TTF is the short form for TrueType font. This is a product of coordinated efforts between Apple and Microsoft in the 1980s. TTF font was created because both Apple and Microsoft had a common goal: create a font that was capable of working across Windows and Mac and could be deciphered by most printers by default.
TTF puts both screen and printer font data in the same file. This makeup simplified the installation of new fonts and acted as an early hybrid platform font format that was compatible with most users’ devices.
OpenType font, abbreviated OTF was also a product of collaboration between Adobe and Microsoft. OTF was also a hybrid creation with display font and printer font data packaged in a single platform.
OTF was designed to enable more functions than TTF. An example being that the former has a format capable of storing as much as 65,000 characters. The ability to keep extra characters besides the usual ones (A-Z, 0-9, punctuations, and symbols) gave designers a platform to add more character to OTF, such as:
- Small caps
- Alternate characters
- Old-style figure
When using TTF, these had to be added as extra fonts but using OTF, they are all kept in a single file as the default typeface and can be accessed easily to consumers. Using OTF is a better option when it comes to designing, and it is, therefore, the preferred font by professional designers and hobbyists.
The most significant difference between OTF and TTF for both rookie and professional designers lies in the advanced typesetting programs. Another big difference is that OTF has provisions like glyphs and ligatures that present a designer with multiple options to use.
These extra options are usually not used by non-designers. In simpler terms, OTF is the better of the two where designers are concerned due to the additional features. However, for regular daily computer use, the difference between OTF and TTF is not consequential.
When comparing OTF and TTF, the more robust of the two is the former due to its additional features. OTF is designed with more features to help designers and typesetters have the flexibility they need to make adjustments to a piece and make it look better. For non-designers who use computers for typical day-to-day tasks, the many features added to OTF don’t make a difference since they have no use.
If you have to choose between the two, OTF is the choice to make, but if you cannot access OTF, there is no harm in using TTF.