Looking for New Century Schoolbook as OpenType

irgend_wer's picture

I am looking for New Century Schoolbook as an OpenType version. It should include

- ligatures
- old style numbers
- small caps

Initially I went for the Tex-Gyre project. They offer a free and enhanced version of URW New Century Schoolbook (Tex-Gyre Schola). But... I can't really say what it is, but URW's NCS just looks "wrong". Maybe it's the character spacing? URW NCS looks extremely wide, compared to other versions of NCS like

New Century Schoolbook from Linotype. Which looks really nice and just "right", but even though I have the OpenType version, ligatures and old style numbers seem not to work (I've used Word 2010). Or is it just my version? (got NCS LT via Folio 11 is installed on this machine).

Which vendor has the best NCS?

charles ellertson's picture

The Microsoft Century Schoolbook might be what you're looking for.


Long ago & far away, it came free with certain Microsoft products, but no more.

IIRC, it is OpenType, ttf flavored, (but check before buying!) and I'd assume that to the extent MS Word supports OT features, it would support them in its own fonts...

If you want Open Source, (nonrestrictive license), you'll have to do a lot of work on the TeX Gyre CS. As you say, it's pretty bad. Alternatively, though not "Schoolbook," SIL Charter may have the look you want.

What the world could really use, Kent Lew, is a good Primer. (Think of Primer as the thinking man's Century Schoolbook. It was good enough for P.J. Conkwright to use for Princeton's Thoreau series.)

J. Tillman's picture

Charles_e, SIL Charter is probably Charis SIL. I would recommend Charis SIL Compact for the regular leading. (The "Compact" refers only to the leading.)

Home page: Charis SIL:

Download: Charis SIL compact is at the bottom of the page:

ncaleffi's picture

As far as I know, no one of the available digital versions of Century Schoolbook features nor small caps neither old style figures (so it's not a matter of compatibility with MS Word, Peter). But I could be wrong. The only typeface related to Century Schoolbook with both os figures and small caps seems to be Mark Simonson's Grad, which has its own unique design features, by the way:


charles ellertson's picture

Yes, of course, Charis.

The TeX-Gyre version of Century Schoolbook does have some terribly done os figs. Kindergarden level, or maybe not even that good. It also has small caps, can't remember how badly done they are.

But the Original Poster also mentioned that ligatures don't work, and those should be in the Linotype font. They were in the Linotron 202 standard-format font, & by in large, the PostScript versions offered by Linotype had all the glyphs of those older "digital-photocomp" fonts.

irgend_wer's picture

Thanks everyone. I investigated a little bit more.

Indeed Nicola, none of the digital versions seem to have small caps or old style figures.

The Microsoft (Monotype) Century Schoolbook that is bundled with e.g. Microsoft Office 2007 is not an OpenType version. It is a TrueType font, so of course there are none of the advanced OpenType features (like ligatures) available.

I've checked the Linotype NCS I own with DTL OTMaster Light, and it does have ligatures for fi and fl. These will be actually replaced by Word 2010. But strangely there are no Ligatures for ff, ft, fl or combinations like fft and ffl. Does someone know, whether this is fixed in later versions of LT's NCS? Having proper ligatures would be at least something.

But overall, it seems the only choice is to go either for Grad, or to stick with Tex-Gyre Schola (*shudder*). Or Charis SIL (but which has afaik no old style figure).

charles ellertson's picture

I've drawn up os figs for Charis, roman & italic. It's open source. If you really want to use it, we can probably find a way to get them to you.

All this predicated on your being able to copy the glyphs into your fonts and write the OT feature to call them (& be able to compile) with DTL OTMaster Light. Never used that program.

Oh, IIRC, I've got better ligatures, too.

(I'd give you my Charis fonts, but I've dropped a lot of the characters -- Some because I just never need them, but most because I use FontLab Studio for compiling the OT features, and FontLab can't (currently) handle "mark" and "mkmk", which SIL used. So, I had to rewrite all the features as well, and added more. Some I'm sure MS Word won't implement, but that probably wouldn't hurt anything. You could have the fonts, but I can't afford to take time to support them.)

FYI, in the days of photocomp, Linotype reduced the ligature set to just the fi and fl. When they re-released these fonts in PostScript, they didn't add any more ligatures for most fonts. The company's been sold several times since then; I've not seen any evidence the parent company wants to improve the old offerings.

hrant's picture

it seems the only choice ....

There's always another choice: have what you need made custom. :-)
Unless one of Charles's kind offers clicks.


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