italic

TrueType, proportional, scalable

Arial Bold

TrueType, proportional, scalable

Arial Italic

TrueType, proportional, scalable


TrueType, proportional, scalable

Courier New Bold Italic

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Courier New Bold

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Courier New Italic

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Courier New

TrueType, fixed, scalable


Raster, fixed, 10,12,15

Lucida Console

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Lucida Console Bold

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Lucida Console Italic

TrueType, fixed, scalable

Lucida Console Bold Italic

TrueTrype, fixed, scalable


Vector, proportional, scalable

MS Sans Serif

Raster, proportional, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24

MS Serif

Raster, proportional, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24


Vector, proportional, scalable


Vector, proportional, scalable


Raster, proportional, 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 7


Raster, proportional, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24


TrueType, proportional, scalable


Raster, proportional, display-dependent size


Raster, fixed, display-dependent size

Times New Roman Bold Italic

TrueType, proportional, scalable

Times New Roman Bold

TrueType, proportional, scalable

Times New Roman Italic

TrueType, proportional, scalable

Times New Roman

TrueType, proportional, scalable


TrueType, proportional, scalable

* OEM character set, rather than ANSI character set 

** Symbol character set, rather than ANSI character set 

You can also use the Windows NT Character Map to select and insert special characters in your document.

When you insert special characters in a document to print, the character you see on the screen might not be correct because it is displayed using the Windows ANSI portion of the Unicode character set and the best matching screen font for the current printer font. However, the printed document will contain the correct character. Conversely, if you type an ANSI character that appears on screen but is not supported in your printer fonts, some other character will be printed instead.

Screen Fonts and Windows NT

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Windows NT uses special raster fonts as the system screen font for menus, window captions, messages, and other text. A set of system, fixed, and OEM terminal fonts is included with Windows NT to match your system's display capabilities (that is, for VGA or 8514 video displays). The default system screen font in Windows NT is System, a proportionally-spaced raster font.

The installed system screen fonts are listed in the following Registry keys:



By default, code page 437 (U.S.) fonts are installed using the Ega40woa.fon, Ega80woa.fon, and Dosapp.fon files. Other screen font files are included for international language support; they are identified by the code page number appended to the filename.

Note Windows NT supplies small and large font variations for several display drivers. The major difference between the small and large font variations is the system font set that the Setup program installs. The VGA-resolution system (small) fonts are VGAOEM, VGAFIX, and VGASYS. The 8514-resolution system (large) fonts are 8514OEM, 8514FIX, and 8514SYS.

Printer Fonts and Windows NT

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A printer font is any font that can be produced on your printer. There are basically three kinds of printer fonts:

  • Device fonts actually reside in the hardware of your printer. They can be built into the printer itself or can be provided by a font cartridge or font card.

  • Printable screen fonts are Windows NT screen fonts that can be translated for output to the printer (including TrueType).

  • Downloadable soft fonts are fonts that reside on your hard disk and are sent to the printer when needed. (Only the characters needed for the particular document are downloaded, not the whole font set.)

Not all printers can use all three types of printer fonts. For example, HPPCL printers cannot print Windows NT screen fonts.

The Windows NT Universal printer driver takes advantage of TrueType fonts and offers other improvements over older dot-matrix and HPPCL printer drivers. The Windows NT Universal printer driver is used instead of specific dot-matrix or HPPCL printer drivers.

Dot-Matrix Printer Fonts

Dot-matrix printers support device fonts and printable screen fonts. Usually, a dot-matrix printer includes only a limited range of internal device fonts. Typically, fixed-spacing fonts are supplied in a variety of characters-per-inch (CPI) sizes and are conventionally named "typeface xxCPI," where typeface is the typeface name and xx is the number of characters per inch. Distinguishing a device font on a dot matrix printer is usually as easy as checking for the CPI designation at the end of the font name, such as Courier 10 CPI.

Through the Universal printer driver, dot-matrix printers can also support TrueType. When you use TrueType fonts on a dot-matrix printer, Windows NT sends a rasterized graphics image to the printer.

Dot-matrix printers do not provide landscape device fonts, but vector and TrueType screen fonts can be printed in any resolution or orientation. Dot-matrix device fonts are faster but less flexible than screen fonts.

