How to choose and use a font conversion program. (FontMonger and AllType) (Software Review) (Compute's Getting Started with Fonts & Clip Art) (Evaluation)
by William Harrel
If you have umpteen thousand Type 1 fonts--a sizable investment--but want to switch to True Type, take heart--help is on the way. At least two companies, Ares and Atech Software, have released font utilities that convert fonts from one format to another. Areas FontMonger, for example, converts PostScript Type 1 fonts not only to TrueType, but also Type 3, Nimbus Q, and Intellifont formats (about the only thing missing is Bitstream's Speedo font format). And if that isn't enough, you can even create fonts for the Macintosh and NeXT computers. Atech Software's AllType has similar abilities.
If even that isn't enough, FontMonger lets you modify character outlines. You can use the built-in drawing tools or import EPS drawings into the font file to add simple drawings or designs to the fonts. This is great for creating decorative typefaces for use in posters or as drop caps (large first letters at the beginning of paragraphs). You can even export individual characters to your draw program, embellish them, and then slip them back into the font file.
AllType takes a little different approach. It allows you to embellish fonts with special effects, such as outlines and drop shadows, similar to MoreFonts and SoftType. You also can change the width of characters and adjust the spacing.
Font conversion isn't new. CorelDRAW has let you convert its WFM fonts to Type 1 fonts and vice versa for years. And the new version of CorelDRAW (version 3.0) lets you create your own Type 1 or TrueType fonts. Powerful conversion utilities such as FontMonger and AllType are relatively new. Therefore, the technology isn't completely proven yet. However, I used both products to convert Adobe Type 1 outlines to TrueType, and CorelDRAW TrueType fonts to Type 1 fonts--and was surprised by how easy it was and was pleased by the results. The Dingbat, Times, and Helvetica fonts converted to TrueType without a hitch, as did the TrueType fonts converted to Type 1. They even printed well.
Who Needs Font Conversion?
Do you need to convert fonts? With so many formats available and such a diversity of software bundled with different ones, font conversion is a helpful utility for almost everybody. Desktop publishers and professional designers will get the most from these packages, especially the ability to embellish fonts and create your own type styles. With these utilities, you can create your own bullet fonts or add bullets to existing sets. Think about how interesting it would be to use your company logo as a bullet in a bulleted list.
As more and more users switch to Windows, TrueType fonts will most likely be the wave of the future--though it could take years before all software vendors use the same font technology. Until then, anyone who does much work with with fonts should have a utility such as FontMonger or AllType to maximize his or her font investment.