[pdftex] pdftex - Support for Type3 fonts

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Fri Aug 5 01:49:37 CEST 2016

Hi Karl, Pali,

On Aug 5, 2016, at 8:07 AM, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org<mailto:karl at freefriends.org>> wrote:

   I'm just asking if such thing is supported by pdftex...

As the error message said: there's nothing in pdftex that can handle
arbitrary incoming Type 3 fonts, if that's what you're after.  As far as
I know.

PDF does support a form of Type 3 fonts (which is why pdftex can write
them from pk bitmaps).  It's similar to but simplified from PostScript
Type 3.  Described in section "9.6.5 Type 3 Fonts" (p.266ff.) in the
PDF32000_2008.pdf reference.


PDF Type 3 fonts can contain arbitrary PDF graphics operators,
but no hinting. They must be packaged correctly.

Compare this with PostScript Type 3 fonts,
which can contain arbitrary PostScript graphics operators.
A PDF reader need not support PostScript Type 3 fonts,
but should support PDF Type 3 fonts.

One purpose of PDF was to *not* require a full PostScript
engine, with its Turing-completeness and associated
vulnerability to malicious attacks from within documents.

Thus, I see no reason in principle why pdftex could not read them, if
someone wants to put in the work.  I don't recall the question ever
coming up before.

Pali, can you provide a version of your example where pdftex
complained about the Type 3 font?
Maybe it used PostScript operators that are not part of PDF,
or something else was wrong with how the font was structured?

(Coincidentally, there was an interesting talk at TUG16 about using
Type3 fonts to do math operator sizing, which was the first time I'd
seen Type 3 fonts come up in ages.




Dr Ross Moore
Mathematics Dept | Level 2, S2.638 AHH
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia

T: +61 2 9850 8955  |  F: +61 2 9850 8114
M:+61 407 288 255  |  E: ross.moore at mq.edu.au<mailto:ross.moore at mq.edu.au>


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