OpenType 101

OpenType 101


Do you feel limited in your type options? Do you want more variety than just 94 characters? What if we told you that there are hidden treasures built in your fonts that open the door to new possibilities? With OpenType, you’ll see that those standard letterforms are only the tip of the iceberg.

OpenType is the successor to the TrueType format developed by Microsoft and Adobe. Though both are still in use today, OpenType is the better, more widely used format that allows for extra features to be accessed within a font. These features often make the text look more readable and cohesive.

The way OpenType features are accessed depends on the program you’re using. Some programs like the Adobe Creative Suite offer plenty of OpenType support, while others may offer very little or none at all. For Adobe software, the OpenType features are typically accessed within the Glyphs panel.

Some of the most handy features you might utilize when using OpenType are as follows:

  • Alternates or swashes
  • Ligatures (contextual and discretionary)
  • Numeral styles (oldstyle, lining, fractions, proportional, tabular, subscript and superscript)
  • Small caps


    Of course that’s not all. Many other potential features exist, depending on the font you’re using. There’s often more than meets the eye when it comes to font customization, but you need to know where to look. If this whole OpenType thing is new to you, it’s time to start discovering a new world of customizable typography!



    Updated on October 11, 2018