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OpenType is the advanced cross-platform font format which offers support for multiple languages and feature-rich typography.

What is OpenType?

OpenType is the new way of offering fonts for sale, intended to make it much simpler to choose which format to buy. Deciding which “font format” to buy will become a thing of the past — just like you expect a JPEG image file to work on all systems, you will simply purchase an “OpenType” font, confident that it will work on your computer.

More excitingly, OpenType uses two technologies that make fonts much more powerful.

The first technology is Unicode, which allows coverage of multiple languages, even Asian languages, in a single font: no more swapping to the “CE version” if you need to set a name in Czech or to a Cyrillic font to set a phrase in Russian. See the OpenType: multiple languages section for more.
Advanced typography
The second technology is to allow advanced typography in the form of automatic enhancements to character shapes, and more typographic options. See the OpenType: advanced typography section for more.

OpenType is one cross-platform format.

With both of these major enhancements, “plain text” coding is preserved. This means you can copy text between applications, switch to another font later, use a spell-checker, and search — these tasks are all difficult with older font technology when you move beyond the basic standard character set.

However, we are currently in a period of transition, which means that you need to check your computer and applications before knowing that OpenType fonts will work for you. During this transition, you will also need to be aware of the “flavor” of OpenType font you are considering buying — see OpenType flavors for more. The other important consideration is the varying levels of support — from applications and operating systems — see OpenType support in systems and applications.

Note that OpenType fonts do not necessarily contain more characters or more features than standard fonts. Check before buying!

Please also refer to our International section for more information regarding OpenType fonts with multilingual support and advanced typography.

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