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Why do the Bytesize of Fonts Differ?

Posted on 2000-05-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Tired of hunting fonts on various CD's I'm currently pulling them all together and cutting one CD with ALL my fonts in one place.

In doing so I've discovered an odd phenomina i didn't realise before this exercise: Identical fonts, Identical Name, Identical Version - Different Byte Size and different date!!

Example: Timesb.ttf
Name: Times New Roman Bold (TrueType)
File Size: 67KB
Version 2.76
Monotype Corporation PLC
Date: 28/03/96 (UK Date)

And then...
Same Info but:
File Size: 179KB
Date: 26/09/97

The larger and later file appears no better or worse than the earlier and smaller edition.

Can anybody tell me why?

Not masses of points on this, there must be a simple explaination.
Question by:bigstar
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Expert Comment

ID: 2791799
The file with the larger size more than likely contains all the extra international characters! ie (á,ë,ì,ö,û,ñ,ç, etc, etc)

The Flava

Author Comment

ID: 2791968
Flava - I'm rejecting your answer only to throw the question open to other experts.

If it transpires that you are correct, I will of course award you the points. I'm looking for a definative and precise reason.

Expert Comment

ID: 2792486

Sorry about that I just ment to comment!

have you looked at these fonts through a font compiler (fontographer, fontlab, etc)????

Viewing the fonts through one of these appz would answer your question in regard to the content of file ) characters!

The Flava
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Author Comment

ID: 2792967
Mmn good idea, I never thought of that. I have Printer's Apprentice on another PC, which allows examination of the complete character set. I'll load the two example fonts up and get back to you.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2796054

This Times New Roman for example is shipped whit Windows. When you add Multilinqual support from Windows control panel this font becomes DBCS font and those tables which are installed are basicly appended to font file of cause there are headerd tables ect.

Bigest Arial I have seen was ower 34Mb (mosty space was used in Chinesse Japan ect.)

(this is very close as Uncode character sytem) DBCS diferes Unicode system so that one or two bytes are used for one character in Unicode that is always two bytes.

If you replace these fonts and there is only available "0" (Western) charset, the Multilinqual support stop working and user will have font problems whit her/his multilinqual documents/programs.
Situation on NT is quite similar only Multilinqulal is easier to install only kb driver and font's are installed.

IE 5: There is bossible to download multilinqual support and fonts from MS site this is promted automaticly if Web page is marked to use a code page and charset which is not installed. This installs similar like Windows update.

Do not install anything unles you are sure not to cause damage. Hope this helps!



Author Comment

ID: 2816815
Sorry for the delay. I did come back to comment a number of days ago, but when I submitted the page either my connection or EE just died and then I never came back.

At that time I had all the information to hand, now I'm just using memory.

Flava - Your theory I thought might just be the key, so i loaded both Times Roman fonts into Printer's Apprentice, but there were no discernable differences between the character set range. Both files contained chracters from ASCII 33 to 255.

Matti - Your explaination makes interesting reading, but firstly why can't I see these alternative characters in printer's apprentice and secondly can I use the smaller font files if I have no intention of using antything other than English?

Or put another way, why use the larger file when the smaller one would seem to suffice?

As a Web Designer, I like to have a number of fonts loaded at one time (currently 600). With memory being precious, a smaller file makes sense.

Expert Comment

ID: 2817608

It does make sense to use the smaller file if there are no visible differences between the two!!!

Strange that the extra chars which I am sure are within the ttf didnt show up in Printers Apprentice??????? I would have thought that that would of been the solution to your problem?

The Flava

Author Comment

ID: 2819563
Me too Flava - but no go. Tis a better expert than I that can explain the mystery of the oversized font file!

Accepted Solution

zeetree earned 105 total points
ID: 2820181
The answer really depends upon the particular file. Flava's explanation is the case some of the time, as extra character informormation logically requires more space. Without viewing the entire character set and fonts all that folks can do is speculate and guess - the definitive answer that you demand is held by you and an exacting examination of the 2 files.

Another issue, and one that we see time and time again, is files that are conversions of conversions, sometimes crossing platforms mutiple times. Suprisingly, this will not necessarily alter the outlines (as in the case you cite), but will often bloat the size.

Why is this so? For a number of reasons.

A) When fonts are regenerated (this is true of TT to TT, TT to PS, PS to Tt, or PS to PS) their original hinting information is discarded UNLESS the font is opened from the native program file (i.e. FontLab or Fontographer primarily, although others as well). If the file had few hints that were so-to-speak efficiently placed, and the auto-hint setting was on in the regenerating program, this could account for a substantial size differential.

B) A truetype font is all encompassing and completely self contained. This means that there are more than character outlines and hinting involved. The third component of fonts are what we call the metrics. The metrics are tables that define the character widths, sizes and placement. Placement includes kerning, which is any specific distance set in the font design between any 2 individual characters. It is possible that the smaller NTR has no kerning pairs while the larger has a multitude, and yet the outlines are identical.

C) If the second font was originally a PostScript face that had been converted to TrueType (or been thru conversions prior to you receiving it), then there are very real point descriptor differences that will alter the file size by nature. PostScript forces points to bezier at the extrema of the em square. TrueType forces points to quadratic and does not demand the extrema. (Got all that?). The plain engish explanation is that they describe things differently but they theoretically describe the same form, all things being equal (which they are not).

Now - if I haven't lost you yet - I will offer an analogy of what the concept is: War and Peace by Tolstoy in his native writing is X many pages long, using X many characters and words. A French translation of the same is bound to have a different number of characters and words, and an English translation of the Russian version that has been retranslated to French has a different number of characters and words, as does a French translation that has been retranslated to English and back to French again. Same story, different words. Same Times New Roman Bold, different description.

D) TrueType fonts have partial encryption. If the versions were created by 2 differently set encrytions (such as 2 different versions of Fontographer), then the size of the 2 will not be the same.

In my collection, I see this all the time. What I do is examine the PostScript resources, which are easier than truetype because they provide an absolute separation between metrics and outlines + hinting. When all things are equal character wise, I retain the smallest size outline of the latest version, along with the largest metrics description of the same.

In case you haven't realized - you are asking a very technical question that defies simple explanation. I hope that you have been able to follow this though and begin to understand the issues and answers to your question.

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