Font Facts - Helvetica-like SHX Fonts by 6ju1Nl

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									Facts about HELVETICA-like shape fonts:

Helvetica fonts have been well received over the years. They are clean-looking, easy to read and widely
used. Arial, the font of this document, is a True-Type interpretation of a Helvetica style font.

Visit any web site that offers free downloads and you'll find at least a few Helvetica-like fonts in compiled
shape (SHX) files suitable for use with AutoCad. Over time I, like many others who have spent hours
surfing the internet, have downloaded lots of these fonts to see if they might be suitable for use in CADD
drawings. I discovered, as I'm sure other have, that some of the same font files reside on several web
sites. A few times, it occurred to me that there seemed to be an unusual number of Helvetica-like fonts
out there but my curiosity never spurred me to investigate further until recently.

During a session of computer house keeping, I decided it was time to try to get some idea of how many
fonts I actually had loaded on my computer. I set up a folder named "FONTS" (in a different location from
the AutoCad fonts folder), and created a series of subfolders named A_Fonts, B_Fonts, etc. Only when I
had finished copying font files from other locations to the H_Fonts folder did it become obvious that there
seemed to be more than the usual number of files named: "HELV…", "HLV…", or "H -something or
other". Now, I was finally curious enough to find out why.

After moving all font files that included any or all letter combinations that indicated it might be a Helvetica-
like font to one location, I "decompiled" each file using a freeware program named: "SHX2SHP.EXE". I
saved each shape source (SHP) file in a separate folder named: SHP_FILES because it's easier than
trying to distinguish between SHX and SHP files when they're in the same folder.

Next, I created a "master" font drawing in AutoCad R14.01. This drawing consisted at title line and four
lines for upper and lower case (shift ON and shift OFF) characters that corresponds to the four lines of
characters on the typical U.S. keyboard. The drawing also has lines to record information contained in the
SHP file such as basic character height, extension below the line, line-to-line spacing, and the value of
the "space" (how far the cursor advances when the space bar is pressed).

Below the lines set up for entering basic font characters and information, I created a character chart
which consists of a series of columns with a separate entry for each character location for addresses from
hexadecimal address 0080 (decimal 128) through address 00FF (decimal 256). Each entry includes the
hexadecimal number and decimal number plus key-stroke equivalents (decimal: %%DDD; hexadecimal:
\U+HHHH). The character chart includes addresses that extend far beyond decimal 256 on the chance
that characters defined at these addresses might appear. In some instances, this led to a few revelations.

Once the master drawing was set up, I started creating a series of font-specific drawings by redefining the
master drawing text style to point to each compiled font shape (SHX) file I wanted to examine. I opened
up each corresponding shape source (SHP) file in a separate window using WordPad so I could examine
the coding and enter some basic font specification information in the master font drawing. Each drawing
was saved using the name of the font as the name of the drawing. When I had completed this exercise on
all the Helvetica-like fonts I had accumulated over time, I wound up with over thirty master font drawings
and shape source files. As I suspected, I didn't have over thirty distinct Helvetica style fonts.

After examining these fonts, it became apparent that, for whatever reasons, some people wanted to leave
their mark in the archives of CADD resources without going to the trouble to produce original work. The
persons performing these "electronic shell games" were apparently not bright enough to realize that
renaming a font doesn't mean that they've created a "new" font -especially if the original author had the
foresight to include the name of the font in the shape source file. All they've done is add to the clutter on
CADD resource web sites. As the following descriptions indicate many, but not all, Helvetica-like font files
reposing on various web sites are simply renamed duplicates of other fonts.

In these descriptions, it is assumed that the font was programmed full size so unit values shown are in
inches at 1:1 scale factor.

The starting point for characters in these fonts is 0,0 unless indicated otherwise.



                                                    Page 1
HELVOUT.SHX:
This font is outline only, no lower case, punctuation or numbers.
Basic character height is 25 units, 0 extension below the line; spacing is 25; line-to-line spacing: 30.
Source code was apparently either original or was a drastically modified file. Character height value
would indicate it was either and original work or one where all definitions were rewritten to match the
basic character height.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. Close-up zoom shows poor character shapes.
Although name would indicate Helvetica-like characters, many characters resemble Microgramma or
Hellenic font.

