OTF and TTF are file extensions for fonts used to format documents for screen and physical printing. In fact, OTF was the redesign of TTF. However, TTF remains popular.

Read on to learn the key differences between OTF and TTF and when to choose one over the other.

What is OTF?

The OpenType Font (OTF) is a format for scalable computer fonts. Adobe and Microsoft developed the OTF as a standard for digital fonts. They wanted a font that offered cross-platform compatibility and supported all writing systems worldwide.

OTF combines aspects of basic PostScript and TrueType font formats for complex data structures. It can store up to 65,000 characters, including special characters, letters, numbers, and glyphs. OTF is fully scalable, so it can be customized while maintaining quality. Note that it is supported by Windows 2000 and above and Mac OS X.

What is TTF?

Apple and Microsoft developed TrueType Font (TTF) to compete with Adobe’s Type 1 fonts used in PostScript. They were intended to enable cross-platform functionality. It has long been the most widely used format for fonts on Mac and Windows, and all major browsers support it.

TTF has a single file package consisting of the TrueType file used only for the screen and the PostScript file used for printing. This configuration made installing new fonts easier and served as an early cross-platform font, compatible with most devices. However, the inefficiency led Adobe and Microsoft to create OTF for more file information storage.

TTFs can be scaled down without loss of quality and appear the same on physical prints as they do on screen. TTF is the most widely used font for Mac and Windows.

OTF vs. TTF: The Differences

The main difference between these two fonts is their competencies.

TTF relies solely on glyph tables to define what each character looks like. In comparison, OTF uses glyphs with CCF (Compact Font Format) tables. CCF uses cubic Bezier for fewer points to determine what a character would look like as opposed to the quadratic Bezier splines that TTF uses. Quadratic Bezier splines are mathematically simpler and faster to process than cubic Bezier, but require more points.

If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll probably choose the OTF type because it offers a lot more freedom to manipulate the characters with specialized software like Adobe Illustrator. Fonts of any size can be rendered with high precision and look great on web pages, for example.

OTF files are smaller

Using CCF in OTF can result in significantly smaller file sizes because no special features are used in the font. The substitutes, small caps, ligatures, etc., are contained within the font rather than kept separate. Operating systems can also process OTFs more efficiently.

OFT Smartfont features

OFT adds some smartfont features, in addition to the SFNT structure (a font file containing other fonts) used by TTF, adding additional language support to the fonts. OFT supports advanced typography features.

TFTs are more popular

Despite OTF advantages, especially with CCF, the use of TTF is still very productive. Although it has taken longer than predicted, the number of OTFs is on the rise. This is due to the lack of simplicity in creating TTFs compared to OTFs using CCF.

OTF vs TTF: Similarities

OTF and TTF are ideal for full compatibility between browsers and operating systems. Traditional TTF, Modern TTF, and OTF formats can be used for long-term support with previous Internet browsers, especially mobile browsers.

OTF vs TTF: Which is Better?

OFT is better for print design, and TTF is better for web design or mobile design fonts for desktop and mobile displays.


What is EOT?

EOT stands for Embedded Open Type. Microsoft designed this font for online use and to address copyright shortcomings of OTF and TTF when publishing online. EOT uses a Microsoft tool to create fonts from existing OTF and TTF fonts.

What is WOFF?

Web Open Font Format (WOFF) is an OTF or TTF with compression and metadata that is supported by all major browsers. It was created by Microsoft, Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software to be on the web. The fonts are compressed, which speeds up loading times. The metadata allows for licensing information to be included in the font file to address any copyright issues.

What is SVG?

Scalable Vector Graphics fonts contain glyph outlines like regular SVG elements and attributes as if they were a single vector object in an SVG image. SVG lacks font hints, which are additional information embedded to represent small font sizes with legibility and quality. This font is not great for body text. But it is the only file format compatible with Safari version 4.1 for iOS.

OpenType vs. TrueType

Although OTF and TTF files are similar, they are mainly distinguished by different summary formats. The character outlines in OTFs are made by cubic Bezier paths, while TTFs are made by quadratic Beziers. TTG is better for digital display while OTF is better for printing. However, almost all modern font apps can work with OTF and TTF files.

Which file type is best for your project? Have you experimented with other font file types? Let us know in the comments below.


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