OpenType 1.5 draft & 1.6 suggestions

Adobe and Microsoft just posted a notice on the OpenType mailing list about a draft of version 1.5 of the OpenType spec, and requesting suggestions/proposals for version 1.6.

If you’re interested in the mailing list:


Here’s the text of our posts, with handy links.

Si Daniels wrote:

A draft of version 1.5 of the OpenType spec has been posted for review here:

A summary of the changes can be found here:

We’ve posted it in an unlinked location so that the community can review it for any typos, errors or omissions – changes from 1.4 are highlighted in color (red and blue). Once we’re happy with it, we will post it alongside version 1.4 on the main site.

Our goal with 1.5 was to reflect changes implemented in the most recent versions of Unicode as well as Microsoft and Adobe’s software and fonts. Because of this we’ve already started work with our colleagues at Adobe on version 1.6. Tom Phinney will be sending out a list of what’s in the works along with a call for ideas for the next update, which we hope to finalize in the coming months in order to meet ISO deadlines.

I’d like to thank everyone at Adobe and Microsoft who’ve worked on this over the past few months. In particular I’d like to thank Michelle Hill who’s been coordinating the effort.

Please direct any corrections to mihill at microsoft (with a dot-com on the end). Note that for some reason the PDFs are not working, but these remain unchanged from OT 1.4.

I added:

Now that we have a solid draft of the OpenType 1.5 spec, we’re also
soliciting your ideas/proposals for OpenType 1.6.

Generally, the best way to propose something new for OT 1.6 is to post
it to the OpenType list. If for some reason you want private feedback
first, you could send it to me and Si.

Ultimately, we’ll need any proposal in full formal spec language.
However, it may sometimes be useful to kick around the general concept
on the list first. If you aren’t yourself up for writing up your idea in
the standard spec language, you’ll need to find somebody who is; either
Microsoft or Adobe may adopt your idea to move it forwards, or perhaps
you can find some other interested party.

Besides a host of colleagues at Adobe and Microsoft, I’d like to
especially thank Sairus Patel here at Adobe, who has been the lead
technical person for both the 1.5 spec and potential 1.6

For your reference, here are some things already being considered for
the OpenType 1.6 spec:

New Features:

1) Changes to stylistic sets feature to support human-readable named for
the sets, in any language(s). Considerable thought has already been
given to this, with an initial proposal from Adobe and a
counter-proposal from Microsoft, but it still needs more work, so it
didn’t make it into 1.5.

Other clarifications:

2) Clarify TrueType instruction handling relating to INSTCTRL and

3) More clarifications in the ‘name’ table

For “Recommendations”:

4) Add info on how to detect and process the incorrect ‘size’ feature
structures put in a bunch of Adobe fonts.

5) Add info on what names should get put into formatting markup

6) Add more info on how the line height should be computed given the
addition of bit 7 in the fsSelection field of the OS/2 table

7) Consider having the recommendations given for “First Four Glyphs in
Fonts” apply to the C1 control characters.

7 Responses

  1. Great to see progress being made. I’m curious, if you happen to know, when the OpenType math extensions are going to be included in the spec (e.g., the ‘ssty’ feature for choosing super-/sub-script forms); Cambria Math is obviously using them already and it would be good to have a public & published reference for all that.Cheers,Will[I asked the good folks at Microsoft, and Si Daniels replied:"With OpenType we waited for the technology to become stable, widely accepted and implemented before submitting it to a standards body. Same goes for the Math spec. We will continue to develop the spec, and provide it to interested parties on request. At some point we will probably publish it on, and later work with our partners to merge it into OpenType and the ISO Open Font Format." Hope that's useful. - T]

  2. Miro Jurcevic says:

    I would like to see a public domain authoring tool which is able to open, edit and convert Type 3 fonts into OpenType. It seems that the creation tools lag. I have several very old fonts I would like to launch in the latest format.[Public domain might not be possible. But if open source will do, there's FontForge, which can import at least some Type 3 fonts, and supports many OpenType tables. - T]

  3. Denisbox says:

    Thank you! Very interesting news!

  4. I am wondering if the OpenType specification could be extended to implement chromatic font technology please.Here are some links which some readers might find of interest. Overington1 February 2008[Belated comment. Yes, it could be done. But it would be a pretty huge undertaking, disproportionate to the added value, I think. - T]

  5. Thanks for passing on the comments on the math spec. That makes good sense. Cheers!

  6. John Daggett says:

    It would be interesting to hear more background on the name table changes, seems like the changes make sense but some background info would be great.Regards,John[The name table stuff is related to Microsoft's needs/desires for their WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) font name handling. For more background, see my presentation on font names at TypoTechnica 2007: - hope that helps! - T]

  7. John Daggett says:

    Those presentations were very helpful, I was hoping there would be more explanation in the spec itself.[Glad they were helpful. I know, the OpenType spec (like many engineering specs) is often long on the "what" but not so much on the "why." - T]

Comments are closed.


Thomas Phinney

Adobe type alumnus (1997–2008), now VP at FontLab, also helped create WebINK at Extensis. Lives in Portland (OR), enjoys board games, movies, and loves spicy food.

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