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Feb 1991

Going beyond the basics: Bitstream Fontware Starter Kit. (Software Review) (The Practitioner and the Computer) (evaluation)

by Africa, Geraldo L.

    Abstract- Bitstream Fontware 3.0 Starter Kit for WordPerfect 5.0 and 5.1 is a software package for creating a wide variety of fonts for the Hewlett-Packard series of laser printers. The Fontware requires 1,342KB (kilobytes) of space on a hard disk and 700KB for the three font typeface programs that come with the kit. The Fontware offers five character sets for the fonts: ASCII, ASCII Business, ASCII Technical, HP Roman 8, and IBM PC. The typefaces come in Charter, Dutch, and Swiss. The Dutch and Swiss typefaces come in Roman, Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic typefaces. The Fontware, which retails for $29.95, requires an IBM PC AT or compatible with a minimum of 640KB of RAM, a hard disk, a high- or double-density floppy drive, and WordPerfect 5.0 or 5.1.

The advent of the laser printer was a boon to PC users. Suddenly, people did not have to put up with the hammering and clunking of daisy- wheel printers or the inferior print quality of dot matrix printers.

Laser printers, such as the Hewlett Packard LaserJet Series II, were fast, quiet and produced near typeset-quality output.

The LaserJet quickly became an industry standard, and with its built- in fonts like Courier at 10 characters per inch (cpi) and Line Printer at 16.67 cpi, it could produce output for both normal and compressed print. That's quite adequate for most business correspondence and spreadsheet printing requirements.

However, if you want your documents to stand out from the ordinary and impress your clients, the typewriter-like Courier font of the LaserJet just won't do it. To spruce up your documents, you need a variety of fonts.

Fonts are More Than Letter on a


Different fonts convey different ideas to your reader. The font you choose can help get your message across and create a positive impression. It can make your document appear more formal and your firm more professional to your clients. With an expanded variety of fonts, ordinary letters and reports can be transformed into sophisticated, more effective means of communication.

Now that you've decided to expand your use of fonts what's next? How do you get them? Before you start rushing out to your local HP dealer and demanding fonts for your printer, there are a few "font facts" of which you should be aware.

Hard Fonts and Soft Fonts

Fonts can be classified into two categories: hard fonts and soft fonts. Hard fonts are the fonts that come built-in with your computer. Courier and Line Printer are examples of the fonts that reside in your LaserJet. Optional font cartridges that you plug into your printer may also be classified as containing hard fonts because the cartridge becomes a part of the printer as it's plugged in. The advantage of hard fonts is that they're always in the printer when you need them and they don't use up any of the printer's precious memory. Soft fonts, on the other hand, are fonts that "come in diskettes." Whereas hard fonts alrready reside in the printer upon startup, soft fonts initially reside in the computer and have to be downloaded to the printer's memore before the printer can access them. downloading the font is an additional step, but it also gives you the flexibility of loading the printer with only the fonts you need. The real advantage of soft fonts over hard fonts is that you can create the font in the exact size, called "points," and the exact attribute (i.e., roman or plain, bold, italic, bold italic, etc.) you desire. For example, you could create a font such as Dutch Bold Italic at 24 points or 72 points if that's what suits your fancy. With a font cartridge, the fonts that come with the cartridge are the only fonts you get. For example, if your font cartridge came with the Helvetica Bold font at 14.44 points and you wanted the same font at the 15 point size, you're out of luck.

The software that we're reviewing this month is a font creation package of the soft-font variety. It's called Bitstream Starter Kit for WordPerfect 5.0 and WordPerfect 5.1. As its name implies, the kit was designed to work with versions 5.0 and 5.1 of the WordPerfect word processing program, which is one of the most popular word processing software packages around. Bitstream also makes Fontware Starter Kits for other programs.


Bitstream provides users with two manuals that come with the package. One is a "generic" user's manual that applies to all fontware starter kits regardless of the program. The other is a WordPerfect-specific user's guide.

Installing the program could be easier. The documentation makes you go back and forth between the two manuals in order to install the program. If you will be using WordPerfect 5.0, you must check to see if your program is dated 7/11/89 or later and that the printer file, WPRINT1.ALL for LaserJets, is dated 9/16/89 or later. Fontware works with all releases of WordPerfect 5.1.

The manuals also recommend reducing the size of the printers file prior to installing Fontware by using WordPerfect's PTR program. Although the installation documentation gives step by step instructions on how to do all this, the constant back and forth is still annoying and cumbersome.

When you run Fontware for the first time, it will prompt you for the application you will use--either the WordPerfect 5.0, Wordperfect 5.1, or both. The program then asks you for the name of your printer. Fontware 3.0 supports the HP Laserjet Series II and IIP among its printers. For those of you who own a LaserJet III, our review software did not have that option in its printer list. You can, however, select the HP II driver instead. After selecting the printer, the program determines if you have enough disk space left to install Fontware. Fontware uses 1342K of hard disk space. It requires an additional 700K for the three typeface packages that come with the kit. If disk space is sufficient, the program goes ahead and installs itself--prompting you for the rest of the program diskettes.

