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Difference Between Font Formats

This page is part of The Ultimate Font Guide, an introductory font manual that explains the basics of fonts and how to install fonts, use them in different applications and more.

What different font formats are out there

There are many different font formats, but most commonly when buying a font online you will get either one of more of the following formats:

  • OTF (OpenType)
  • TTF (TrueType)
  • SVG
  • EOT (Embedded Open Type)
  • WOFF (Web Open Font Format)
  • WOFF2

So what if you bought a font and you get all these files, which one should you use? Below we will explain all the different formats and what they are good for, but best is always to use the .OTF file (OpenType Font). If that is not available choose the .TTF File (TrueType Font).

Now a lot of you reading this are probably thinking, well, I am going to use the SVG font because that is what is best with my cutting or embroidery machine. Unfortunately, and this is pretty confusing, this is not the case. The SVG file format that you download with fonts is different than when you buy SVG cut ready files. SVG fonts are actually used for websites and cannot be opened in software such as Cricut Design Space and Silhouette Studio.

Now when you are shopping on sites or Etsy you might run into SVG Fonts. They are not installable font files but actually a folder with all the letters saved in different formats. So in there you will find A.svg, B.svg, C.svg, etc.

What is a OpenType Font (.otf)

An OpenType font is the font you are looking for! If you have this one in your font bundle, just install this one (see here how to install fonts for Windows and Mac) and you are good to go. OpenType is the evolution of TrueType (.ttf).

OpenType will be the format that contains all the extra swashes and alternates, all the swirly lines on numbers and letters that you are looking for.

What is a TrueType Font (.ttf)

TrueType fonts are the basic fonts created by Apple and Microsoft. While they work perfect almost everywhere there are some limitation on all the extras you can do with it. This is why OpenType was created. If you don’t have an OpenType font in your bundle we would advice you to install the TrueType font.

What is a SVG Font (.svg)

SVG Fonts that you receive with a downloadable, installable font packages are not suitable for crafting and cutting machines! See also above where we explain how a .svg font is only suitable for web. If you are searching for a font in SVG format that is suitable for cutting machines, you will find all the letters and numbers stored in the packages as separate SVG files: a.svg, b.svg, c.svg, 1.svg, 2.svg, etc.

What is a Embedded Open Type Font (.eot)

For crafters the Embedded Open Type fonts is completely useless and you can ignore this file. Even though OpenType fonts sounds so promosing and exciting, the .eot font file is meant for the web. This was created by Microsoft and is only supported by Internet Explorer.

What is a Web Open Font Format Font (.woff or .woff2)

Woff and Woff2 files are also completely useless if you want to do something with them for your cutting machine. They are created for the web and are basically OpenType fonts and TrueType fonts with some extra information and compression. While they work in all browsers, they won’t work in graphics software such as Cricut Design Space, Adoble Illustrator, Silhoutte Studio etc.

So to sum up, if you purchase an installable font for crafting and you want to use it with your cutting machine:

  • Install the .otf (OpenType) file.
  • If the .otf file is not available go for the .ttf file (TrueType)
  • Anything else can be ignored

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