Pitch and Point Size
The size of a font is specified as either a pitch or point size, depending on whether the font is fixed space or
In fixed space fonts, each character has the same width. Pitch is used to specify the size of fixed space fonts.
It is a measure of the number of characters that will print in one horizontal inch of type. For example, all 10-
pitch fonts print 10 characters per inch (cpi) and all 12-pitch fonts print 12 cpi:
In proportional (or typographic) fonts, every character can have a different width. Since proportional fonts
have characters with different widths, the font size is specified in point size, not pitch. Point size refers to the
height of the characters in the font. A point is defined as 1/72 inch. The characters in a font printed at 24
point will be twice as large as the characters in the same font printed at 12 point.
The following illustration shows samples of a font printed in different point sizes:
The point size of a font is defined as the distance from the top of the tallest character in the font to the
bottom of the lowest character in the font. Due to the definition of point size, different fonts printed at the
same point size may appear quite different in size. This is because there are other font parameters that
affect how the font looks. However, the point size of a font is an excellent specification of the relative size of
a font. The following examples illustrate two very different proportional fonts at 14 point: