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But, downloads usually include fonts in two different formats: OpenType (OTF) and TrueType (TTF).
What is the difference between OpenType fonts and TrueType fonts? Let’s look at it today.
Table of Contents
What are OpenType Fonts (.otf)?
OpenType fonts end with an .otf extension. Opentype fonts were created in the 1990’s by Adobe and Microsoft. Opentype fonts extend the amount of characters available (each font can hold up to 65,000!), and supports additional features like ligatures, small caps, alternate characters, swashes, and more.
What are TrueType Fonts (.ttf)?
TrueType fonts end in a .ttf extension. TrueType fonts were created in the 1980’s by Apple and Microsoft, as a solution to fonts that would work universally between the two different operating systems and with most printers.
OpenType Font Features
OpenType Fonts have a number of features that TrueType fonts do not have.
Ligatures are two or more letters that are connected.
The graphic below shows several examples of ligatures. Note the connected letters H and E in THE, bb in bubble, and ll in swell.
All letters are rendered in capital letters, with intentional capital letters appearing larger than the rest.
This example shows text written in small caps. You’ll notice that the entire font renders in capital letters that are the size of lowercase letters with a larger first character capitalized.
Swashes are leading and trailing decorative elements.
The example below shows several examples of swashes at the beginning and end of words.
Alternates are more than one style of a letter are available in the font. Some alternates are swashes.
In this example, the top word is written in a font. The word below it is written using alternate characters in the same font.
Should You Download OpenType or TrueType Fonts?
When given the choice between OpenType and TrueType fonts, I always download the OpenType version. Downloading the OpenType font gives me more design choices.
What are PUA Encoded Fonts?
PUA stands for Private Use Areas. When a font is PUA encoded, it means you can access special characters such as alternates and swashes in programs such as Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space.
As a crafter, you will want to choose fonts that are PUA encoded.
Need help installing fonts on your computer? I’ve got a step-by-step tutorial to install fonts.
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.