TrueType Typography
TrueType Glossary - F

N.B. An asterisk before a word means it has its own entry in the glossary.

A utility for testing TrueType *hints, free from Microsoft's TrueType tools page. It executes the hint programs of all characters at a range of *ppem sizes determined by the user, reporting any errors.

A bad old format for *bitmap screen fonts, still used in Windows for compatibility purposes. Its major limitation is the inability to contain any character parts extending beyond its metrics (e.g. most italic f glyphs); nearly all fonts contain some of these glyphs. Such characters must endure the ignominy of clipping or repositioning.
    An FNT file contains only a single bitmap *strike of a font. Several FNT files can be compiled into a single *FON file.

FOG files
The *Fontographer database format.

This was a customized edition of *Fontographer, available only to luminaries of the type world rather than the general public. As its name suggests, it deals with TrueType's *quadratic curves - the first such program that designers could feel at home with. Pronounce with care.
    The source code of FOG-Q is the basis of *Robofog.

An old bitmap font format still used by Windows, containing several *strikes of a typeface. Normally FON files are compiled from a number of *FNT files; they have the same tiresome limitations.

I expect you're looking for a clear definition of "font" as opposed to *"typeface". Unfortunately, there isn't one.

font program
An optional program in a TrueType font, run by the TrueType *rasterizer when the font is first used in a session. It defines the *functions that can be called from the *preprogram and *glyph programs. The font program is the *'fpgm' table in the TrueType font file.

An excellent font creation program for Windows (the Mac version has been "coming soon" for several years). Although its interface is criticized by some as fiddly to use, it is very powerful. One can edit curves in *cubic or *quadratic modes, meaning that TrueType curves can at last be edited with total accuracy. One can draw with a "solid" pen. There's a splendid *multiple master interface. And one can hint TrueType fonts! The full complexity of the TrueType language is hidden from the user, meaning that its power is slightly restrained, but you get the crucial TrueType advantage of previewing the bitmaps produced by your font.
    There's an official FontLab website.

FontMonger [Ares]
A simple font editing tool, used mainly as a conversion utility between Type 1 and TrueType but also capable of *glyph editing. Written by those same Ares folks who gave us the excellent FontStudio and the amazing FontChameleon, its autohinting wasn't bad at all - usually better than *Fontographer. It has not been marketed for several years.

Fontographer [Macromedia, via Altsys]
A popular Type 1 font editing program for Mac and Windows, used by amateurs and professionals alike.
    Although hundreds of excellent typefaces have been created with it, it's unsuitable for generating high quality screen type. It can generate TrueType fonts, but these are *auto-hinted fonts which can be greatly improved with a dedicated TrueType hinting system.
    Macromedia, who have owned the program since taking over Altsys (the original developers of both Fontographer and FreeHand), maintain an official Fontographer website. Rumours of a version 5.0 come and go. Probably they will wait until OpenType settles down before they release a new version. They may also want to check how successful the *RoboFog project is... currently all RoboFog customers must have a valid licence to Fontographer 4.0.

FontStudio [Letraset]
Among the cognoscenti this is probably the favourite type design tool. Only ever released on the Macintosh, it had an excellent interface making intelligent use of colour and the keyboard. Not available since around 1995.

A small file automatically made by Windows 3.1 when installing a TrueType font. Seemingly unnecessary, it simply points to the *.TTF TrueType file. It's a relic of the way even older versions of Windows handled fonts.

'fpgm' table
The part of a TrueType font file where the *font program is stored. See Apple's spec or Microsoft's spec for the format in detail.

freedom vector
The vector F along which all movement of points takes place in TrueType hinting *instructions. It can be set to any angle. Contrast with the *projection vector P along which distances are measured. P and F are part of the *graphics state.
    Although much TrueType programming keeps P and F identical, they can be set differently for powerful control over diagonal features.

A TrueType font *rasterizer developed independently of Apple and Microsoft - by David Turner, Robert Wilhelm and Werner Lemberg. It's written in platform-independent C and therefore can be compiled for more or less any device. And it's free, with only a few minor restrictions on its use. There's a FreeType website and a mailing list.

Functions (also known as subroutines and procedures) are chunks of code - parts of programs - which can be called from another part of the program. Generally, functions greatly enhance the space-efficiency and maintainability of computer programs.
    In TrueType, functions are defined in the *'fpgm' and *'prep' tables. They are introduced by the FDEF instruction and terminated with ENDF - whereupon program execution resumes immediately after the CALL instruction that passed control to the function.

The units with which glyph *outlines and *CVT values are defined. Control points are not allowed to have fractional FUnit values. The length of 1 FUnit at a particular *ppem depends on the font's value for *units per em.

'fvar' table
The table in a GX font which describes how a font distorts under the control of *design axes. The table is present in both TrueType GX *variations fonts and *multiple master fonts adapted for use on GX. See Apple's spec for the format in detail.

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