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A twip (abbreviating "twentieth of a point", "twentieth of an inch point" or "twentieth of an Imperial point") is a typographical measurement, defined as 1/20 of a typographical point. One twip is 1/1440 inch or 17.639 µm when derived from the PostScript point at 72 to the inch, and 1/1445.4 inch or 17.573 µm based on the printer's point at 72.27 to the inch.
Twips are screen-independent units to ensure that the proportion of screen elements are the same on all display systems. A twip is defined as being 1/1440 of an inch.
A pixel is a screen-dependent unit, standing for 'picture element'. A pixel is a dot that represents the smallest graphical measurement on a screen. Twips are the default unit of measurement in Visual Basic (version 6 and earlier, prior to VB.NET). Converting between twips and screen pixels is achieved using functions such as TwipsPerPixelX and TwipsPerPixelY.
Twips are a commonly used unit with Symbian OS bitmap images and are also used internally in SWF format. They are also used in Rich Text Format from Microsoft for platform-independent exchange and they are the base length unit in OpenOffice.org and its fork LibreOffice.
Flash internally calculates anything that uses pixels with twips (or 1/20 of a point). Sprites, movie clips and any other object on the stage are positioned with twips. As a result, the coordinates of (for example) sprites are always multiples of 0.05 (i.e. 1/20).
An en is a typographic unit, half of the width of an em. By definition, it is equivalent to half of the height of the font (e.g. in 16 point type it is 8 points). As its name suggests, it is also traditionally the width of an uppercase letter "N". The en dash (–) and en space ( ) are each one en wide.
An agate is 5.5 typographical points, or about 1/14 of an inch. It can refer to either the height of a line of type, or to a font that is 5.5 points. An Agate font was commonly used to display statistical data or legal notices in newspapers. It is the smallest point size that can be printed on newsprint and remain legible.
Truchet is a typography unit invented by Jean Truchet (1657 – February 5, 1729). 1 point (Truchet) is 0.188 mm. This unit is obsolete today and is no longer used.
A pica /ˈpaɪkə/ is a typographic unit of measure corresponding to 1⁄72 of its respective foot, and therefore to 1⁄6 of an inch. The pica contains 12 point units of measure.
The pica originated around 1785, when François-Ambroise “L'éclat” Didot (1730–1804) refined the typographic measures system created by Pierre Simon Fournier le Jeune (1712–1768). He replaced the traditional measures of cicéro, Petit-Roman, and Gros-Text with “ten-point”, “twelve-point”, etc.
To date, in printing these three pica measures are used:
The French pica of 12 Didot points (also called cicéro) generally is: 12 × 0.376 = 4.512 mm (0.177 in).
The American pica measure of 0.013837 ft. (1⁄72.27 ft). Thus, a pica is 0.166044 in. (4.2175 mm)
The contemporary computer pica is 1⁄72 of the International foot of 1959, i.e. 4.233 mm or 0.166 in. Notably, Adobe PostScript promoted the pica unit of measure that is the standard in contemporary printing, as in home computers and printers.
Note that these definitions are different from a typewriter's pica setting, which denotes a type size of ten characters per horizontal inch.
A cicero is a unit of measure used in typography in Italy, France and other continental European countries, first used by Pannartz and Sweynheim in 1468 for the edition of Cicero's Epistles, Ad Familiares. The font size thus acquired the name cicero.
It is 1⁄6 of the historical French inch, and is divided into 12 points, known in English as French points or Didot points. The unit of the cicero is similar to an English pica, although the French inch was slightly larger than the English inch. There are about 1.063 picas to a cicero; a pica is 4.23333333 mm and a cicero is 4.5 mm.
Cicero (and the points derived from cicero) was used in the early days of typography in continental Europe. In modern times, all computers use pica (and the points derived from pica) as font size measurement – alongside millimeters in countries using the metric system – for line length and paper size measurement.
IN refers to a French variant of the point and is equivalent to 0.4mm.
In Europe, the Didot point system was created by François-Ambroise Didot (1730–1804) in c. 1783. n Didot’s point system:
1 point = 1⁄6 ligne = 1⁄72 French Royal inch = 15 625⁄41 559 mm ≤ 0.375 971 510 4 mm, however in practice mostly: 0.376 000 mm, i.e. + 0.0076%.
In Didot’s system, some point sizes have traditional names such as Cicero (before introduction of point systems, type sizes were called by names such as Cicero, Pica, Ruby, Long Primer, etc.). The following is a table of Didot type size names: