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The Difference Between OTF and TTF Fonts March 18, 2011

Maybe many of you have known everything about these two formats but I’m sure that sometimes rookies are confused by these two smart acronyms. Here is a brief history of them for you. Initially True Type format was the first outline font standard developed by Apple in the 1980’s and without a doubt has caused a new era in computer fonts sphere. TTF has offered a sort of font performance and high controlling opportunities that were unbelievable for that time. Actually you were able to control how every pixel of the font on computer will be displayed. This technology was fully supported by Mac OS and Microsoft’s Windows and has gained huge popularity among web designers. The Open Type Font was TTF’s successor and it was build using basic structure of its predecessor. Microsoft along with Adobe Systems has announced the release of this technology in 1996 and OTF was meant to replace the TTF.



Despite the major success of TTF such industry giants as Microsoft and Adobe couldn’t agree with Apple’s copyright for this invention and as their solution they have decided to improve Apple’s offspring. So, basically you won’t find many differences in these two formats because these are based on one method of displaying outline fonts – that is the usage of glyph tables. Now let’s get to the point – the major difference between these two formats is about their capabilities. TTF uses glyphs tables to control the fonts. These tables are using line segments and quadratic B├ęzier curves to outline font elements. OTF improvement contains usage of CCF (Compact Font Format) tables along with traditional glyph tables. Also few smartfont options have been added to the OTF format which allows improving typography and language support capabilities.

Current Situation


Well as we can see TTF fonts still weren’t beaten by the OTF, there are tons of them out there and there is a particular reason for that – True Type fonts are much easier to be made than Open Type ones. Of course the recent trends show us that Open Type fonts have more fans and maybe soon the majority of web developers and designers will cut off TTF at all, but for now we can only state the fact that these two formats are making our lives easier even by competing each other as two similar products.

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