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Default Leading in Applications

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:09 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
I could still find no solution to my earlier question. Anyone know how to use this Windows parameters? Changing type linegap seems to make no difference. I am testing my font in Serif Page Plus 8.05 in Windows ME, or in WordPad.

How do I adjust the following parameters to ensure that the default leading of my fonts is exactly 12 points at 10 point font size?

The following values give a default leading of 11.57 points at 10 points
  • Units / em = 2048
  • TypoAscender = 1491
  • TypoDescender = -431
  • TypoLineGap = 307
  • WinAscent = 1854
  • WinDescent = 500
Increasing the TypoLineGap to 536 to give a theoretical default line spacing of 12 points (1491+431+536=2458 ) makes no difference (Why not?)

In the old days in PageMaker a 10 point font was set with 2 points of leading (120%) by default, which is a good legible standard for body text. 10 points = 2048 units, x 1.2 gives 2457.6 or 2458 units.

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:23 pm
by Erwin Denissen
In Format->Tables you might have to remove the VDMX table. If Windows does not locate this table in a font, it will calculate those values itself. This will take some extra milliseconds the first time it is loaded into the rasterizer. I don't think we should worry about that.

To regenerate this table you could use a utility from Microsoft called CacheTT, located at:

CacheTT is a utility to enable the modification of TrueType and TrueType Open files. Modifications include creation/ modification of one or more of the tables VDMX, hdmx and LTSH by calculating and caching values obtained from the Rasterizer. The resulting font is a complete and correct font.

VDMX Table

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:35 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
I tried using CACHETT.EXE with a couple of fonts. It threw up an error until I set Font header flag 4 (Instructions may alter advance width). Then it completed without any errors, but the new fonts showed no vdmx table in the list of tables. Nor did the original fonts, nor for that matter did Arial or Times New Roman have this table, though they had a few other extra ones.

Edit I discovered the option to remove VDMX tables, which seems to be the default. I have unchecked it, and will try once more with CacheTT.exe

There was no change at all to the default line spacing in either the new or old font, after setting typolinegap to 536. The default line spacing is still about 11.6 instead of 12 for a 10 point font. I measured the spacing very precisely for ten lines of paragraph text in Serif Page Plus using horizontal guidelines.

The difference between 11.56 and 12 is not so much that anyone would notice, and one can always work around it by using a multiple line spacing of 1.04, so I can live with it, but it used to be so easy to calculate and adjust the line spacing in PageMaker. Perhaps PageMaker was controlling the line spacing itself, and not leaving it to Windows.

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 7:51 am
by Chris Eilers
It seems likely that leading ( = line spacing) is totally dependent on the program (and/or the printer and/or the printer driver, as far as printed text is concerned), rather than being dependent on the font or on the operating system (other than the fact that the operating system has to enable the program to specify leading in the first place).

I just set up the vertical ruler in PageMaker to Picas (with 12 Points to the Pica), and placed guidelines at 15-Point intervals. I then tested a wide range of fonts -- all of which I specified as having 15 Point leading -- against the guidelines, and their leading matched the guidelines precisely. Amongst the fonts were ones that I had created in Font Creator.

In case it is of interest, here are the leading features of PageMaker and Word:
1) In PageMaker 7.0, autoleading is set by default at 120% of the font size. This percentage can be changed by the user. Also, the leading in PageMaker can be set at 0.1 Point increments for selected text, or set at 0.1 Point increments in any of the Styles.
2) In Word 2000, autoleading appears to be set by default at 115% of the font size, and is referred to in the Paragraph menu as Single line spacing. There doesn’t appear to be any way to change this autoleading percentage. Word also allows a variety of leading options under the Line spacing drop-down menu: “Single”, “1.5 lines”, “Double”, “At least”, “Exactly” and “Multiple”. If “Exactly” is specified, the leading in Word can be set at 0.01 Point increments for selected text, or set at 0.01 Point increments in any of the Styles. (However, font size can only be specified in 0.5 increments in Word, whereas it can be specified in 0.1 increments in PageMaker. Word is a strange program.)

There appears to be an exact conformance between the leading specifications in PageMaker and the leading specifications in Word, i.e. a page set in 10 Point text at 15.1 Point leading printed off identically in both PageMaker and Word as far as leading length was concerned.

Also, measurements specified on screen in PageMaker print out exactly as specified on my printer, i.e. a line specified as 200 mm in length in PageMaker prints out at exactly 200 mm in length by the ruler. If my memory is correct, the same has always been the case in PageMaker through different versions of the program installed on different operating systems and using different printers.

Consequently, it seems possible that the problems you are having might relate to the program Serif Page Plus.

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:44 am
by Bhikkhu Pesala
I did a simple test in Wordpad, printing out paragraphs in different fonts. Below are the measurements in millimetres of ten lines of text. Not very accurate &#177 1 millimetre at best.
  1. Times New Roman = 40 mm
  2. Times New Roman Italic = 40 mm
  3. Sanskrit Garland = 40 mm
  4. Sanskrit Garland Italic = 40 mm
  5. Book Antiqua = 43 mm
40 mm x 72 (points) / 25.4 (inches) / 10 (lines) gives a value of about 11.34 points for 10 point text - 43 mm equates to 12.19 points for Book Antiqua. For Times New Roman that equates pretty well to your default leading of 115% in Word. Book Antiqua and Garland look more comfortably spaced than Times New Roman.

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:26 am
by Chris Eilers
I got the same results that you did in Wordpad on my system, and also in Word on my system (with Single line spacing specified), though not in PageMaker (with Autoleading specified). As with my previous test, PageMaker retained the precise 120% relationship between the specified font size and its leading, irrespective of the particular font.

Obviously Word (and Wordpad) doesn’t have a fixed percentage figure for all fonts for its autoleading. In my previous test, I tried Word with only one font, and with that one font the precise 115% relationship between font size and leading was retained at widely different font sizes. So presumably Word does function on a fixed percentage relationship between font size and leading for any given font when single line spacing is specified, but it is equally clear that the particular percentage figure varies according to the particular font, which presumably means that Word/Wordpad is checking something out in the font file in order to figure out how to space it. Which takes us back to your original question. Sorry to add confusion rather than clarity! :? Of course, the moral of the story is to always use PageMaker, and then you will get precisely the result you expect from every command, and there is absolutely no artificial intelligence to have to figure out. However, I do realise that morals don’t always work out well in the real world. :)

Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:39 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
I just checked the price of PageMaker 7 for Windows at Simply Computers: £475 :roll: Serif Page Plus 8 cost me £16 on special offer upgrade from version 5 that came free on a magazine CD.

I have PageMaker Classic (ver 4), which only cost about £50 nine years ago, but it is seriously outdated now. Nevertheless, it doesn't have any problem controlling line spacing accurately.

It really surprises me that Word and Wordpad space different fonts differently. Twelve points has little meaning if one has to use a font size of 10.434782608695652173913043478261 points to get 12 point line spacing (6 lines per inch).

Fixed line heights can be difficult to work with, but that is often the only practical way to make text fit a grid, when mixing different point sizes for headings and subheadings with body text.

Anyway, I suppose this is the wrong forum as the problem seems to lie with paritcular Windows Applications rather than the fonts themselves.