Fact sheet


Fontmenu.com offers hundreds of original typefaces and font families for Windows XP and more recent organized by categories and names.See full character map, download free fonts samples, purchase online and get the fonts immediately. Fonts are optimized for :
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista a.k.a. Lomghorn (and OpenType Glyph Substitution technology)



  

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Glossary
Throughout this site, you will encounter strange words, that may not sound familiar at all. Even "Font", as simple as it sounds, seems here to mean more. What is for instance a "font family" ? What is a "Serif font" ? Answers are here. Or at least, most of them. Such a glossary isalways a work in progress, as new words and expressions appear. If you think a word has been left out, please report it, ad it will be added right away. Thank you. or is inaccurate. 
 
 
Ascender
This is the upper-reaching part of characters such as "b", "d", "f", etc.

see also "Descender"

 
ASCII
This encoding scheme is widely used on computer today, tio provide the basic set of Roman characters. This encoding scheme has limited support capabilities for accented characters (diacritics) and therefore, most current multilangual systems use Unicode, a much more flexible and efficient system.

see alco "Unicode standard"

 
Accented characters
see "Diacritics"
 
Bitmap font
Screens, as well as printers, use a technology that separates elements of the pictures (printed or viewed) in a map of pixels (picture elements). Early electronic fonts, as well as screen fonts, use the same technology : each point is represented by a zero or one, and appears as black or white, according to mathematical values. For pratical purposes, bitmap fonts are used for maximum legibility at small point sizes, or on some systems like Macintosh™ and PostScript™ fonts, together with printer fonts.
 
Black Letter
This refers to the more general term of calligraphed "Old English" or "Gothic" fonts. These early typefaces where used by the European inventor of Type, Gutenberg, to set the very first printed bible. A good exemple of such font in our collection is Square Text.
 
Baseline
The imaginary horizontal line used to write. We all used a very real baseline when learning how to write : it was usually blue. The baseline is also sometimes named "reading line".
 
Body size
This is the point siez obtained from the highest ascender to the lowest descender, plus additional white space to the descender line. Depending on font styles, body size may give different appearance of letterform size. For instance, the same text may appear very differently in Helvetica (a usual sans-serif font) and Times (a usual serif font).
 
Boldface
A darker typeface with more weight, to emphasize text.

Bowl
This is the oval within the round curves of letters such as "d", "g", "b" and "o".
 
Calligraphic fonts, calligraphic typefaces
Such fonts imitate "beautiful writing", translation of the original Greek word that is the origin of the work. Common calligraphic fonts imitate formal writing, such as copperplate or square pen calligraphy. Some of them are more casual in style than others, for instance Chancellerie Moderne (close to Chancery) looks a lot more formal than Skryptaag.
see also "script fonts"
 
Cap line
The imaginary line that goes on top of all capital letters.

Character set
All the characters contained in a font, as welll as their mapping. Most fonts on this site have ful character sets, except for dingbats.

Condensed
Popularized by dot matrix printers, Condensed typefaces offer an aspect ratio where the characters are narrower than usual, and take less space on the line. Therefore, more can appear on the same line.

Contrast
The apparent difference of color between thicker and thinner parts of a character. For instance, a serif font such as TSF & Compagnie, based on the Bodoni design, has a high level of contrast, when the modern-style serif Halotique, where all parts of the character have the same apparent thickness, has a lower level of contrast. Some sans-serif faces such as Bordini, have a high level of contrast.

Counter
The enclosed, or at least delimited by, space within letters such as "C", "e", "s", "H". Some confuse it with the bowl.

Cross stroke
Cross the "t" and you get a cross stroke ! Also refered to as "cross bar".

Cursive
see "Script fonts"
Descent
The part of the character that extends below the baseline, for instance in "p", "q", "g".
 
Descender
The lower imaginary line that characters that have descending part extend to, for instance "p", "j", "g", "y"...

see also "Ascender"

dpi
This acronym stands for "Dots Per an Inch". This is the most common unit of measurement of resolution (sharpness) for screen, scanners, and printers. The higher number of dpis, the sharper the image. For instance, a regular PC monitor can have a resolution of 72 dpi, when a printer will offer 300 dpi, and a typesetting equipement 4800 dpi.
 