Dot-matrix printers are typically distinguished as either 9-pin or 24-pin printers (but not limited to these):

  • 9-pin dot-matrix printers such as the Epson 9-pin and IBM Proprinter series usually print in a 1.67:1 aspect ratio. The Windows NT Epson 9-pin driver supports resolutions of 120x72 (1.67:1 aspect ratio), 120x144 (1:1.2), and 240x144 (1.67:1).

  • 24-pin dot-matrix printers such as the Epson 24-pin and IBM Proprinter 24 series can print in 120x180 resolution (1:1.5 aspect ratio), 180x180 (1:1), and 360x180 (2:1). Some others, such as the NEC 24-pin, provide a 360x360 resolution. The 180x180 resolution is usually best for printing raster screen fonts. In 180x180 resolution, these printers can print 1:1 aspect ratio screen fonts, such as the E set (96x96 dpi) and the F set (120x120 dpi). E set fonts will be available at about 50 percent, and F set fonts at 75 percent of normal point sizes. A true 180x180 dpi screen font set is available by special order from Epson of America.

Some 24-pin dot-matrix printers, such as the Epson and NEC printers, also support font cards or cartridges. You can use these fonts if the Windows NT driver for that printer supports them. To use a font card or cartridge, see "Font Cartridges" later in this chapter.

HPPCL Printer Fonts

Printers that use the Hewlett-Packard Printer Control Language (HPPCL) can print several different types of fonts. HPPCL printers can use font cartridges, downloadable soft fonts, vector screen fonts, and TrueType fonts.

HPPCL printers cannot print Windows NT raster screen fonts.

When you use TrueType fonts on an HPPCL printer, TrueType performs all the font rendering in the computer and downloads bitmaps of the fonts to the printer. (Windows NT downloads these bitmaps only if the printer has enough memory.) TrueType downloads only the specific characters needed in a document, not the entire font.

Note If you use an HP LaserJet-compatible printer, be sure to specify accurately in the printer driver the amount of memory installed in your printer. This is important because the Windows NT HPPCL minidriver tracks the available memory in your printer. You might receive an out-of-printer-memory error or other errors if the memory is specified incorrectly.

Font Cartridges

Hewlett-Packard LaserJet-compatible font cartridges are supplied by numerous manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Pacific Data Products, and IQ Engineering. Some cartridge vendors also produce custom font cartridges to your specifications.

Windows NT treats font cartridges as device fonts because they are always with the printer. Font cartridges can be selected on the Device Settings tab of the Printer Properties dialog box. The HPPCL minidriver available with Windows NT can support all HP font cartridges.

If you want to add a font cartridge that came out after the printer driver was written, you might need a printer cartridge metrics (.pcm) file. A .pcm file tells Windows NT the characteristics of the new font, and you install it the same way as soft fonts. For instructions, see "Downloadable Fonts" later in this chapter. After a .pcm file is installed, a new entry appears on the Device Settings tab of the Printer Properties dialog box.


For new HP cartridges, contact Hewlett-Packard or other cartridge vendor for the appropriate .PCM file.

To use fonts from a card or cartridge
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.

  2. Click the printer to select it.

  3. Click Properties on the File menu.

  4. Click the Device Settings tab.

  5. Click to select Installed Font Cartridges.

  6. Click the card or cartidge to select it.

  7. Click OK.

Downloadable Fonts

You can get HP LaserJet-compatible downloadable soft fonts from a number of sources, including Hewlett-Packard, Bitstream, SoftCraft, and CompuGraphics. Some downloadable font utilities also generate raster screen fonts for Windows NT. If an exact screen font match is not available, Windows NT uses one of its own screen fonts.

To install downloadable soft fonts
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.

  2. Click the printer to select it.

  3. Click Properties on the File menu.

  4. Click the Device Settings tab.

  5. Scroll, if necessary, to display Soft Fonts, and then click it to select it.

  6. Click the Soft Fonts button.

  7. Type the path to the fonts disk, and then click Open.

  8. Click OK in each dialog box.

Font Limitations for Older HPPCL Printers

Some older model HPPCL printers have a limit of 16 fonts per page. If you send a page that contains more than 16 fonts to an HPPCL printer, a warning message appears.

