Calamus (DTP)

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Calamus is a desktop publishing application, built for the Atari ST computer.[1] The first version was released on July 1, 1987 by the former German software company DMC GmbH. Calamus is still supported by its German owner company, invers Software, and also runs under a built-in and transparent Atari emulator on Windows, or on other platforms such as Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, using any available TOS emulator.

Calamus is a software RIP application which generates high-quality output in any resolution. It was one of the first DTP applications supporting an own vector font format, notable for its support for automatic kerning even where adjacent characters are set in different fonts or at different sizes. Its high modularity offers features for almost every purpose in desktop publishing. Calamus also was one of the first DTP apps to support real virtual objects and frames, nondestructive vector masks, and editable PS/PDF import. Its (adjustable) measurement base of 1/10,000mm allows accurate positioning of elements.

Calamus was ported to Windows by MGI Software and was released as Calamus 95.

The current[when?] version of Calamus is Calamus SL2006, also available as SLC2006 (complete edition with all additional modules) and L2006 (lite edition with restricted number of modules).

Calamus Intelligent Kerning[edit]

Kerning in Calamus works with sets of left and right bounds measured at different heights for each glyph

Rather than using kerning pairs or relying on simple side-bearing measurements, Calamus’ native fonts encode left and right bounds for each character at eight different latitudes.[2] Unlike the kerning information in other formats, the resulting jigsaw-pieces can be used to fit characters together, even if those characters are from different fonts or if they are set at different sizes.

In contrast, the kerning implementation in OpenType and TrueType only works when adjacent characters are part of the same font, which can result in character collisions or poor kerning in some instances. The alternative is to use optical kerning, where the shapes of the characters are analysed to determine the appropriate distances; Calamus’ approach might be regarded as a simplification of that, working with a low-resolution version of the final character.


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