OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:00 am

Palatino LinoType is an OpenType font with some nice additional features like Small Caps, Old Style Figures, and Nut Fractions. However, I don't have any programs that support these features.

I know that InDesign does support them, but which versions of Word or other programs do support them?

It seems rather pointless adding OpenType features to fonts if so few programs can use them. It might be wiser to use the Private Use Area or create font families like Garava, which includes Small Caps variants.
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:43 am

The last page of this document shows what Adobe software (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop) has what OpenType Layout (OTL) feature support.
http://www.adobe.com/type/browser/pdfs/OTGuide.pdf

Here is a discussion about Microsoft Office and OTL support.
http://typophile.com/node/4895
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It seems rather pointless adding OpenType features to fonts if so few programs can use them. It might be wiser to use the Private Use Area or create font families like Garava, which includes Small Caps variants.
I suggest you post your concerns at the typophile.com forums and keep us informed.
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:08 pm

I wonder how this affects your plans for Font Creator?

Again, not a lot of point working to add OpenType feature support to FontCreator unless more applications support them.

My work around using the Private Use Area can be done with the current version of FontCreator and will work even in Wordpad, though I have to agree that it is not ideal because special glyphs have to be manually selected and will be .notdef glyphs if used with other fonts.
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:00 pm

I can't give specific details on future plans. As you already know you can use Microsoft VOLT to add OTL to your fonts.
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:13 am

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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:21 am

The list is a short one:

Microsoft Word
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Quark XPress
Macromedia Freehand
Corel Draw
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:05 am

The OpenType specification was first released in April 1997, now almost a decade ago! So it is obvious the adoption by font developers, application software and operating systems takes a long time. The last couple of years most major font developers have been very busy with converting PostScript Type 1 fonts to OpenType, adding OpenType layout features to existing TrueType fonts and designing new fonts based on OpenType font technology. One thing that seems to slow things down, is the fact there is no simple guideline about what OpenType features should be included and the specifications are not always clear about how to implement those features. Of course the decision about what features to include heavily depends on what language(s) the font should support. Nowadays more and more font vendors seems to categorize and promote their OpenType fonts as OpenType Pro fonts. They do this to differentiate between OpenType fonts without advanced layout features. OpenType Pro fonts usually contain an extensive character sets and support several typography and layout features like: small capitals, old style figures, fractions, superiors, inferiors, (automatic) ligatures, swash and alternate characters.

Here is a list of several companies that add the word "Pro" to their advanced OpenType fonts:
http://www.adobe.com/
http://www.linotype.com/
http://www.p22.com/
http://www.ascendercorp.com/
http://www.dtptypes.com/
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:06 am

William wrote:Yet I cannot test the font as to whether it can be used in an automated ligature producing manner using InDesign as I have not got access to InDesign, so I do not know whether the font works properly or not in regard to automatic ligature substitution within InDesign.
Which only goes to illustrate the reason for starting this thread. Is there really any point in spending time developing fonts with OpenType features, while there is still very limited support for them? I have downloaded VOLT, but haven't had time to learn how to use it yet — since I don't have any applications that support OpenType features, there is little point adding them. Maybe after one or two years, it will be worth adding OpenType feature support to FontCreator, but at the moment it doesn't seem worth it.

It would be more useful to add Bitmap font support, or Automatic Hinting.
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:34 pm

You might be interested in downloading the free trial.
http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/
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Re: OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?

Post by William » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:57 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:One more program will now supports OpenType features — Serif™ PagePlus.

PagePlus X5 has been launched.

http://www.serif.com/

There is a pdf manual.

Pages 126 through to 129 are about OpenType fonts.

http://www.serif.com/community/pdfs/pageplusx5-uk.pdf

William Overington

18 October 2010

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Re: OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:26 am

PagePlus X7 was recently launched, so PagePlus X6 is now available at a reduced price. There is no change in the level of OpenType Feature support since PagePlus X5.

Since FontCreator 7 now supports adding OpenType Features and Automatic Hinting, a lot has changed since this thread was started. It is also easy to export fonts in the Web Open Font Format (WOFF), which also support OpenType features. Firefox supports many of these features.

I sent some feedback to Monotype Imaging regarding their web page on Levels of OpenType Support in Specific Applications. Their list is out of date, and I am sure there are now several other applications that could be added to their list. The link is now unavailable.

This link at I Love Typography currently works, but the list is incomplete.
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