The Microsoft Visual OpenType Layout Tool, Microsoft "VOLT" is a tool for adding OpenType layout tables to fonts. More information is posted on our VOLT page.
Membership of the VOLT community Web site has passed the 6000 user mark. Not every member is a type designer, many of the people who belong to the community are just curious about OpenType, or are looking to discover how OpenType might support a particular language or writing system. Members who are type designers fall into two main categories.
Firstly there are designers who are making fonts for 'non-complex script' languages like English, German, Greek or Russian. For these designers adding OpenType support to their fonts is very easy. Adobe InDesign supports a few common non-complex-script OpenType features, including ligatures, small caps and old style numerals. Include these extra characters in the fonts you create (we advise that they are not mapped to Unicode positions) and follow Andy Crewdson's simple guide to use VOLT to add OpenType Layout tables to the fonts.
Future OpenType supporting apps will be able to use these features and others. These users don't need to read John Hudson's OpenType article 'Windows Glyph Processing' or the OpenType spec although we'd recommend that they do so to get a better picture of the way OpenType supporting applications will work in the future. Some of the other documentation posted in the VOLT section of the Microsoft Typography site may also be useful.
Secondly the community has members who are making complex script fonts. These users should read 'Windows Glyph Processing' and the OpenType specification before using VOLT. The way OpenType fonts work is very different from the font and system hacks type designers have had to rely on in the past. Language specific specifications are posted in our specifications section.
article posted 18 April 2000 and last updated 25 May 2004.