Fonts, what are they and popular font formats

The modern world is always looking to improve on technology, and the advancements and font technology is no exception. The array of font styles eclipses any imagination and thus allows for the adaption of a distinct font to present an assortment of material.

What are fonts?

Fonts are sets of displayable or printable letters, digits or symbols in specific styles and sizes. Typeface depicts the various styles found in fonts which form typeface families. Some features found in each font family (dialogue box) are font styles, font colour, text effects and font character spacing. For example, Times New Roman is a TrueType font. A document with a selected font will be viewed and printed as seen on screen. In the Times New Roman typeface family; font styles, text highlight colour and underline, for example, form a part of many fonts one can select.

Font sizes range from 8 to 72 points with the most preferred font pitch sizes being 10 and 12. There are two types of fonts, namely pitch font and proportional fonts. Pitch font letters have an equal diameter, with proportional fonts being the opposite. In general, choosing the appropriate typeface family and related fonts really depends on the data and preferred appearance one would want to display. The appearance of a page on screen view or print will determine the choices one would make.

There are three computer font file data formats:

  1. Bitmap fonts (Raster fonts)
  2. Outline fonts (Vector fonts)
  3. Stoke fonts

Bitmap fonts

This format consists of pixels or matrix of dots representing the image of glyph or specific shape in each face and size. Raster font is the term used for Bit-map fonts but is not frequently used. A printer identifies the relevant characters saved for the document and subsequently reproduces the matching dots. A variance on the typeface will generate suitable Bitmaps for the content. Bitmap fonts are generally considered to be device dependent.

Advantages of Bitmap fonts are:

  • Exceptionally fast and more straightforward to operate
  • Much simpler to generate
  • Bitmap fonts show exactly the same results when presented on corresponding image or data visuals
  • Maintaining smaller visuals will exhibit optimum results for Bitmap fonts

The poor visual quality of Bitmap fonts is primary a disadvantage, particularly when sizes are enlarged, in comparison to other fonts such as Outline and Stoke fonts. The fonts, however, are nevertheless a standard feature in some computer operating systems. Digital Bitmap fonts may use monochrome fonts or ‘shades of grey’. The Bitmap fonts remain widely used in computer systems, particularly for screen displays.

Outline fonts

Also known as Vector fonts, the character outlines are scalable to any size as the font uses drawing instructions and mathematical formulae to describe each particular shape, known as Bezier curves. In vector structures, each image is interpreted algorithmically. Presented dimensions differ with font styles. Outline fonts are therefore known as scalable fonts as their height and width can be adjusted. Vector fonts are also known as image-oriented fonts, apart from the scalable font phrase. The main advantage they have over Bitmap fonts is that they are favourable when using prime quality image machines. The higher the quality, the more superior vector font appears. There are three formats which are used in online fonts

  • Type 1 and Type 3 fonts – This type was created by the Adobe. The purpose was to use this font for professional digital typesetting.
  • True Type fonts –This was introduced by the Apple Inc. and is very popular with implementations available.
  • Open Type fonts – Designed by Adobe and Microsoft and deemed a smart font system, outstanding and incomparable to any other fonts, redesign visual character presentations to improve the reading experience.

Stroke fonts

This font uses a series specified lines and other information to define the form, shape or size of the line in a specified face. In East Asian markets it is promoted and advertised on a large level. The use on an embedded level is widespread in these markets, the advantage of stroke fonts include reducing the number of vertices required to define a glyph. Met fonts are stroke-font formats.

PS Files

Developed by Adobe, PS files are widely used by publishers for printing purposes. Postscript files (PS files) are images saved in the Postscript page description language and may contain vector graphics, Bitmap graphics or text. Postscript files contain images and text on the same page.  A postscript file is distinguished by its’ .ps’ suffix.


There are so many different types of the fonts, and their popularity is different for various industries and locations. Overall PS files fonts are widely used by publishers for printing purposes. Other have their importance and popularity in various industries.

Our PS Converter supports conversion of PS files into various other formats, for example, you can use it to convert a PS file to BMP.

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