Diacritics
English does not use accented characters anymore (very old English text did use accented, as well as Eth, since then abandonneedd), but most other languages do. French, Spanish, Italian, German, etc...
see also "Unicode standard"

Dingbats
Small decorative marks like bullets, symbols, pictures, pictograms, and in our collection, dinosaurs or halloween characters, for instance. Such fonts are a great asset for displayed itemized lists, or to create graphics on pages.
 
Display face
Larger and bolder version of a text typeface that is used for titles, headlines and sub-headlines. Also named sometimes "Title fonts".

Drop cap
An oversized capital letter used as the start of a paragraph. Drop cap ornamented initials are a stapple of ancient manuscripts and older books. They still are used quite often by news magazines, and on this site, to illustrate use of some decorative fonts.

ear
Egyptian
eps
expanded
extended

Font
As a general rule, computers today seem to confuse font and style. For instance, if you look at the Times font that comes with most systems, italics are drawn auite differently than the regular style. In the ancient days when lead was used to cast character, it had to be liquified, "fondu" in French, hence creating a "fonte". On this site, we refere to a font name (for instance Times) as a Typeface, and different styles as individual fonts, as in font files. We may not use lead anymore, but for the user and the computer, each font has its own file.

Family - See font, above.
 
Handwriting fonts
see "script fonts"
 
Ligature
Based on the way handwriting characters connect, some characters are the result of combining two characters. For instance, when A and E are ligated, it produces the ligature Æ. Less common ligatures are fl, ff, st. Such characters are still widely used by luxury book publishing, for instance the famous French collection "La Pléïade".

Ligated
Characters assembled in a ligature, "linked" the way we naturaly do in Roman cursive, between an o and any following letter, by modifying both glyphs.

Lowercase
See Uppercase

metrics
modern
monospaced
oblique
Old English
see "Black Letter"
 
oldstyle
outline
pica
pixel
point
pointsize
postscript
 
Printer fonts
In some technologies, and on most platforms, fonts sent to the printer are not necessarily the same as fonts one may see on the screen. On some systems, screen fonts and printer fonts are separate, so they can be optimized for this specific display/use. For instance, Macintosh™ PostScript™ fonts come in two files : a suitcase of bitmap fonts, a.k.a screen fonts, and a printer font. When the printer font is missing, printing is very mediocre. This come from the low resolution of screens, 72 dots per an inch, as compared to 300 or 600 dpi on any average printer.
 
Punch font
Before the advent of computers, fonts were cavufmetal. This process was called "to punch" type.
 
proportionally spaced type
rasterization
 
Resolution
see "dpi"
 
roman
sansserif
serif
 
Screen fonts
see "bitmap fonts"
 
Script fonts, script typefaces, cursive fonts
Fonts that mimic handwriting. Such fonts have been used for as long as typography exist. However, electronic creation process now authorizes creation of personal handwriting fonts that where close to impossible to achieve during the lead type era. Current script fonts dating back from the early days are Park Avenue or Brush Script, and their appearance is too much polished to appear to anyone like human script. Today's handwriting fonts do look like they had been produced by hand, apart form the unatural respect of the baseline, and regularity of the script.

see also "Calligraphic fonts"

Spacing
style
swashcapitals
tail
terminals
textface
truetype
type
type1
typeface
typography
uncial

Unicode standard
The Unicode standard had its genesis in eraly 1988 when a group of information professionals with extensive experience in multilingual computing agreed that no encoding methodology used in theur fields possessed the elegance and simplicity of ASCII. The Unicode character encoding was established as a fixed-width encoding of 16 bits, which would provide a sufficient number of unique codes for the world's scripts and technical symbols in comon use, and at the same time promote efficient and flexible system design.

From The Unicode Standard, Version 3.0 -- by The Unicode Consortium (Editor)


Uppercase
In the old era of lead movable type, typographers had cases, where they would place characters, a bit like letter cubes, in trays. The upper case contained capital letters, and the lower case contained minuscule characters. Today, it means absolutely nothing in reference to computers, but you can impress your friends with background knowledge.

A typographer at work with upper and lower cases A typographer composing text with lead type

Weight
X-height

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