An Error 20 message might appear on the front panel of the HPPCL printer when printing a document that contains soft fonts. This also indicates that you tried to download more fonts than the printer's memory can hold. You can recover from this error by pressing the Continue button on the printer control panel. The soft font that caused the error is not downloaded and will not print.

To avoid this error, reduce the number of fonts that you try to download, or add more memory to your printer. Also make sure you haven't downloaded any permanent soft fonts that are taking up memory in the printer.

Printer Fonts for HP Printers

The TrueType fonts shipped with Windows NT print on all printers. You can add other fonts described in the following sections.

HP LaserJet Printer Fonts

In Windows NT, all HPPCL (LaserJet) printers are supported by the Hppcl.dll or Hppcl5ms.dll minidrivers. Additional LaserJet III scalable outline fonts are available from Hewlett-Packard as cartridges or downloadable soft fonts. With the HPPCL drivers in Windows NT, downloadable outline fonts can be installed with the Font Installer.

HP DeskJet Printer Fonts

The HP DeskJet Printers are ink-jet printers. The Windows NT driver for the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet printer family supports Windows NT vector screen fonts, DeskJet internal fonts, soft fonts, and TrueType. DeskJet printers can print at resolutions of 75, 150, 300, and 600 dpi. Without font cartridges, the DeskJet includes only the built-in Courier and LinePrinter fonts. You can add font cartridges. For instructions, see "Font Cartridges" earlier in this chapter. At this time, font cartridges for DeskJet printers are available only from Hewlett-Packard.

DeskJet soft fonts are installed with the Font Installer. To use downloadable fonts on the DeskJet printers, you must install either HP22707A or HP22707B RAM cartridges. If you install more than one cartridge, be sure to specify the total amount of RAM required when setting printer memory. For more information about setting printer memory, see "Specifying Virtual Printer Memory" later in this chapter.

DeskJet internal, downloadable, and cartridge fonts will not work in landscape orientation. This is a hardware, not a driver, limitation. For landscape mode, print with Windows NT vector screen fonts such as Modern or Roman.

HP PaintJet Printer Fonts

The HP PaintJet is a color ink-jet printer. The Hewlett-Packard PaintJet driver in Windows NT composes a full page at a time in 180x180 dpi resolution and outputs each page to the PaintJet as a large bitmap. This produces the highest possible quality of output but results in large spool files. For improved printing speed, you can select the Print Directly To The Printer option on the Scheduling tab of the Printer Properties dialog box. This option prevents the creation of spool files.

Note Be aware that in the event of a disruption during printing, a spool file enables you to resume printing with no loss of data. Without spooling, you'll need to resend the document to the printer.

The PaintJet driver supports the printing of PaintJet internal fonts, Windows NT raster and vector screen fonts, PaintJet soft fonts, and TrueType. The same considerations apply for printing raster screen fonts on the PaintJet as for using the 24-pin dot matrix printers in 180x180 dpi resolution (see "Dot Matrix Printer Fonts," earlier in this chapter). PaintJet soft fonts are not downloadable fonts. They are used internally by the driver, which places them as necessary into the full-page bitmap during page composition. The font itself is never sent to the printer.

You can install PaintJet soft fonts, which have a .pjf filename extension, the same as downloadable soft fonts. For instructions, see "Downloadable Fonts" earlier in this chapter. Windows NT supports PaintJet soft fonts for Courier 10-CPI and Letter Gothic 12-CPI and 18-CPI. Additional soft fonts can be obtained from Hewlett-Packard. Scalable PaintJet soft fonts are also available from Hewlett-Packard in the HP Color PrintKit.

PostScript Printer Fonts

Adobe Type 1 PostScript fonts are scalable outlines that can be printed at any size. PostScript outline fonts can also be rotated to any angle and can be printed in both portrait and landscape modes. However, font size limits are often imposed by applications. A common PostScript font size limit in an application is 127 points.

Most PostScript printers include either the standard Apple LaserWriter Plus set of 35 scalable fonts or the earlier Apple LaserWriter set of 17 fonts.

Type 1 fonts are installed in the Fonts icon in Control Panel. When you install the font, Windows NT gives you the option of creating an equivalent TrueType font for use as a screen font.

