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Developing fonts>Specifications

Font delivery specification

1. Overview

The purpose of this document is to define the Microsoft Typography requirements and expectations of all deliverables.

2. Delivery Types

There are 3 types of font file deliveries:

  1. Evaluation delivery (alpha) : provided to evaluate the outline, design or vendor quality. This type of delivery is only used when a vendor has not worked with Microsoft before or the typeface is new and unknown to Microsoft.
  2. Beta release candidate : a delivery of partially completed data. Usually provided for the requirements of a Microsoft product's production cycle.
  3. Final release candidate : the most common delivery, the vendor has completed all hinting, table and quality auditing/proofing and considers this delivery to be a shippable font file.

NOTE: The first delivery of any font is version 0.70.
It should be marked as such in the version string of the 'name' table. Each successive delivery is increased by one.

Example:
First delivery, Evaluation delivery = Version 0.70
Second delivery, Beta release candidate = Version 0.71
Third delivery, Final release candidate = Version 0.72
First delivery, Final release candidate = Version 0.70
Second delivery, with corrections = Version 0.71

2.1. Evaluation delivery (alpha)

With most of Microsoft's font vendors, this evaluation stage is to verify the correctness of the design and final (TrueType) outline quality. With vendors that have proven to Microsoft that they deliver high quality outlines and have a solid quality audit process, this delivery should not be necessary.

2.1.1 New fonts

All new font design requirements should conform to the Microsoft Character Design Standards.

A quality audit should be performed by the vendor to verify the font is free of errors in shape, rendering at higher resolution, and all characters defined in the project's delivery contract are present.

The vendor should use printed proofs that show all characters at a large size (72 point and above) and high resolution (600 dpi or above) for checking each glyph, including the placement of diacritics over base glyphs. A test of each glyph's outline, spaced between control characters at a comfortable size dependent on the resolution. At 600 dpi, 14 point and 24 point size should be sufficient for character spacing checks. These proofs should be checked for errors.

As a part of the test, composite character metrics should be checked to insure they are on the same metrics as like characters. This test could be performed programmatically or done visually by placing ten continuous characters in a line between vertical bars.

|AAAAAAAAAA|
|電電電電電|

Errors include: incorrect character design, bad marking with visual rough areas, dents or flat areas that should be smooth and straight stems that aren't exactly straight, horizontal spacing problems, and diacritic placement problems.

2.1.2. Updates to released fonts

Fonts that have been previously delivered to Microsoft are considered the Master font file source for any future release.

This Master file includes the Quadratic B-Spline TrueType outlines and all TrueType font file tables. No changes should be made to these outlines or tables unless it has been decided a correction to the Master data is needed. These corrections include corrections to technical data, corrects to outline design or outline markings and updates to compensate for changes in design criteria, tastes or style.

2.2. Beta release candidate

This delivery should be a functional font, free of problems that will cause the font to not perform. This delivery should have been checked and pass all items in section 2.1 for an Evaluation Delivery.

In addition the font should pass the following tests:

2.2.1. Flint:

Flint is a Windows application that checks the font's hinting data and rasterization.

2.2.2. Word formatting test:

This test is a Microsoft Word document [MSWSmoke.doc - 45.5KB] used to quickly and visually identify any behaviours that may indicate a font bug. It uses Word's text formatting menu items and shows how the values from the 'OS/2' table will appear and how the font works as a typeface family.

The document includes:

  • 10, 14, and 24 point sizes of the characters in the example below
  • Sample of 'regular, bold, italic, bold italic, underline, strikeout, small cap, all caps'
  • Sample showing 'superscript, subscript'
  • Horizontal text alignments 'centered, right justified and justified'

2.3. Final release candidate

This delivery is what the vendor considers a bug free, shippable and fully finished font file.

2.3.1. Design and outline tests and outline QA complete

The font has been evaluated by the same quality audit tests as described in section 2.1 Evaluation delivery and section 2.2 Beta release candidate.

2.3.2. Font hinting production complete

The font conforms to the Microsoft hinting and production guidelines. All glyphs have been coded to show the best image at all screen and printer sizes and resolutions.

2.3.3. Vendor quality audit/proofing

The vendor is responsible for insuring when the font hinting production is complete and that a formal quality audit is performed by an individual or QA team to verify its completeness. This person or QA team is comprised of members that are not responsible for the hinted final font or fonts.

This requirement is essential for proper and objective validation of the font file. Having a font proofed by the person who hinted the font would be like asking a cook if the food is any good. You won't get an objective answer.

2.3.4. Font properties complete:

Using the Font Properties Editor, all fields should be edited and checked.

