A bitmap font, also known as a pixel typeface or a raster font, is a type of computer font that represents each character as a table of pixels, rather than a collection of lines or strokes. In other words, each glyph is stored as an array of pixels, making it a collection of glyph-based raster images.
Bitmap fonts are used when a small, quickly loading font is necessary, and are typically found in older computer systems that employed character-based displays. They are still used in many modern software packages and are a traditional standard in the font world.
A bitmapped typeface requires the computer to store the whole representation of each character in memory in order to display or even print it. This means that if a typeface has three sizes and any combination of bold and italic, there must be 12 full sets of photos comprising an image for every character.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bitmap Fonts
What is the difference between a bitmap font and an outline font?
The main difference between bitmap fonts and outline fonts is how they store each character. Bitmap fonts store each unique letter form as a table of pixels, whereas outline fonts save each character as a collection of lines or strokes.
Why are bitmap fonts used in older computer systems?
Bitmap fonts were popular on older computer systems that employed character-based displays because they are quick and simple to render into a screen or printer by just transferring the bits for the character.
Are bitmap fonts still used today?
Yes, bitmap fonts are still used in many modern software packages.
Overall, a bitmap font is a type of computer font that creates its symbols using a unit of representation known as a picture element, or pixel. By storing each glyph as an array of pixels, bitmap fonts can be quickly and easily rendered into a screen or printer, making them a popular choice for older computer systems and modern software packages alike.