[NTG-pdftex] Using CFF (Type 1C) instead of Type 1 fonts

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Dec 19 00:56:56 CET 2017

On 2017-12-18 at 15:42:15 +0000, Markus Kuhn wrote:

 > PDFs produced by pdftex can shrink significantly in size
 > when processed through ghostscript's pdfwrite driver.
 > I understand a main reason for that is that ghostscript
 > converts any Type 1 fonts that it finds into CFF (aka Type 1C)
 > fonts.
 > I also understand that
 >   - Type 1 fonts are eexec-encrypted, and such ciphertext cannot
 >     benefit from PDF's (de)flate compression.
 >   - CFF fonts, on the other hand, are a compacter plain-text
 >     format and compress well.
 >   - CFF fonts are also compatible with Type1, i.e. it
 >     is possible to convert any Type 1 font into a CFF font
 >     without loss of information.
 > Is all of this correct?

Hi Markus,
yes, but CFF doesn't compress plain-text.  The keywords you see in
a disassembled font are replaced by op-codes (small numbers) like

   00 version
   01 Notice
   02 FullName
   03 FamilyName
   04 Weight
   05 FontBBox

Thus a CFF font is quite compact even before it's compressed.

 > If so, isn't the continued use of Type 1 fonts in the TeX ecosystem
 > an anachronism?
 > Shouldn't TeXLive ship instead CFF/Type 1C versions of the BlueSky
 > Computer Modern fonts and shouldn't tools like pdftex switch to
 > using them directly?

TeX Live just provides what people upload to CTAN.  It's not possible
to modify any packages.  Even if we could write a script which
converts all Type 1 fonts to CFF, we still have to adapt the .map
files.  But this isn't enough, see below.
 > Has someone looked into what would be involved with a Type 1
 > to CFF migration for pdftex?

pdftex and dvips create subsets of fonts and thus have to understand
the font format.  AFAIK they only understand Type 1 and Type 3 and
pdftex also understands TTF.  In order to support CFF, pdftex and
dvips (which fortunately share the same code for Type 1 subsetting)
must be enabled to convert Type 1 to CFF on the fly.  If such code
already exists in dvipdfm, all we need is a volunteer who does the

 > It seems at the moment, pdftex is actually replacing any
 > Type 1C glyphs that it finds in a PDF file embedded with
 > \pdfximage with the much less space-efficient Type 1 glyphs
 > that it find in its font map files.

I don't think that pdftex replaces glyphs.  That would require that
pdftex understands CFF.  I assume that pdftex first determines whether
a font with the same name exists within the TEXMF tree.  If true, it
drops the embedded font and creates a common subset of the glyphs used
in the embedded file and the main document.  But the actual glyphs
come from the font found in the TEXMF tree.

Markus, I'm glad that you asked.  I'm convinced that Type 1 fonts can
be converted to CFF on the fly reliably and that many people enjoy the
smaller PDF files.  I don't see any technical restrictions.  We just
need volunteers.


Reinhard Kotucha                            Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                    mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de

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