HVBS.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, bold or extra bold stroke font.
Basic character height is 44 units, 14 extension below the line; spacing is 33; line-to-line spacing: 66.
Source code indicates this is a copy of a font named AU103S01.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

HELLTF.SHX, HELVL2.SHX, HVLS.SHX:
These are identical Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke fonts.
Basic character height is 48 units, 14 extension below the line; spacing is 34; line-to-line spacing: 72.
Source code indicates this is a copy of a font named AU101S01.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters. Font is missing tilde, "at" (@) and percent characters.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

HELVM2.SHX, HELMEDF.SHX, HELVFULL.SHX:
These are identical Helvetica-like, filled, bold stroke font.
Basic character height is 48 units, 14 extension below the line; spacing is 34; line-to-line spacing: 72.
Source code indicates this is a copy of a font named AU102S01.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters. Font is missing tilde, "at" (@) and percent characters.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

HVSOLID.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font.
Basic character height is 50 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 35; line-to-line spacing: 75.
Source code indicates the author is "Hot Prospects, Inc."
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode.
No provision for expected special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters. Font has Latin upper case C w/cedilla coded at
address 0080 (dec 128) and Latin small letter u w/diaeresis at 0081 (dec 129). Don't know why.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

HELVET1.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, outline, bold stroke font. The filled version is HELVET2.SHX
Basic character height is 50 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 35; line-to-line spacing: 75.
Source code indicates this was the font named AU102S00, modified with added characters.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. No provision for expected special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters.
                                                      Page 2
Font is coded with some but not all letters in the Latin-1 Supplement but locations are not at current
UNICODE, Inc. recommended addresses.
Ten unit long spaces are defined at addresses 0A9 through 0AC. Possible reason is for incremental
spacing.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

GENHLVT2.SHX, HELVET2.SHX, HELVITIC.SHX:
These are identical Helvetica-like, filled, bold stroke font. Outline version is of HELVET2 is
HELVET1.SHX.
Basic character height is 50 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 35; line-to-line spacing: 75.
Source code indicates this was the font named AU102S01, modified with added characters.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with a few octant arcs. Font is
not coded for vertical mode. No provision for expected special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Underscore is not in proportion to other characters.
Font is coded with some but not all letters in the Latin-1 Supplement but locations are not at current
UNICODE, Inc. recommended addresses.
Ten unit long spaces are defined at addresses 0A9 through 0AC. Possible reason is for incremental
spacing..
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are not formed as well as they could be.

BOLD.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font.
Basic character height is 60 units, 14 extension below the line; spacing is 30; line-to-line spacing: 90.
Source code indicates this was an original font named BOLD, author unknown.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 11 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. Provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Font is coded with curly brackets at 0082 (dec 130) and 0083 (dec131) instead of regular locations (dec
123 and 125). Left curly bracket (dec 123 is defined as 4 unit backspace; Right curly bracket (dec 125) is
defined as 4 unit forward (right) space.
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HELVBLD.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font.
Basic character height is 60 units, 14 extension below the line; spacing is 30; line-to-line spacing: 90.
Source code indicates this is an original font named BOLD with some minor modifications.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 11 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. Provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Curly brackets are at regular locations (dec 123 and 125) (h007B, h007D).
Tilde (~) and single left quote (`) images not defined in this font. Tilde is coded as 3 unit backspace; left
quote is coded as 3 unit forward (right) space. Possibly this is a kerning feature?
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HBOLD.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font. Characters similar shape to BOLD, HELVBLD.SHX
except different specification values.
Basic character height is 75 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 68; line-to-line spacing: 127.
Source code indicates this is an original font named BOLD with some minor modifications.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
No tilde (~) defined. Characters from 007E (tilde) to 00FF defined as 68 unit forward spaces.
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
                                                     Page 3
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HELVBOLD.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font. Characters similar shape to BOLD, HBOLD.SHX
except different specification values.
Basic character height is 75 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 68; line-to-line spacing: 127.
Source code indicates this is an original font named BOLD with some minor modifications.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Only punctuation defined is period and forward slash.
All other punctuation, lower case and characters from 007E (tilde) to 00FF defined as 68 unit forward
spaces. This coding inserts a space where undefined letters should be.
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HOUTL.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, outline, medium stroke font that appears to be an outline version of HBOLD.SHX.
Basic character height is 75 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 68; line-to-line spacing: 127.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
No tilde (~) defined. Characters from 007E (tilde) to 00FF defined as 68 unit forward spaces.
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HELVETIC.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, outline, medium stroke font similar to HOUTL.SHX except some definitions have
been added (tilde, phase,degree and plus or minus) and line to line spacing is 128 instead of 127.
Basic character height is 75 units, 15 extension below the line; spacing is 68; line-to-line spacing: 128.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. Provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p) included.
Uppercase C, D, G, O shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Futura style
Upper and lower case s shapes not consistent with Helvetica style; more like Microgramma style
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are reasonably well formed.

HVBO.SHX:
These are a Helvetica-like, outline, extra bold stroke font.
Source code indicates this is a copy of AU103S00.
Basic character height is 88 units, 28 extension below the line; spacing is 66; line-to-line spacing: 132.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes. Font is not coded for vertical
mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are poorly formed.

HELVL1.SHX, HELVTO.SHX, HVLO.SHX:
These are a Helvetica-like, outline, medium stroke font.
Source code indicates this is a copy of AU101S00.
Basic character height is 96 units, 28 extension below the line; spacing is 67; line-to-line spacing: 144.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are poorly formed.

HELMEDO.SHX, HELVM1.SHX, HELLTO.SHX, HEVLO.SHX, HVMO.SHX, TITLEO.SHX:
These are a Helvetica-like, outline, bold stroke font.
                                                   Page 4
Source code indicates this is a copy of AU102S00.
Basic character height is 96 units, 28 extension below the line; spacing is 67; line-to-line spacing: 144.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, mostly vector codes with Code 10 and 12 arcs. Font
is not coded for vertical mode. No provision for special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p).
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are poorly formed.

HB-HD.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, extra bold stroke font.
Source code indicates this is an original.
Basic character height is 100 units, 30 extension below the line; spacing is 75; line-to-line spacing: 140.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, and coding appropriate to the shape being defined.
Font is not coded for vertical mode.
No underscore or pipe characters defined. Typing underscore key drops base line for subscript (but no
reduced image); typing pipe key raises base line for superscript but no reduced images.
No provision for access to special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p) although they are defined.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Up close, characters are well formed; with a little tweaking and change to UNIFONT format, would be
excellent extra bold font.

X-HLVM1S.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, medium stroke font.
Source code indicates this is an original, possibly "Autograf U".
Basic character height is 100 units, 26 extension below the line; spacing is 60; line-to-line spacing: 139.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, and coding appropriate to the shape being defined.
Font is not coded for vertical mode.
Provision for access to special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p) is included.
Characters are double outlined.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Addresses 00F8 though 00FF are defined as various forward and backspaces
Up close, characters are well formed; with a little tweaking and change to UNIFONT format, would be
excellent medium font.

X-HLVL2S.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, light stroke font.
Source code indicates this is an original; style indicates possible same author as X-HLVM1S.SHX.
Basic character height is 104 units, 27 extension below the line; spacing is 135; line-to-line spacing: 143.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, and coding appropriate to the shape being defined.
Font is not coded for vertical mode.
Provision for access to special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p) is included.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be.
Character definitions appear to have "built-in" double spacing which gives the appearance of a
monospaced font. Because of this feature, characters would probably be used only for major titles.
Up close, characters are well formed; with a little tweaking and change to UNIFONT format, would be
excellent medium font.

X-HELV1A.SHX:
This is a Helvetica-like, filled, single stroke font.
Source code indicates this is an original; style indicates possible same author as X-HLVM1S.SHX.
Basic character height is 98 units, 30 extension below the line; spacing is 59; line-to-line spacing: 150.
Coding is ASCII format (*0,4,…) with hex addresses, and coding appropriate to the shape being defined.
Font is not coded for vertical mode.
Provision for access to special characters (%%c, %%d, %%p) is included.
Some definition coding is not as efficient as it could be although various arc code expressions are used to
form rounded shapes.
Addresses 00F8 though 00FF are defined as various forward and backspaces. It could be assumed that
these are for tweaking character spacing (i.e., kerning).
Some characters are defined with starting points left of 0,0.
Up close, characters are well formed; with a little tweaking and change to UNIFONT format, would be
excellent single stroke font. With added characters would be excellent replacement for ROMANS.SHX.
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