OpenType FontFonts and the Languages They Speak

The OpenType format offers typographers more glyphs, and (sometimes) more confusion. As the FontFont library is converted to OpenType, premium fonts are continually released with advanced typographic features and language support built-in. With so many new releases we don’t expect you to keep up on which FontFonts can speak which languages. Just keep an eye on this post for the latest updates.

Learn more about OpenType in the FontFont OpenType User Guide (PDF). More information, along with a list of FontFonts in OpenType format, can be found in this lovely leaflet (PDF), including the lowdown on Std (“OT”) vs. Pro:

OpenType Pro FontFonts support a broader range of languages than OpenType Standard FontFonts. Supported language encodings include ff-ot-eastern-15Central European, ff-ot-greek-15Greek, ff-ot-cyrillic-15Cyrillic and Extended Cyrillic. OpenType Min FontFonts support the same languages as OpenType Standard FontFonts, though some non-essential glyphs (such as mathematical operators and mathematical Greek characters) may have been omitted.

Here’s the OpenType FontFont language support table from the PDF leaflet for your handy reference (updated on June 16, 2010):


  1. Stephen,
    This is all good information, and the pdf document gives a great deal of detailed technical information about OpenType, but the one thing I suspect most users, especially font fans, want to know is what applications are the ones that are “OpenType savvy”? I get questions all the time from people wanting to get Bickham Script’s optional swashes and alternate characters. They see these things used, then buy the font and can’t access them, because they aren’t using an application that can take advantage of the features built into such fonts. When I tell them that the newer versions of Adobe’s graphics software like InDesign & Illustrator are the only applications I’ve used that can do this, they are understandably frustrated. Not everyone who wants to use OT fonts can afford the investment required for those applications.

    It’s almost like a hidden secret about OpenType that only professionals can use, and it’s a disservice to the more general user not to tell them up front that they may not be able to use all those great extra characters they wanted when they bought the font.

    I admit that I am pretty ignorant on the topic of OpenType-savvy applications, since I only know those two applications from personal experience. Can you help me and the rest of us out with at least a partial list of applications that would be able to let someone use the more advanced features of these fonts


    Posted by Mike Yanega on Feb. 2, 2008
  2. Thank you for your excellent comment, Mike. A majority of our customers are design professionals with access to Adobe’s Creative Suite, so we tend to cater to their needs first, but we certainly shouldn’t forget the hobbiest and casual users.

    It frustrates me, too, that Microsoft has yet to fully support OpenType in Office (despite it being a format that they co-developed!).

    Fortunately, many of the features are accessible to Mac users with the system Character Palette and “Typography” options in the Cocoa Text Palette.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding more information about OpenType to, including an outline of which applications support which OpenType features. In the meantime, Adobe has provided a table of their own in their Adobe OpenType Guide.

    OpenType Feature Support by Adobe Application

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Feb. 2, 2008
  3. As of version 10.4 (10.3?), the Mac OS has full OpenType support. This means that any application that uses the standard OS tools for text and fonts has access to all of the advanced typographic features in OpenType fonts.

    If you’re an Office user on the Mac, I think you’re out of luck because Microsoft has implemented the text and font handling themselves. But for other applications, including the simple TextEdit, if you have OpenType fonts you can use all of the fun ligatures, swashes and other features your font has.

    Posted by Michael on Dec. 12, 2008

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