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Visual TrueType: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: April 21, 2009

The following questions and answers apply to Visual TrueType version 4.2. If your question is not listed here, please contact us.

Order Information

Q. How do I get a copy of VTT 4.2?

To receive Microsoft Visual TrueType 4.2, please fax the following:


Complete, signed copy of the Visual TrueType license agreement (updated for version 4.2)


Cover letter outlining your involvement in font production (required for your first VTT application)

Q.If I signed and delivered a license for the earlier version (VTT 4.0), do I need to do it again?

Yes. The license was revised for v4.2 in response to user feedback. The old license restricted use to 60 days and for evaluation purposes only. The new license is less restrictive.


Using VTT 4.2

Q.What does 'Prepare Font' do?

After running Prepare font, I started to hint but no control values were selected for my links — I only get a question mark. I thought VTT created a Control Program? What does Prepare Font do other than strip hints and import templates?


VTT does not auto hint or auto measure control values in the Control Program for you. Prepare font only removes any old instructions (such as those automatically generated by commercial programs) and imports basic templates to start the hinting process. To continue the hinting process, you need to measure your glyphs and decide the height and stem/feature control values for your font. Then, fill out and compile the Control Program with this specific font information. Only then can you start hinting.

Q.How are control values selected?

I filled out my Control Program and compiled it. If I start to hint my Cap H visually, no control values are picked for me automatically. Any ideas why?


Control values (CVT's) are automatically selected based on a few parameters. For Cap H, the glyph has an uppercase classification, as defined by CHARGRP.TXT. Your link then sets the next parameter. If you select the correct style of link, in this case a 'StraightStroke with CVT' Xlink, you have a CVT classified as Uppercase, Black, X, StraightStroke in your Control Program, the CVT with the closest value and correct classification will be selected automatically.

You probably haven't selected the proper link style. To select different styles of links with the Xlink icon selected, use the right mouse button in Windows, or cmd+click on the Mac, and pick a square shaped arrowhead.

     68: 200 = 66 @46
Q.What does the error message 'PPEM size out of range' mean?

When using the Control Program's 'inheritance', I get an error 'PPEM size out of range (must be in range 101..255)'. What does this mean and why can't I set CVT 100? Here is the part of the Control Program with the problem:

	24: 0
	25: 0
97: 170 = 66 @41
	98: 0
99: 200 = 97 @100
100: 215 = 99 @85

In your Control Program, CVT 100 is the child of CVT 99. CVT 99 is set free from its parent at 100ppem. You cannot set a child CVT free before its parent is set free from the grandparent CVT. There are two solutions. You can let CVT 100 free from the parent CVT 99 at 101ppem only or greater or, if you want CVT 100 to be free earlier, you should make its parent CVT 97; then it could be set free at 42ppem or greater.

Q.Why do I get errors opening a font file created with 'TypeMan'?

VTT catches errors in low level TrueType font instructions that early predecessors to VTT or TypeSolution's TypeMan did not catch. For example, if a CVT value is used in low level TrueType instructions, and it is not defined in the Control Program or the font's CVT table, VTT will display an error 'CVT out of range'. If these instructions exist in an old source file, an error will be displayed in the Font errors window as the rasterizer tries to interpret the instructions.

It is important for VTT to trap these errors because font instructions are also used to calculate other values in TrueType tables. If there are bad instructions, these calculations could be incorrect. Microsoft's TrueType rasterizer does not allow fonts with bad instructions to be used.

Q.Why can't I select links with 'Display X direction tools'?

I want to add a link, but when I select Xlink and have 'Display X direction tools' checked, why can't I select the link?


You must have the outline points displayed to do 'insert links' or any other type of visual hint. In the future, we intend to disable visual linking when points aren't displayed.

Q.How do you use 'Grey Scale only' deltas?

I want to add a hint for 'Grey Scale only'. I selected the 'X Delta' tool, but I only see two options for Deltas — Deltas that are always used and 'black-and-white only' Deltas. Where are the grey-only deltas?


You can only use 'Grey Scale only' deltas when you are viewing the glyph with grey scale pixels. This is set with the menu item 'Display: GreyScale' selected and the menu item 'Black and White Only' de-selected.

Q.What does 'Ship Font' do?

Ship Font is the last step in final font production, after all testing and hinting is complete, and Recalc maxp has been run. It removes the ASCII text tables that were created for viewing hint information. It is easiest to think of this as a VTT work file or source file, like 'MyFont_source.ttf'. When you run Ship Font, the extra tables are removed. These tables are only necessary to edit or add hint information, but it is essential to keep source files for fonts that you intend to work on in the future. Be sure to rename the shipped version of the font (for example, 'MyFont.ttf') if you intend to keep the work file.


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