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Microsoft Typography | Developer information | Visual TrueType

Visual TrueType

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Visual TrueType screen capture What is Visual TrueType?

Microsoft Visual TrueType 4.2 (VTT) is a professional-level tool for graphically instructing TrueType and OpenType TM fonts. The tool is available for Windows (Windows 95, 98, Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000, XP and Vista) platforms.

Key features of VTT

  • Graphical definition of control point relationships
    VTT 4.2 enables authors to visualize and graphically define relationships between a glyph's control points, eliminating the need for font programming.

  • Dynamic compilation of relationships
    VTT 4.2 automatically sequences graphically-defined control point relationships into optimized TypeMan Talk and TrueType code.

  • Direct outline manipulation
    VTT 4.2 makes it easy to modify TrueType outlines in design units. While not meant to design fonts from scratch, the tool lets you inserting and delete control points on fully instructed glyph outlines, automatically updating the TrueType code.

  • Backwards compatibility
    VTT 4.2 has been designed to be fully compatible with preceding versions. Advanced users are not prevented from working directly in TypeMan Talk or TrueType.

  • Main new feature in Version 4.2
    VTT 4.2 comes with an advanced control program that simplifies the setup process (global settings, stroke weight control, etc.).

For an overview of hinting see The raster tragedy at low resolution, excerpts from a presentation given by Beat Stamm, lead developer of Visual TrueType.

Is Visual TrueType an appropriate tool for you?

Although the graphical user-interface of VTT dramatically simplifies the task of font hinting, the tool is not for the novice. The learning curve is fairly steep, simply because hinting requires professional skills regardless of the tools. Even accomplished type designers who have been using Fontographer and FontLab for years to design fonts have evaluated VTT and decided that professional hinting is not for them. In a way this is similar to desktop publishing programs, they make it easier for the professional typesetter to cut-and-paste, but they don't make the rest of us professional typographers.

Licensing Visual TrueType

We have developed Visual TrueType to give more people access to TrueType hinting. We would like to license the tool to individuals and companies who are committed to improving the screen quality of the fonts they produce. However, as VTT is not a tool suitable for everyone we recommend that you review the tutorials and instructions posted in our VTT resources section before contacting us.

To receive Microsoft Visual TrueType 4.2, please fax us the following;

  1. A completed, signed copy of the Visual TrueType license agreement - Updated for VTT 4.2
  2. A covering letter outlining your involvement in font production. This is a requirement if this is your first VTT application.

this page was last updated 29 July 2008
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Microsoft Typography | Developer information | Visual TrueType