A bitmapped font is either a screen or printer font in which each character of the font is composed of a pattern of small dots. In order to display or even print a bitmapped font, it needs to keep the entire representation of each character in its memory. The individual characters each have an exact pattern of dots that does not change.
Technipages Explains Bitmapped Font
As far as terminology goes, a bitmapped font refers to an entire and complete set of characters in a specific typeface, weight, posture and type size. If even one of these factors is different on a word or character, the computer needs to load a second full set of characters to be able to display or print everything correctly.
That means that, if you use say Palatino 12 and Palatino Italic 14, the computer needs to load two complete sets of characters into the computer’s memory, even though for non-bitmapped fonts, this would likely not be the case, as they can scale up or down to different font sizes easily.
If you try to scale a bitmapped font, you end up with something called aliasing – staircase distortions that make the edges and borders of any given letter or word seem jaunty and torn up. The opposite of a bitmapped font is a scalable font – as it happens, this is now the standards, and word-processing programs and online services will use scalable versions of fonts wherever possible, to avoid jagged edges and the need to load several different fonts for a document.
Common Uses of Bitmapped Font
- Bitmapped fonts feature a specific pattern of dots in letters – these dots cannot be rearranged or changed.
- Because of the way it works, a bitmapped font can’t scale up or down – this causes jagged edges and a distorted effect on the font.
- Bitmapped fonts are largely outdated now, and wherever possible, scalable fonts are used instead.
Common Misuses of Bitmapped Font
- A bitmapped font is a type of font comprised of individual dots, which makes it more easily scalable.