Panose: is there a purpose for it nowadays?

I've looked over all the relevant messages in this forum and done a fair bit of research online and I have yet to conclude that the PANOSE value for a font is really all that useful, but I certainly don't claim to even remotely be an expert on the matter. It seems like it had good intentions, such as helping to categorize fonts and make them more searchable, but beyond that, I'm not sure I understand the value of putting it together. Is there a really good reason to calculate it? Or can I just select the "Any" value for each category and move on? I would really appreciate hearing the thoughts of anyone who understands it better.


  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 273
    Panose would be useful if it wasn't for the many typefaces which just have 'any' for all the categories.

    Because there are a huge percentage of typefaces with no useful information in the Panose numbers people tend not to use it.

    Because people tend not to use it typeface designers question the usefulness of putting any useful information in there.

    Chicken and egg!
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    I stopped putting Panose values in fonts when I realized that those which FontLab generates automatically can cause mistakes, as some layout applications use this data for things like weight, rather than what I intended and entered elsewhere. Sorry, but I forget the exact circumstances.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    edited March 2018
    I have never met a graphic designer who has even heard of PANOSE (or at least never mentioned it). Nor has anyone ever complained to me about not having PANOSE values in my fonts. 
  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 262
    My suspicions have been confirmed. Thanks all!
  • I use Any for all fields since I have absolutely no idea how to apply PANOSE to Arabic (or Latin for that matter, but I don’t do Latin).
  • I remember a case where style-linking from Regular to Bold wouldn’t work in MS Office if the PANOSE weight values weren’t set correctly. It was not fully obvious, but only when printing or reopening a document, I don’t remember exactly, and it was probably about 10 years ago.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,389
    edited March 2018
    I use Any for all fields since I have absolutely no idea how to apply PANOSE to Arabic (or Latin for that matter, but I don’t do Latin).
    Arabic was never done. I commissioned Ben Bauermeister to make a Devanagari edition, and he had done Cyrillic and Japanese at HP, as I recall (maybe wrong)
  • Erwin DenissenErwin Denissen Posts: 291
    edited March 2018
    I know people who use a font manager might appreciate font properties like Panose, font family classification, and vendor id.

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited December 2019
    :D But how can you disregard PANOSE,
    > It gives that special Professional Touch to your fonts.
    > “similar” is in the eye of the “Panoser.”
    (, 2005)
  • I think Office is still using it somewhere -- maybe for monospace font detection.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,704
    edited December 2019
    @Belleve Invis is correct.

    Importantly—at least this was true years ago, no idea if it is still so today—if you give a font a monospace flag in Panose, Microsoft Word will ignore the actual advance widths and treat it as monospaced.
  • Good point. But isn't that the job of a font editor to set this when I set the Monospaced flag otherwise?
    Other than that, is it viable to just set the most basic entries that you know what should be set in... wait what. FontLab doesn't even have a Panose GUI. I've seen one in FontForge, though. Is there an external “Panoser” program?
  • You can edit PANOSE numbers in FLS 5.2 (can't say about FLS7...)

    Alternatively, you can use OTMaster to edit the entries (under OS/2 table).
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