When it's done, you have to specify through the "control panel" in which directory your .ALL fill is located as well as in which directory you want to put your fonts.

Having done that, you have to specify the printer (again!) for which you will be creating fonts and in what orientation you want them created i.e., portrait, landscape or both.

Depending on your purposes and the amount of free disk space available, you will choose a character set for the fonts you create from the following list.

* ASCII. This set has 95 characters. Select ASCII when making very large fonts or when disk space is limited.

* ASCII Business. 110 characters composed of ASCII plus, 15 additional characters including double quotes, bullets, and the copyright mark.

* ASCII Technical. 118 characters.

* HP Roman 8. The standard HP Roman 8 character set which is composed of 190 characters.

* IBM PC. The standard IBM PC character set composed of 254 characters.

The Fun Begins

Once installation is complete, you can create the individual fonts through the Make Fonts menu.

The Fontware package comes with 3 typefaces: Charter, Dutch, and Swiss. The Dutch and Swiss typefaces cone in the Roman, Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic faces. To make fonts, you specify the sizes you want for each typeface. You must be careful to decide exactly what size font you want for each face because each font created takes up a certain amount of disk space. Bitstream Charter at the 12 point size for portrait orientation, for example, uses up 14,109 bytes of disk space. If you choose to also create the landscape font, you would use up an additional 14,441 bytes of disk space. Also, bigger point sizes use up significantly more disk space. A 72 point version of Bitstream Charter would use up 725K bytes of storage for both portrait and landscape versions. It's easy to add additional fonts later on, so it's a good idea to create only the fonts that are needed.

Once the fonts are created, you can exit Fontware and use the fonts in WordPerfect by selecting them from the Base Fonts menu, initializing the printer, and printing.

For those with plenty of disk space that want a quick and easy install without having to fiddle around with WordPerfect's PTR program, ignore the manuals' suggestion to reduce the size of the WordPerfect printer file prior to installation. That alone would save a lot of time (and effort).

Once you get past installing and creating your fonts, the rest is easy. You suddenly have more fonts available than you knew existed for your use in WordPerfect. The effects of the new fonts on your documents are striking. The quality is very good in both fonts that are monospaced like Courier and those that make use of "kerning" or proportional spacing like Dutch and Charter.

You Will No Longer Be Satisfied

With The Basics

With the excellent quality of your printouts, you find yourself craving for more fonts. Go ahead and create more. Just watch your disk space. It's easy to get carried away and fill your hard disk with fonts. One thing's for sure though, your documents will never look the same again. Call WordPerfect at 1-800-222-9409. Fontware 3.0 Starter Kit for WordPerfect 5.0 and WordPerfect 5.1 $29.95.

Systems requirements:

An IBM PC AT or 100% compatible system with 640 KB RAM, hard disk, high-density or double-density 5.25 or 3.5 inch disk drive. WordPerfect 5.0 and/or WordPerfect 5.1.


By Design Software to Liven Up

WordPerfect Documents

By Design is a new graphic enhancing software package from Bethesda Softworks. This new product enables users of WordPerfect word processing software to produce rather impressive documents with relative ease.

By Design software includes: basic design tools that highlight and enhance the text in a document as the user desires; 50 page designs that can be customized for professional or personal use; and a clip art library to spice up reports, memos, letters, etc.

By Design is easy to use, but does require some time to become familiarized with all of the features. Page designs created with By Design can either be printed on a laser printer or the design can be saved on disk, and then give to a printer to produce high-quality copies (due to greater dots-per-inch resolution of the professional printer's equipment over an ordinary laser printer).

* Price: $89.95

* Requirements: Printer that supports graphics. 640K and a hard drive (with 900K free), operating within WordPerfect 5.0 or 5.1. Bethesda Softwrks 15235 Shady Grove Road/Suite 100 Rockville, MD 20850

Convenient Dispenser for Post-It


3M Commercial Office Supply Division has expanded the Post-It Notes market by introducing a clever dispenser that mounts on any surface. The dispenser holds either of the two most popular sizes of Post-Its (3" x 3" or 3" x 5"). The only catch is that a new type of Post-It must be used with the dispenser--one that is sticky on alternating sides of the pad allowing for easy dispensing. Otherwise, this is a great convenience. Available through office supply stores.

Battery Operated Label Maker

Brother has introduced the latest addition to its P-touch line of personal label makers--the P-touch III. This compact machine is easy to use and understand, makes horizontal or vertical labels, on various colored backgrounds, and is affordable.

The labels are produced on a plastic film that is purchased separately and comes in a cartridge that snaps into place. Turn the machine on, type your label, press "PRINT," and out comes your label--ready to be adhered to files, notebooks, reference books, personal property, or any other number of uses.

The only drawback seems to be the price of the tape cartridges--the retail price is approximately $34.95, and you only get 50 feet for that price (at 3.5" average length per label, that works out to about 20 cents per label, assuming you make no mistakes). However, the expected street price for the cartridges is approximately $20.

* Price: $249.95 (expected street price of $150); tape cartridges, $34.95 (expected street price of $20).

* Requirements: Four "C" batteries.

By Gerardo L. Africa, Computer Technician.

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