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Created at Apple Computer, TrueType was designed to fill the need for an optimized, scalable font format. The format uses hinting , a technique that preserves a font's design, even at a small scale or on a display with low resolution. It was initially developed in response to the technical limitations of Adobe's Postscript and Type 1 font formats.

TrueType was first introduced in the Macintosh System 7 operating system in 1990. A year later, Apple licensed TrueType to Microsoft, and it was introduced in their Windows 3.1 operating system. After making some performance improvements to the format, they released version 1.5 in Windows NT 3.1, and have continued to update the format.

In order to view and print TrueType fonts on a computer, two components are necessary: the actual TrueType font file (with the extension TTF) and the TrueType raster graphics . The rasterizer is built into Windows and Mac operating systems.

If you use TrueType fonts on a Web page or in Word document, it is possible to embed them into the file, so that your fonts will still be viewable by people who do not have that font installed on their machine. Also keep in mind that the Macintosh and Windows versions of TrueType fonts are not compatible. When downloading TrueType fonts from the Internet (such as from a free fonts Web site), you must select the Mac or PC version. TrueType Font converters are available if a TrueType font is only available for one platform.

Microsoft's most recent font development is called OpenType. This font format ensures that fonts are compatible across the Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms and encompasses Adobe's Type 1 and PostScript technologies.

This was last updated in April 2005

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