PostScript printers can print Windows NT raster screen fonts, vector screen fonts, TrueType fonts, or Type 1 fonts.

LaserWriter Plus Typefaces

The LaserWriter Plus standard font set includes 11 typefaces, including the following 8, which are available in roman, bold, italic, and bold italic:

  • AvantGarde Gothic

  • Helvetica

  • ITC Bookman

  • Palatino

  • Courier

  • Helvetica Narrow

  • New Century Schoolbook

  • Times

The other three typefaces are Symbol, Zapf Chancery, and Zapf Dingbats. The Symbol typeface contains mathematical and scientific symbols; Zapf Chancery is a calligraphic font; and Zapf Dingbats contains decorative bullet characters and embellishments. These typefaces are available only in roman style.

PostScript Printers and TrueType

TrueType fonts are treated as downloaded fonts by the PostScript driver. When you use TrueType fonts on a PostScript printer, scaling and hints are always performed in the computer. Scan conversion can be done in the computer or in the printer, depending on the point size. At smaller point sizes, TrueType performs scan conversion in the computer; at larger point sizes, scan conversion is done in the printer.

Substituting PostScript Fonts

You can map a TrueType font to a PostScript font by editing the Font Substitution Table. This is helpful to view TrueType as a screen font and to get PostScript for the printout font. This will increase printing speed, but the results on the display might not be exactly the same as the printed output.

Alternatively, you can edit the Font Substitution Table to download TrueType fonts as soft fonts to the printer so that the printed output matches the screen display. In this case, the selected TrueType fonts will be sent to the printer as soft fonts. Repeat these steps until you have selected printer fonts to use in place of all the TrueType fonts in your document.

The changes you make in the Font Substitution Table affect only the fonts that are printed. The fonts that appear on the screen will not change; the original TrueType fonts are still used to display TrueType text in your document.

To edit the Font Substitution Table
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.

  2. Click to select the printer.

  3. Click Properties on the File menu.

  4. Click the Device Settings tab.

  5. Double-click Font Substitution Table.

  6. Click to select the TrueType font from the Font Substitution Table.

  7. Click to select the substitution font, or click Download as Soft Font from the Change Setting list.

  8. Click OK.

PostScript Downloadable Outline Fonts

PostScript printers also accept downloadable outline fonts, which can be scaled to any size and printed in both portrait and landscape orientations. Downloadable PostScript fonts are available from several suppliers, including Adobe, Agfa, Bitstream, and Monotype.

Although PostScript downloadable outlines can be scaled to any size, Windows NT raster screen fonts cannot. If you specify a PostScript font size that does not have a corresponding screen font, Windows NT substitutes another screen font. This results in a little loss in display quality but no loss in print quality.

Specifying Virtual Printer Memory

You can change the amount of virtual memory that your PostScript printer has available for storing fonts. The PostScript driver uses a default setting recommended by the printer manufacturer for virtual memory.

To determine the right value, copy the Testps.txt file (supplied with the Windows NT Resource Kit) to the printer, and use the recommended virtual memory value printed on the resulting page.

To change your PostScript printer's virtual memory
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.

  2. Click to select the printer.

  3. Click Properties on the File menu.

  4. Click the Device Settings tab.

  5. Double-click Available PostScript memory.

  6. Type the value from Testps.txt in the Change Settings box.

  7. Click OK

Embedding Fonts

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Embedding a font is the technique of bundling a document and the fonts it contains into a file for transmission to another computer. Embedding a font guarantees that a font specified in a transmitted file will be present on the computer receiving the file. Not all fonts can be moved from computer to computer, however, because most fonts are licensed to only one computer at a time. In Windows, only TrueType fonts can be embedded.

Applications should embed a font in a document only when requested by a user. An application cannot be distributed along with documents that contain embedded fonts, nor can an application itself contain an embedded font. Whenever an application distributes a font, in any format, the proprietary rights of the owner of the font must be acknowledged.

It might be a violation of a font vendor's proprietary rights or user license agreement to embed fonts where embedding is not permitted or to fail to observe the following guidelines on embedding fonts. A font's license might allow only read-write permission for a font to be installed and used on the destination computer. Or the license might allow read-only permission. Read-only permission allows a document to be viewed and printed (but not modified) by the destination computer; documents with read-only embedded fonts are themselves read-only. Read-only embedded fonts may not be unbundled from the document and installed on the destination computer.

