Mac OS X Kerning with Fontlab 4.5

Aaron Sittig's picture

After making a kerning run through my current project, I fired up TextEdit on Mac OS X 10.2 to check out the results. I was a bit shocked and fully dismayed to see nary a kern. Adobe InDesign 2.0, on the other hand, handles the kerning just fine.

After a bit more exploring, it seems clear that you have to choose a platform. Apple supplied fonts kern only with apps that use their text engine, no kerning in sight in InDesign. FontLab generated fonts, OpenType in my case, kern great in InDesign but fall over in TextEdit.

Is this really the sad state of type on Mac OS X? After finally settling on OpenType as a crossplatform format, are we going to have to go back to offering multiple downloads, one for each text engine? Or is there a way to insert an Apple format kerning table into my OpenType font?

alan's picture

I think it's because TextEdit throws away kerning and doesn't care about OpenType features. It ignores them. It prefers to see Apple's own AAT tables built into the font. So that's why TextEdit likes Apple's own fonts.

InDesign, on the other hand, is OT-savvy, but not AAT-savvy, I think. So it's the other way around. There is less than a handful of fonts that have both OT and AAT tables (ok, only one, I guess). I suspect that most people are going to ignore AAT and develop OT tables for their own fonts, regardless of which technology is better.

I'm totally guessing.

Alan

hrant's picture

> only one, I guess

What font is that?

hhp

Aaron Sittig's picture

Maybe it's time to dust of my programmer hat and write an app to sync the two kerning tables. Apple has some command line tools for OS X to help develop AAT fonts. They may lend themselves to being scripted.

hrant's picture

'Tis the season to get into font scripting, my friend!

hhp

alan's picture

>> only one, I guess

> What font is that?

Damn me, I got it wrong. I was thinking of the one that supports both OT and Graphite. Can't remember the name, though.

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