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TrueEffects MoreFonts

by Alan Zisman (c) 1993. First published in Our Computer Player, February 19, 1993

Fonts just seem to be everywhere.

In the dark ages (i.e. before the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990), it
seemed like PC users could have any font and size they wanted, as long as
it was Courier 10 pt... and were forced to drool with envy at their
friends or co-workers with Macs for their fancy output.

Yes... you theoretically could install softfonts with applications
like Word Perfect, but hardly anyone did. The fonts took forever to
install, took up tons of hard disk, and would only work with a single
application. Besides, you couldn't see what they'd look like on screen,
without switching to an uneditable preview mode.

The mass acceptance of Windows has ended that. The graphics user interface
meant that you could see your font and size on screen while you worked.
And any font you installed was available to all your applications. Well,
all your Windows applications anyway. And with the emergence of scalable
fonts and font managers, you didn't need to install separate screen and
printer fonts, all at a bunch of different sizes. (Yes, I hear all you
Mac users chuckling at PC folks finally getting abilities that you've had
for years).

The Windows 3.0 era was marked by a range of competing 3rd party font
managers, with Adobe Type Manager (ATM) getting most of the market. Windows
3.1, however, came with a scalable font manager, TrueType (TT), built in
(just like System 7 on the Mac, but faster).  The last year has seen an
explosion of font packages, mostly in the TrueType format, driving down
prices.With TrueType established as THE STANDARD, the pressure is on
other companies to somehow distinguish themselves from the crowd... to show
that their's is not YET ANOTHER FONT PACKAGE (YAFP).

MicroLogic Software originally started out with a DOS font package, MOREFONTS,
that gave softfont capabilities to DOS programs such as Word Perfect or
Microsoft Word. When TrueType became the default, they were
able to make use of this experience to produce a number of products that
merge their DOS experience with this new standard.

For example, the recently released TRUETYPE for DOS ($99 US list) permits
a user to use any TrueType font with the DOS versions of Word Perfect,
MS-Word, or MS-Works. While the 36 fonts included are okay, but dull, the
package lets the user add special effects to these as well as any of the
thousand or more TrueType fonts now avaible.

MOREFONTS for WINDOWS remains a proprietary font manager. If that was all
it was, it would seem like an anachronism, trying to hold out against the
TrueType standard. Why get stuck with yet another font standard with a limited
selection of fonts, and another font manager eating up memory and disk
space when TrueType is built into Windows?  (Adobe Type Manager is a
special case, as Adobe Type 1 fonts are the standard in the high-end
publishing industry, and their are tens of thousands of Type 1 fonts
available).

MOREFONTS provides the same range of special effects as the other MicroLogic
products. You can start with any of the included fonts, and customize it
by adding a pattern (horizontal lines, stars, etc), an outline, a shadow,
and a background, and save the result as a new font. The biggest potential
market for this product, however, is with users of Word Perfect for Windows.

WP-WIN lets you use a standard WP-DOS printer driver in place of the normal
Windows printer drivers. This can be useful for a number of reasons:
-- Word Perfect supports a vast range of printers, far more than Windows.
-- the Word Perfect printer drivers print faster than the Windows equivalent.
-- users of both the DOS and Windows versions can be assured of identical
output by using the same drivers.
-- Word Perfect supports an enormous character set. These special characters
are only available by using the Word Perfect printer drivers.
However, use of the Word Perfect printer drivers cuts users off from the
TrueType, Adobe Type 1 or other fonts available to users of the Windows
printer drivers. Up to now, Word Perfect for Windows users had to choose
between their Windows fonts, or the advantages of sticking with Word
Perfect's drivers.

MOREFONTS builds on MicroLogic's experience using fonts with Word Perfect
(DOS). This Windows package lets you use its fonts with Word Perfect for
Windows' special printer drivers. As well, when it is installed, ATM,
TrueType, and Bitstream FaceLift fonts can also be used with these printer
drivers. This $149 (US list) package solves the dilemma for Word Perfect
users.

But you  use Windows but don't use Word Perfect for Windows. MicroLogic
isn't about to lose you as a potential customer. It took the special
effects from TRUETYPE for DOS or MOREFONTS and has packaged it as a stand-
alone product, TRUE EFFECTS for WINDOWS at a likeable $59 US list.

TRUE EFFECTS lets you customize any installed TrueType font, adding the
smae range of patterns, outlines, shadows, and backgrounds available in
the other products to the fonts you already own. Other products, such as
Bitstream's MAKEUP, let you add special effects to fonts. With these
products, however, you type out your desired characters (a headline or
logo, for example), and customize the letters. The result is saved as a
graphic that can be pasted into a document from your word processor or
other program.

TRUE EFFECTS works differently. Here, you simply choose a font, and add
the desired effects. )There are about 50,000 possible combinations).
You see the results on-screen as you work. When you're
satisfied, you can install your creation as a new font. That means that
you can use it as you would any other font... in any of your Windows
applications, not just as a single headline, but any other time you want
the same effect, all without opening another application, as you would
with MAEKUP or Adobe TYPE ALIGN.

Like MOREFONTS for WINDOWS, TRUE EFFECTS lets you use its output with
Word Perfect for Windows' special printer drivers.

Both products have slim system requirements. TRUE EFFECTS takes a paltry
500k of hard disk space, and even with its collection of 28 fonts,
MOREFONTS takes a reasonable 1.2 meg of space. Their manuals are slim as
well; less than 20 pages each excluding a catalogue of extra fonts you can
order. This brevity is refreshing... these programs do what they claim
and that's all.

The MOREFONTS documentation has a nice feature I wish more Windows software
producers would emulate; it has a page discussing how to remove the software--
what files are placed in your \Windows and \Windows\System directories.
Unfortunately, the TRUE EFFECTS documentation doesn't include this useful
information.

By building on their experience working with Word Perfect under DOS,
MicroLogic has avoided producing Yet Another Font Package. They have
modestly avoided trying to appeal to all people; MOREFONTS for
WINDOWS is primarily of interest to Word Perfect for Windows users.
TRUE EFFECTS may have a wider market, while limiting itself to special
effects generation at an affordable price.

MOREFONTS for WINDOWS
list price $149.95 (US)

TRUE EFFECTS for WINDOWS
list price $59.95 (US)

both from:

MICROLOGIC SOFTWARE
1351 Ocena Avenue
Emeryville, CA
94608-1128 USA
(510)652-5464
FAX (510) 652-5040
 



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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan