Font Anatomy

A complete set of type of one size and face.  


Font Height (FH) - Refers to the height of the font from the lowest descender to the highest ascender. Originally Font Height or type size referred to the size of the metal block that held the letter form. Any one letter will always be somewhat smaller than the type size itself because no single letter form has both ascender and descender strokes.

Height (H) - Refers to the height of an actual character image. W (Width) - Refers to the width of an actual character image.

Cell Width (CW) - Refers to the width of the cell containing the character. In monospace fonts, this is also the basis for "pitch," expressed as CPI (Characters per Inch).

Ascender Line ( AL ) - Refers to the top of ascending characters. The distance that ascenders extend above the x-height is set by the ascender line. This also varies from one typeface to another. Often the ascender height is not the same as the height of capital letters.

Cap Height (CH) - refers to the height of the capital letters.

X -Height (XH) - Refers to the height of the lower case letters above the baseline (usually the letter x).  If you look carefully at type on a page, you will notice that most of the information that identifies the individual letters is contained between the base line and the x-height line. Typefaces with larger x-heights look larger and are usually easier to read than those with smaller x-heights.

Base Line (BL) - Refers to the line on which the characters rest.  The base line marks the bottom of most letters, except g, j, p, q, and y. These five letters have strokes that reach below the base line.

Descender Line (DL) - Refers to the distance that characters extend below the baseline. Different typefaces use different length descenders.

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