I know very little about typography. What are the differences in terms of OpenType vs. TrueType?
I do know that they are types of formats to render fonts (correct me if I'm wrong).

Are there limitations between OpenType and TrueType?

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    – user9447
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 2:44

5 Answers 5


They are file formats for storing font information.

TrueType was invented by Apple as a competition to Adobe's PostScript Type1. Both TrueType and PostScript fonts became the standard file formats for fonts for the past 3 decades or so of desktop publishing. In terms of your average designer, the differences between the two are relatively unimportant.

OpenType was designed to replace these and was created initially by Adobe and Microsoft. It's basically a newer format that is more robust. For a designer, the primary benefits of OpenType over previous formats are a) an much larger character set and b) automatic alternative character and ligature support (for software that supports it).

Wikipedia covers it well:


  • 10
    Add the very important benefit that OpenType fonts are completely platform-agnostic. Before OpenType, we'd run into endless problems with cross-platform incompatibilities, usually at the worst possible time. In my own work, if an font isn't OpenType I either a) don't use it at all, or b) outline the text before it goes to prepress. Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 1:44
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    @AlanGilbertson, how a font can be not platform-agnostic? What are examples of platforms that allow using OpenType, but forbid TrueType, for example?
    – Alexey
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 15:11
  • @Alexey back in the day Postscript fonts were often platform specific (mac v windows). TrueType, which came later, had a few issues to, though was less of a problem cross-platform.
    – DA01
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 17:33
  • @DA01, how can a font be "platform-specific"? It is just a font. If you mean that some platforms do not support some fonts, this is obviously true (first mobile phones had very limited choice of screen fonts, for example). However, this is not what Alan said. What he said apparently implies that there exist some platforms that support or can support OpenType, but do not and cannot properly support Postscript or TrueType (probably because Postscript calls some OS functions, or i don't know what else...). If this is really the case, i will be curious to learn how fonts use system calls.
    – Alexey
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 9:13
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    Just to add a small technical note for the Google by-passer: TrueType fonts contain several sub-tables with information, most infamous example is the old OS/2-table - used only by Windows. You should in theory be able to get the same information from other sub-tables, but inconsistencies in values could make a font behave unexpectedly when viewed on a Mac or other way around. Hope that clears up any confusion. Yes, the Mac vs Win war managed to screw up even a (shared) font-format. -.- Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 9:04

Adobe offers some great reading on type formats: See Adobe explanations here

Excerpts from the link:


TrueType is a standard for digital type fonts that was developed by Apple Computer, and subsequently licensed to Microsoft Corporation. Each company has made independent extensions to TrueType, which is used in both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Like Type 1, the TrueType format is available for development of new fonts.


OpenType is a new standard for digital type fonts, developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft. OpenType supersedes Microsoft's TrueType Open extensions to the TrueType format. OpenType fonts can contain either PostScript or TrueType outlines in a common wrapper. An OpenType font is a single file, which can be used on both Macintosh and Windows platforms without conversion. OpenType fonts have many advantages over previous font formats because they contain more glyphs, support more languages (OpenType uses the Unicode standard for character encoding,) and support rich typographic features such as small caps, old style figures, and ligatures — all in a single font.

Beginning with Adobe InDesign® and Adobe Photoshop® 6.0, applications have begun to support OpenType layout features. OpenType layout allows you to access features such as old style figures or true small caps by simply applying formatting to text. In most applications that do not actively support such features, OpenType fonts work just like other fonts, although the OpenType layout features are not accessible.

OpenType with PostScript outlines is supported by the latest versions of Adobe Type Manager, and is natively supported in Windows 2000. Apple has also announced its intent to support OpenType, and supplies Japanese system fonts for Mac OS X in OpenType form with PostScript outlines.


The above link to Adobe, though helpful, is a bit outdated (makes references to Photoshop 6, for example).

Here is the updated link for the Font Formats (True Type, etc):


  • That link still references Photoshop 6.
    – gpvos
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 10:16

Just to leave information here for people who might have issues: OOT are more complex and can thus create problems for softwares like AutoCAD or older warez that aren't equipped to deal with them.

The "quick cure" for this is to convert your OOT to TTF via an online converter.


In simple words , Truetype are those fonts whose style cannot be edited or changed according to will. That is , suppose you want to make a later a bit streched or make a fine change in it , you can't do that in Truetype fonts. But on the other hand, in case of Opentype fonts you can do such changes. Opentype fonts' style are editable.

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