TAS Font Info

The Tasmanian fonts are designed in strict accordance with the current Tasmanian style as described in the 2009 Tasmanian Education Department publication Handwriting (updated in 2016 and 2020) * as well as sections of its predecessor Basic Handwriting by Marlene Cox, Tasmanian Education Department,1985 (ISBN 0 7246 1313 7).

The unjoined form of the Tasmanian style is TAS Beginner GT. The transitional TAS PreCursive GT is also unjoined but the letters have cursive entries and exits which the writer needs to master as they move towards fully joined writing.

Tasmania and Queensland share a convention regarding the drawing of the lowercase “d” that is different to the other regions – the “d” is drawn with an exit tail whereas the similarly-shaped “a” is not. The stated reason for this is to prevent the student, who is new to writing & reading, from confusing d with b (being mirror-images of each other) and also from confusing d with a (differing only in the length of their vertical stem). The TAS Beginner GT font contains the d with a tail as the default lettershape but they also contain the alternate d with no tail as an option.

The weight of the Regular fonts is intended to match the average pen thickness of illustrations in Handwriting. The Thick weight is approximately 170% of the Regular weight as per common typographic practice.

The TAS Beginner GT fonts are available as Regular (with and without directional arrows), OutIined (with and without directional arrows), Dotted (with and without directional arrows) and Thick. The TAS PreCursive GT fonts are available as Regular, Thick and OutIined. These 8 fonts plus PDF Manual comprises the Beginner Pack.

Users may notice a discrepancy between the TAS Beginner GT Arrow font and the information in Handwriting in regard to the sequential numbering of hand-movements used in the teaching of letter formation. In Handwriting the author (most of the time, but not always) uses a separate number to indicate when the hand-movement undergoes a change of direction even if there has been no actual lifting of the pen from the page. For clarity and consistency, the TAS Beginner GT Arrow font employs the same convention used in the syllabus documents of every other Australian region ie that hand movements are numbered separately only if the pen is lifted from the page at the end of one movement and relocated before starting the next movement.

When fully joined, PreCursive becomes the Tasmanian Cursive style. The automatically-joining fully cursive font TAS Cursive GT Pro is available as a separate package with its own Manual. The TAS Cursive GT Pro font is supplied in one weight which is slightly thinner than the stand-alone TAS Beginner GT-Regular and TAS PreCursive GT-Regular fonts to reflect the fact that, by the time the student begins cursive writing, they will be probably be using more refined writing implements such as ball-point pens etc. Also, the lighter weight allows the cursive joins to be displayed more accurately and clearly. There are no Thick, Outlined, Dotted or Directional Arrow versions in the TAS Cursive GT Pro font.

The TAS Cursive GT Pro font is a sophisticated OpenType font that will only function to its full potential in applications which are OpenType-aware and which recognize special OpenType features called Stylistic Sets. At present, the list of such applications is limited mainly to Microsoft Word and Publisher (2010/2011 & later), Apple Pages (v5.6 & later), Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress (2016 & later), CorelDRAW (X6 & later), Sketch and TextEdit. Note that the current versions of Word and Publisher only support the use of one Stylistic Set at a time providing basic joining functionality but limiting the full capabilities of the font. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (up to and including CC) do not support Stylistic Sets.

The TAS Cursive GT Pro font does not require the use of any external utility or application to create the cursive joins between letters – the joining is completely automatic, occurring in real time as letters are typed. All you need to do is select the joining level you want (see the Manual's Quick Start Guide) and start typing!

The TAS Cursive GT Pro font is a “combo” font, providing access to the TAS Beginner’s Alphabet, plus unjoined Cursive (aka PreCursive) plus basic Cursive all within a single font without the need to switch fonts. The font also includes two extensions (Standard and Advanced) of the basic Cursive style, with looped letterforms for f g h j k l y z as well as speed versions of s v w and also some additional joins to increase overall fluency. Fully-looped joining is part of the natural development of handwriting and it is described in the older Tasmanian Education Dept publication Basic Handwriting. It is part of the official styles for most of the other Australian regions, hence its inclusion in the TAS Cursive GT Pro font.

Surprisingly, Handwriting (2009) contains only sparse detail about cursive linking (even at the basic level) as well as a number of inconsistencies and very few useful illustrations. Fortunately, in the earlier document Basic Handwriting (1985), linking is much more fully documented and illustrated. The linking rules in the Tas Cursive GT Pro font have been developed using a combination of these two reference documents. Basic Handwriting (page 23) is the sole source for the speed Cursive styles in Tas Cursive GT Pro.

The TAS Beginner GT, TAS PreCursive GT and TAS Cursive GT Pro fonts slope to the right at an angle of 14° as illustrated in Handwriting pp 36-50. Note that the earlier Tasmanian style as illustrated in Basic Handwriting (1985) was sloped at the more severe angle of 20°. If your application has controls for slanting text, the fonts can be slightly skewed in either direction to achieve other slopes if preferred.

The default numerals for the Tasmanian style are lowercase-height. In addition to lowercase-height numbers and math symbols, all the fonts contain uppercase-height numbers and math symbols. Special OpenType features makes it easy to switch between the different number sizes.

All fonts can be set to display with or without horizontal guide lines (four lines/three spaces) with no need to change fonts to get the lines – just turn them on or off within your application (for instructions on how to do this see the Quick Start Guide in the manual). If you need to have coloured guidelines see our instruction document Coloured Dotted-Thirds GT_v2.1.pdf

The full multi-lingual character set for the TAS Beginner GT-Regular and TAS Beginner GT-Thick fonts can be viewed here.

The TAS Tight Text GT Pack is a 4-font OpenType family (Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic) in the TAS style, optimised for use in text with normal linespacing. The Italics are based on the PreCursive letterforms. The height of the capital letters as well as the length of the ascenders (b, d, f, h, k, l, t) and descenders (f, g, j, p, q, y) have all been reduced, making normal linespacing possible. The fonts have similar proportions, size and linespacing to normal text fonts (eg Arial, Helvetica etc) at the same point size. Ideal for school newsletters, pupil's reports, worksheets, forms, websites and documents, allowing them to be written in the same recognisable style that the students are learning to write - but avoiding the very wide linespacing that you would get if you were to use our Beginner teaching fonts. Multi-Language support - contains all special characters required for Australian Aboriginal, NZ Maori, Classical Latin (Phonetic) and many other commonly-taught languages which use the latin alphabet. Enhanced Maths support, with the ability to type "true" fractions automatically.  Includes Special custom Keyboard Layout software (Mac & Windows) for use with Australian Aboriginal and Phonetic Latin  (Note - Keyboard Layouts for all the other languages are already standard with the Mac and Windows operating systems). Note these fonts don't include horizontal guidelines. Numbers are cap-height by default. Not available as individual fonts. Delivered by download. 10-computer licence. Win/Mac compatible. The TAS Tight Text GT fonts are NOT recommended for use by pupils in the very early handwriting teaching stages.

* Download free Tasmanian Department of Education document "Handwriting" 3 MB PDF
from the Tasmanian Education Dept website:

Download Syllabus

Please note that this downloaded material is Copyright Tasmanian Department of Education.