Which format should I use- OTF or TTF?

I work on a PC to make digital artwork (words and pictures usually) and svgs. Is there a general rule for whether I want to install OTF version or TTF for fonts?


I believe otf for windows. Sorry not at home. U add them to the fonts on your computer and usually the software like silhouette picks it up


general rule when it comes down to choosing font file extensions is to use the OTF as it gives you more freedom to access and manipulate each character of the font, alternatives, etc in graphic software programs. In other words, OTFs are the better choice when it comes down to Digtial and Print work. :smiley:


I usually use OTF on my Windows PC, but since I’m not hardcore into cutting machines yet, I can’t answer for that…?

I once read a funny quote for OTF and TTF fonts and it went like this “OTF is Open this font, and TTF is Trash this font”

But silliness aside like a275064452d76321f36336f474cbfacb said


I generally load the otf. I find it’s also a smaller file size as well.


Thank you!

Thank you everyone, I found that really helpful as well.

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Missymeyer wrote a fabulous blog post on the topic, illustrating the difference between OTF and TTF with kittens:


Do check it out - it’s a fun read.


Thanks! That was really helpful :slight_smile:

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Hello Lauren,
I just wanted to add a bit of extra info, I hope to not make it too confusing… The above comments seem correct, but, it can actually be a bit more complicated…
TTF (TrueType fonts) was the format that preceded OTF (OpenType fonts) and was indeed limited by character sets and such.
The issue becomes more complicated with Opentype as that simply refers to the general packaging, if I can describe it as such. With the format, the curves of the actual letters maybe drawn with 2 types of curves, Postscript, or TrueType. They offer different ways of drawing the curves found in letters, and each format has certain advantages. For example, I have found my more complex typefaces often fail in the Postscript language, but work well as TrueTypes.
All this to say, that nowadays, you can get a TTF font that is actually a TrueType Opentype. The Postscript formats are the ones using the OTF extension. So some of my Opentype fonts, are only available in TTF format… You need to therefore check if your TTF is actually an Opentype TTF…
I hope this is not too confusing, as a designer, I still find the whole quite very frustrating!
Hope this helps add a bit of info.
Kind regards,


From the 1ec6f4552fe9252fd10069a7b9e254ae
from the 25747e87a6b38137f7da03e38d3a0695 Facebook group:

Some font knowledge.
The OTF vs TTF , Some good links (OpenType Font vs. TrueType Font)

3554febce9e993962308879c7cdff1cc by Missy Meyer

Fonts: OTF versus TTF – 2b8c9024de1e4389e3b1064c96b4e40d

0b3b4711c139e97da1a4de31ae0e22f1 by Bryan Clark


Yes, as you posted to my cfdc8675b250c8190698c4e919442525, this is confusing. I will have to see about adding this into the FAQ/PSA PDF

There is a lot of incorrect information about this, but here is an article that explains it:


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yeah, confusing. It is Microsoft’s fault. Apple didn’t help much, nor Google. Instead of having new extensions, they reused the old one…

That article does help, some. It certainly was not written for the everyday user. Heck, I get lost in it re-reading it a third and fourth time. It really talks more about tech specs and still doesn’t answer the question of what format to use or buy in the case of


Font vendors usually provide several font resources to choose from. This makes it hard to tell which one you should use. So, what is important?


yeah, so which version do I keep, or does it really matter any more?

I think it asks more questions than it answers. At the very least it needs to be rewritten by a non-technical writer/software engineer. Maybe I just like kittens better…

There is no straightforward answer, as the file extension doesn’t reveal what’s inside, so you need to dive into the technical aspects of a font.

You could use a font manager like MainType to inspect what outlines and what OpenType layout features are in the font.

One outline format might look better on your screen, but that depends on your rasterizer and screen resolution. For print the outline format shouldn’t matter.

If you don’t have the font yet, and want to know whether to buy the .ttf or the .otf, then just make sure both have the same set of OpenType features, to eliminate that issue. Windows users used to prefer TrueType based outlines while desktop publishers preferred CFF based outlines. Hope this helps.

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Thank you!!! I was choosing TTF and it wasn’t working, but OTF does with windows. You are a life saver! :slight_smile:

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Hello Ashley! Welcome to the forum! :slight_smile:

I always go with OTF.

So is there a way to tell if the TTF is actually an Opentype TTF? By default I keep the OTF and get rid of the TTF, but a lot of times there’s only a TTF available for a particular font.

Hello Connie,

Sorry for my late answer.

As far as I know, I do not think it is possible to know if your TTF is actually an Opentype TTF or just a TTF file.

I would simply try to break down what you are trying to do, this would be my approach:
• For me, I create Opentype fonts (OTF or TTF) to be able to use the extra features. So adding extra language support, adding features like Ligatures, alternates or Swash, etc. So if, when you are using a font, they have these features, then you know you are using an Opentype font. These features are not supported by the TrueType format.
• If all you need is to access the basic forms, so lowercase, capitals, basic Latin accents, numerals, etc, then an Opentype or TrueType font should do the job fine. TrueType fonts are limited to the basic 243 glyphs, so any extra features would have to be provided as separate fonts.

So if you can open, or atleast preview the glyphs included in a font, if there is a large character set, then you would know it is an Opentype font, whether OTF (Postscript Opentype) or TTF (TrueType Opentype). One added extra value of Opentype fonts is that they are multiplatform, so they will work both on PC and Mac.

If you open a font in a glyph editor, you could analyse the curves to detect whether they are Bezier (Postscript) or Quadratic (TrueType), but this seems a bit of a complicated method…

I know this situation is a bit confusing and I am sorry I do not have a clearer answer. Maybe some others can chip in if they have ideas. By default, all my fonts are now Opentype, simply because it is the most up to date format and the most versatile. It allows the inclusion of all these extra features that I find super! But as I said, if you just need to write out a word or type with the basic characters, then even the older TrueType format should work fine as well…

Hope this helps a bit…:slight_smile:


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