Character Sets

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Most TrueType fonts shipped with Windows NT 4.0 suport multiple Windows character sets used in various countries or regions. Some (such as Europe and the United States) are single-byte sets, and others (such as Asia) are double-byte sets. This enables the Windows NT user to switch language keyboards and type in different alphabets, including Roman, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Far East Asian alphabets. The following is a list of the character sets supported by Windows NT 4.0:






  • GB2312_CHARSET










A character set contains punctuation marks, numerals, uppercase and lowercase letters, and all other printable characters. Each element of a character set is identified by a number.

Most character sets used in Windows are supersets of the U.S. ASCII character set, which defines characters for the 96 numeric values from 32 through 127. There are five major groups of character sets:

  • Windows

  • Unicode

  • OEM (original equipment manufacturer)

  • Symbol

  • Vendor-specific

Windows Character Set

The Windows character set is the most commonly used character set in Windows programming. It is essentially equivalent to the ANSI character set. The blank character is the first character in the Windows character set. It has a hexadecimal value of 0x20 (decimal 32). The last character in the Windows character set has a hexadecimal value of 0xFF (decimal 255).

Many fonts specify a default character. Whenever a request is made for a character that is not in the font, Windows provides this default character. Many fonts using the Windows character set specify the period (.) as the default character. TrueType fonts typically use an open box as the default character.

Fonts use a break character called a quad to separate words and justify text. Most fonts using the Windows character set specify that the blank character will serve as the break character.

Unicode Character Set

The Windows ANSI character uses 8 bits to represent each character; therefore, the maximum number of characters that can be expressed using 8 bits is 256 (2^8). This is usually sufficient for Western languages, including the diacritical marks used in French, German, Spanish, and other languages. However, Eastern languages employ thousands of separate characters which cannot be encoded by using a single-byte coding scheme. With the proliferation of computer commerce, double-byte coding schemes were developed so that characters could be represented in 8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit, or 32-bit sequences. This requires complicated passing algorithms; even so, using different code sets could yield entirely different results on two different computers.

To address the problem of multiple coding schemes, the Unicode standard for data representation was developed. A 16-bit character coding scheme, Unicode can represent 65,536 (2^16) characters, which is enough to include all languages in computer commerce today, as well as punctuation marks, mathematical symbols, and room for future expansion. Unicode establishes a unique code for every character to ensure that character translation is always accurate.

OEM Character Set

The OEM character set is typically used in full-screen MS-DOS sessions for screen display. Characters 32 through 127 are usually the same in the OEM, U.S. ASCII, and Windows character sets. The other characters in the OEM character set (0 through 31 and 128 through 255) correspond to the characters that can be displayed in a full-screen MS-DOS session. These characters are generally different from the Windows characters.

Symbol Character Set

The Symbol character set contains special characters typically used to represent mathematical and scientific formulas.

Vendor-Specific Character Sets

Many printers and other output devices provide fonts based on character sets that differ from the Windows and OEM sets—for example, the Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) character set. To use one of these character sets, the printer driver translates from the Windows character set to the vendor-specific character set.

Questions and Answers About Fonts

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This section answers some common questions about using fonts with Windows NT.

  • I printed the same document with TrueType fonts from two different computers to the same PostScript printer. The two printouts are different. Why?

    TrueType font substitution is different on the two computers. Reconfigure font substitution on one of the computers.

  • My document looks fine on the screen but prints with a different font. Why?

    This can happen for one of two reasons: Either you specified the wrong printer model during setup, or the downloadable font did not download to the print device. Check the General tab of the Printer Properties dialog box to see that the printer driver you are using matches the print device. Then click the Device Settings tab, and check the amount of memory for your printer. Make sure the amount shown accurately reflects the amount of memory for your print device. If there is too little memory, the print device might be unable to download fonts.

  • My document prints OK, but it looks funny on the screen. Why?

    There is no direct displayable equivalent of a device font that you are using.

  • I can't select a font that I know is provided by a cartridge installed in the printer. Why?

    Select the printer in the Printers folder, and then click Properties on the File menu. Click the Device Settings tab to make sure that the printer properties lists the correct cartridge.