The fields are:

  • Language Auto Localize
    NOTE: all languages should be selected for any delivery even if the language is not covered in the font's glyph support.
  • Font Name.
  • Designer and Internet Link (if available).
  • Type Foundry and Internet Link (if available).
  • Copyright.
  • Trademark.
  • Font description.
  • License and Internet Link (if available).
  • Embedding setting.
  • Vendor ID.
  • Optimized name table size (optional)
    NOTE: some tools such as Ingredients may have problems reading optimized name tables.

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3. Release Feedback Reports

Once a font is completed and delivered, Microsoft will provide the vendor one of three types of feedback reports: Release Report, Itemized Minor Bug Report, or Rejected Delivery General Report.

3.1. Release Report

The font is complete and has passed all technical and esthetic tests.

Once the font has been released, the font vendor will be notified of its release. A request will be made to the font vendor to supply the source file to accompany the final delivered binary font file.

3.2. Itemized Minor Bug Report

This is a numeric bug report of minor technical and aesthetic problems that Microsoft has found during a review of the Final release candidate delivery. These items must be corrected before the font file can be released.

Microsoft will review a Final release candidate delivery and create itemized bug reports for fonts that contain individual minor bugs up to ~5% of the total glyph count (which would be 15 minor bugs in a font of 300 glyphs). We consider 5% to be the acceptable maximum number of minor bugs in a delivery. Once we reach this bug count in our review cycle, we no longer can accept this delivery as a final releasable font file, or one with minor bugs warranting an itemized bug report. The font is then considered not a finished font file and is given a Rejected Delivery General Report (see section 3.3).

Sample report:

Itemized minor bug report for :
MyFont Sans and MyFont Sans Italic

Font Name:
MyFont Sans

General comment:

Glyph specific items :
1) glyph 123 ; ocircumflex : accent pulls left at 14, 15, 22 and right at 26, 27, 33 ppem.
2) glyph 125 ; otilde : accent pulls left at 14, 15, 16 ppem.
3) glyph 225 ; hacek : is heavier than other accent and circumflex at 13, 14, 15 ppem.

Font Name:
MyFont Sans Italic

General comment:
Overall looks good.

Glyph specific items :
1) masculine ordinal; glyph 158 ; 'o' closes at 19ppem
2) dieresis; glyph 142 : is 3x1 in size. it looks like two dashes make. 3x2 pixels at 24..28 ppem
3) dieresis; glyph 142 : pulls left over most base characters at 14ppem.

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3.2.1. Minor and major bugs

  • Minor bug is one that could be considered subjective or easily missed during a vendor's Quality Auditing cycle. This bug could be a visual rasterization problem at one specific size for a particular glyph. This bug could also be a mistake in one item of a specific table. For example, an incorrect Version number in the 'name' table or incorrect setting for the Fixed Pitch flag in the 'post' table. Numerous minor bugs equaling more than 5% of the font's glyph count elevate these minor bugs into a major bug.
  • Major bug is one that is not subjective and is technically incorrect by specification (OT technical spec, MS character spec or project specific spec) and should have been easily found during a vendor's Quality Audit cycle. A major bug is any error reported by the Flint testing tool. A major bug is also one that prohibits the font from shipping and being classified as a final deliverable.

3.3. Rejected Delivery General Report

This type of report is a general report describing the major areas that contain repeated, serious or major bugs that are too numerous to warrant an itemized list. This type of report indicates the font file did not follow the delivery guidelines and is not a final shippable file.

3.4. Vendor Response Report

The vendor should provide a report addressing each minor and major item, either describing the changes made to the font in response to these items, or explaining why no action could be taken.

Sample response to above sample Itemized Minor Bug Report:

response

Itemized minor bug report for :
MyFont Sans and MyFont Sans Italic

Font Name:
MyFont Sans

General comment:

Glyph specific items :
1) glyph 123 ; ocircumflex : accent pulls left at 14, 15, 22 and right at 26, 27, 33 ppem.
Moved accent right at 14,15, right at 26, 27, 33ppem. Did not move the accent at 22ppem, it would pull left if moved right.
2) glyph 125 ; otilde : accent pulls left at 14, 15, 16 ppem.
Fixed, moved accent right
3) glyph 225 ; hacek : is heavier than other accent and circumflex at 13, 14, 15 ppem.
Fixed, made same as circumflex at all sizes.

Font Name:
MyFont Sans Italic

General comment:
Overall looks good.

Glyph specific items :
1) masculine ordinal; glyph 158 ; 'o' closes at 19ppem
Fixed, opened up the counter.
2) dieresis; glyph 142 : is 3x1 in size. it looks like two dashes make. 3x2 pixels at 24..28 ppem
Fixed, made 3x2 from 24..28ppem.
3) dieresis; glyph 142 : pulls left over most base characters at 14ppem.
Correct moved dieresis right at 14ppem but had to move glyph 119 accent left at 14ppem to recenter.

Last updated 19 April 1999.


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