The Electronic Labyrinth


One difficulty when sharing documents with friends is that one can never be sure they have the requisite fonts to display text properly. There are three solutions: use only those system fonts which you know they have (boring), have them buy all of the same fonts you do (expensive), give them the fonts (illegal). Adobe has chosen to address this problem. This is somewhat surprising, as it may cut into their profits from font sales.

SuperATM is an enhanced version of the popular Adobe Type Manager package, which is used on Mac and Windows platforms to organize PostScript fonts. SuperATM contains one generic serif and one generic sans serif face, from which other body faces may be interpolated (decorative faces will not fare as well). If a document is opened which contains a typeface that the system cannot locate, SuperATM substitutes a generic face of the same weight and metric (character width). Thus, line and page breaks are preserved, and the document appears close to how it was originally designed.

Initial pricing is set at $150, which seems a lot for a system utility. However, ATM is currently bundled free with many packages. Updates to SuperATM cost $50.

Adobe has integrated this multiple master font technology with their forthcoming Acrobat product.

Adobe Systems Inc.
1585 Charleston Road
Mountain View, CA

Phone: 415-961-4400

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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