NewDeal Hot Tip 1412

[Hot Tips for...] Fonts

Micrologic's Font Conversion Tools

Micrologic was a software font company located in Emeryville, California. Apparently, they are no longer in business.

There are two different programs from MicroLogic that are needed in order to convert Type 1 fonts to Newdeal format:

  1. MoreType comes bundled with the Display Faces and Classic Faces packages from Micrologic.
  2. The More Fonts Importer comes bundled with the newest version of MoreFonts. MoreFonts does not support Newdeal software directly, but comes with three or more fonts that can be imported to Newdeal format, provided you have a copy of MoreType. The MoreFonts Importer was also available to owners of Display Faces or Classic Faces as a separate product directly from Micrologic.
You must have both MoreType and the More Fonts Importer to convert Type 1 fonts to Newdeal format.

Fonts that are in Type 1 format and state that they are for use with Adobe Type Manager (ATM) are the ones that can be converted. I have converted many of them successfully. However, some of them do not work properly in Newdeal, especially some fonts found in the public domain. A few of them crash the system, and others do not print properly, although they appear okay on screen.

MicroLogic's Classic Faces package comes with 48 fonts, but only 12 different typeface families. For each family there is a plain, a bold, an italic, and a bold-italic font. The ideal situation would be to have only 12 different fonts show up your menus in your NewDeal applications, and have the bold, italic, and bold-italic versions appear when you select those styles in the Styles menu.

Using MoreType to convert the fonts to Newdeal format directly will not give you access to the true bold, italic, and bold-italic versions of the fonts from the Styles menu, but converting the fonts to URW Generic format, which the Nimbus Font Converter will recognize, will allow you to do so.

You must look closely at the results of using the Styles menu in NewWrite to determine if the true fonts have been imported this way. If they were not, Newdeal will simulate the bold and italic by mathematically widening or slanting the plain font. However, the true bold and italic fonts are more than just a mathematical manipulation of the plain version, they are completely redrawn fonts, with different strokes. Some differences to look for are in the tail of the capital Q, the descender of the lowercase g, the shape of the capital Y, and the serifs, if any.

Be sure to run HINTER on all the fonts before you begin the conversion process. Hinter is a program included with Display Faces or MoreFonts.

Hinting a font ensures that you get the best rendition of each character, even in small point sizes. In an outline font, the strokes or lines of the characters are stored as the data for the font. As this information is translated by your software into the pixels that you see on your screen or on paper, sometimes those strokes or lines do not fall onto the grid of available pixels in a manner that provides the best approximation of the character. The hints are bits of information that make little adjustments to specific characters so that the characters have the best possible appearance.

Imagine using a big Magic Marker to draw a large hand-written character on a piece of graph paper (ignoring the lines on the graph paper as you do this). Next, imagine trying to determine which squares on another piece of graph paper would have to be filled-in in order to get the closest approximation to the character you drew. If the graph paper contained many small squares, the result would be very close to your original, but if the graph paper had fewer, larger squares, you might have a hard time deciding which to fill in and which to leave white. This latter situation is similar to what happens as the software tries to reduce an outline font to a small size.

By default, the HINTER.EXE program that comes with Display Faces is stored in \MT and, when you launch it, it automatically looks for and hints the fonts it finds in \MF. Some fonts may already be hinted, in which case it will report that on screen.

Font ID numbers

When you have two fonts with the same ID number on your system, it won't let you access the second one and always jumps back to the first one.

Two fonts can have the same menu (internal) name and as long as the ID numbers differ, both will work okay.

If you don't have a font that was used in the creation of a document, the software will substitute the system font. To see this effect, just move one of your fonts out of the \FONT directory and open a document that you used it in. (You won't hurt anything, move the font file back when you are done.)

Newdeal fonts are assigned specific numbers when you install them, so they should be the same on everyone's system. Other font converters, like More Type, might create different numbers on different computers.

Be careful about deleting fonts. They may look the same at first glance, but there can be subtle differences between fonts that you might want to take advantage of, not the least of which can be that the character sets may be different (the extended characters may be different or missing in one font and not in the other).

You may get "out of memory errors" if you try to print documents that use too many different fonts on PostScript printers, because PostScript printers have to download some fonts into the printer's limited memory. On regular laser or dot matrix printers, this is not a problem and the limit on the number of fonts you can use in a document is relatively large (somewhere between 60 and 200, depending on your system configuration).

It is highly unlikely that you would end up with font ID number conflicts between MicroLogic's fonts and Newdeal font disks. MicroLogic was assigned a certain range of font ID numbers to use for their work. The Newdeal fonts all have lower numbers than this.

Do be aware that MoreType assigns font ID numbers based on the .OTL files that are in your \MF subdirectory. So, if you delete .OTL files from \MF, then the next fonts that you convert to NewDeal using MoreType will end up conflicting with previously converted fonts.

Now, about changing font ID numbers: Caution! Be careful!

Use of a disk editor is not recommended for the inexperienced. Mistakes can make your entire system inoperable or cause you to lose data. Backup your hard drive first! Do not use a disk editor on a drive or partition that is compressed with a software like SuperSTOR, Stacker, or DoubleSpace unless you are sure that the disk editor is compatible with the compression software. Copy the file to an uncompressed partition or a floppy disk and edit it there.

Use the following information at your own risk! (If you DO know how to use a disk editor, changing a font ID number is quite easy and quick.)

You can alter the font ID numbers with a disk editor, like Norton's DiskEdit or PCTool's hex editor. The font ID number is two bytes in typical lowbyte/highbyte format. The bytes are the 9th and 10th bytes inside the font file. (That's bytes 08h and 09h, if you count the first byte in the file as 00h.)

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Last Modified 2 Mar 1999