A screen font is half of a pair – it pairs with a print font. Where the print font is the one that is installed and stored on a printer, the screen font is the one that is shown on the monitor. The two are identical in appearance, but not the same – a screen font is installed on the computer and mimics what the user will see once a document is printed on paper. Commonly, bitmapped fonts are used as screen fonts.
Technipages Explains Screen Font
These are fonts that are made up of individual dots that form each of the characters. On standard-resolution monitors, screen fonts show exactly what a print copy will show. As modern laser printers are somewhat limited in resolution to about 4800 dots per inch or dpi, that means that at an overly high screen resolution, what is shown on the screen will slightly differ from what would be visible on a printed page.
In order to improve the accuracy of the match between screen and print font, several type software programs were developed. Examples include Microsoft’s ClearType, Adobe’s Type Manager, and the joint Apple-Microsoft project TrueType. Each of these programs served the same purpose, and by now, versions of them are integrated into just about every operating system out there – to the benefit of the users. Screen fonts are part of what is called a WYSIWYG editor – What You See Is What You Get. Of course, not just fonts match what an editor prints later – images and layouts do as well. Those elements, along with the screen fonts the user chooses make up the entirety of the document both pre- and post-print.
Common Uses of Screen Font
- Screen fonts are installed on the computer that displays them, unlike print fonts.
- Different screen fonts can be of different types – both bitmapped and scalable fonts are possible.
- While a screen font is supposed to match its print font exactly, at overly huge screen resolutions, this is no longer possible.
Common Misuses of Screen Font
- A screen font is a web exclusive font that can’t be printed.