`Superfont' Could Help Desktop Publishers Avoid Gobbledygook

PostScript, the page-description language developed by Adobe Systems Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., gave desktop publishers access to hundreds of type styles, or fonts. But if two computers aren't using the exact same PostScript font, when one tries to transfer a file to the other, only gobbledygook will come off the second computer's printer.

Now, Adobe is hoping that a new "superfont" technology, scheduled for introduction at Seybold Seminar `91 on Mar. 5, will ease such communication problems. Tentatively called Multimaster, the software can recreate any size or variation of a font using mathematical formulas that can describe various font families. For example, a computer equipped with a Multimaster Helvetica font can recreate a document that was composed in Helvetica Condensed by simply changing the width of characters in its coded data. There are drawbacks. A Multimaster font will take up to three times the amount of memory that a regular PostScript font requires, and not all fonts have been converted to the Multimaster format.

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