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If you collaborate across platforms or you work on multiple platforms yourself, most of the kinks have been ironed out between the platforms, with the exception of fonts. Font formats can still become an issue. For example, windows can't directly read Mac PostScript or TrueType fonts, although Macs can read PC TrueType fonts, but it's kind of a hassle to activate them. As the most modern font format, OpenType offers the most flexibility. It's completely cross-platform. That is the same font file can be used both on a PC and a Mac, as long as you comply with font licensing. Now, that alone would be pretty cool.
But the appeal of OpenType fonts lies in their expanded character set. An OpenType font can contain more than 65,000 characters. Why would you ever need so many characters? Well, for multiple language publishing, which was one of the main inspirations for the creation of the OpenType format. Myriad Pro, for example, includes Central European diacriticals and Greek characters and even more. And it goes beyond that, Caslon Pro includes some ornaments and many OpenType fonts include special features, such as swash characters and discretionary ligatures.
In the past, when we were using PostScript or TrueType fonts, we had to have separate font files for each one of those special features. Now that we can have so many characters within a font, we can have them all in one font. So let's take a look at some of the options. If I select all of this text, usually Ligatures are on by default, but I've turned them off just so I can show you something. Look at the ffl in Baffling, and when I choose that, it makes such a nice little combination. That ffl is actually a special little character within this OpenType font.
It's very nicely created. There is also something else called Discretionary Ligatures, but before I apply that I want you to look at that list of features. All of these features could be in an OpenType font. Now, not all OpenType fonts will have all of the features. Those features for this font that are displayed in brackets are not available for this font. I want you to watch the S and the T in Questions when I choose Discretionary Ligatures. That's not what you think of when you think of a ligature is it? You think of fl or fi or ffl, you wouldn't think about having a ligature between an S and a T. But the designers of this font thought that would be a neat idea, and because OpenType supports it, they got to do it.
Now, Fractions and Ordinals, some OpenType fonts support what are called Arbitrary Fractions. If I select this 1, the slash and the 2, and I choose OpenType and Fractions, if that's available for this font. Well, there you go. That's not a lot of work. I am going to select all of this text and choose OpenType and Fractions, pretty good, but the 11/16 doesn't look so great, so I'd have to work on that a little bit. So in some fonts this works very well, in some fonts maybe not so well.
Let's see what happens when I change the font. I am using Adobe Garamond Pro, if I try Myriad Pro, that's not bad. So you'll find that Myriad Pro is pretty good, no matter what your numbers are. So I'm going to try one more time and see if I get a decent fraction here. Again, if they're not perfect in the font that you have your heart set on, it's still not as much work as we had to apply in the past to make fractions. Also, some OpenType fonts support Ordinals. So here if I choose OpenType and Ordinals, that's available for this font, think how much work that saved you. Isn't that neat? So that's the beauty of OpenType fonts, and that's why 65,000 characters, well, that's a great playground.
One of the original inspirations for creating OpenType fonts was to provide us with the ability to use Multilingual Characters. So here, this is all Myriad Pro and these are characters that are in that one font. I don't have to go to different fonts to pick up these special characters. This is another font that's an OpenType Font, it's Kozuka Mincho Pro, it's an OpenType Font, and it has support for Asian characters, in this case for Japanese characters. Let's take a look at this OpenType font, and let's see what all is in it. If I go to Type > Glyphs--now Glyphs is just a letter form, just a character.
Let's look at all those 65,000 Glyphs in Myriad Pro. So as I scroll down, there you can see some of those little clumps of ligatures. See, they're preset little pieces that substitute for the ffl or in this case the ffj, fi, whatever, when you choose that OpenType ligature option. Now you start to see letters with diacriticals, and as I keep on going, eventually you're going to see Greek characters, you're going to see Cyrillic characters and so on. So that's what those 65,000 slots are for, if you will, it's to accommodate all those Multilingual Characters.
And there are other characters that are supported as well. Here in Adobe Caslon Pro, look, there are a bunch of little interesting looking guys here. If I choose under the Show Menu to Show not the Entire Font, but just the Ornaments, look at all these cute little Ornaments, and they're part of the Caslon Pro font. You don't have to choose a dingbat font to get all these cute little decorations. They're actually built right into the font. Many OpenType fonts have things like discretionary ligatures and swash characters and so forth, but keep in mind that not all of them have these special features, but I would encourage you when you buy fonts these days, please invest in OpenType fonts, because they're cross-platform, they're more modern format, and look at all the fun you can have with them.
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