Accessing A Typeface's Extra Glyphs...

dave bailey's picture

So I was bored on my train ride out of NYC the other day so I busted out my PowerBook and opened up Font Explorer. I proceeded to check out the character map for some of my typefaces and stumbled upon tons of extra glyphs (dingbats?) that I had not known about. This was kind of sparked by my current wallpaper created with Underware's Sauna and an included dingbat:

I'm curious, because the only alternates I know are holding the option key to access other included glyphs/marks. Essentially is there a way to find out the key commands that trigger these glyphs? if that IS in fact how its done? Thanks!

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'm a bored geek. But, I have an Illustrator file created with a character map that I can load a typeface and play instantly with the glyphs. However, the new glyph palette and the superopentypeyummy typefaces make it all that much more fun.

This is random. But playing with the glyph palette gives me some sense of what it is like to set type by hand.

dave bailey's picture

I just found the new glyph palette, but how do I create those glyphs?

Edit: Nevermind...doubleclick...duh. But what about if I'm interested in using these glyphs in body copy...say in Quark. What then?

Stephen Coles's picture

Keyboard Viewer. Perhaps you're forgetting Opt-Shift.

For fonts with larger character sets (unicode, OT) it's a different story.

dave bailey's picture

For fonts with larger character sets (unicode, OT) it’s a different story.
Am I asking too broad of a question? If so just point me in the right direction! :) I just got really curious about this but didn't know where to go, heh.

Bald Condensed's picture

> But what about if I’m interested in using these glyphs in body copy…say in Quark. What then?

In Quark? Basically your @$$ is grass. You don't want to use Quark. No, you really don't. Trust me. :^D

We licensed PopChar X for the whole studio. Does the trick.

Bald Condensed's picture

The problem with OpenType fonts whose character sets exceed the 256 positions that were available with ASCII-encoding, is that there simply are not enough key combinations to access them all. So there is no "easy" way apart from selecting them through the aforementionned methods.

Mark Simonson's picture

You can type a lot of accented characters which are not normally accessible in OS X. Just enable the U.S. Extended keyboard layout using the International control panel in System Preferences. Instead of bullets, math symbols and such, it turns most of the option-key combinations into "dead" accent keys so you can enter, for example, opt-m followed by e to get ę (e with an ogonek). It helps to have the Keyboard Viewer open so you can see which keys to type to get different accents. (Note: It doesn't work for every possible accent/character combo--they have to be combinations that exist in Unicode. Also, not all (or even mosts) fonts have all those characters.)

Mark Simonson's picture

You can also use Unicode Hex Input. You just hold down the option key while typing the four Unicode hex digits. Here's the four playing card suits entered using this method: ♣♦♥♠

Windows has something similar to this and it's the only way to enter some characters we take for granted being able to type on the Mac (like proper quote marks). The drawback is that you have to know or look up the codes.

More about all this stuff here:

dave bailey's picture

Good info! Thanks Mark!

Thomas Phinney's picture

But Unicode hex input presumably doesn't work with QuarkXPress - they currently only support single-byte codepages, right?


Mark Simonson's picture

Right, I meant to mention that. I think they do in the page I linked (or at least imply it).

Fisheye's picture

Actually, if you're using Font Explorer X, get "Information" on a font or family, then under "Characters" you can select a glyph and it will tell you the key code, if there is one. If not, you'll be stuck using the Glyphs palate.

elliot100's picture

If you are stuck with Quark and you need to use the extended glyphs, you can use a font editor to create a copy of the font you need with the glyphs moved to keyboard-accessible positions.

I've used TypeTool to make greek upper and lower case versions of fonts I use.

(Perhaps I should add that I do not distribute the resultant fonts; printers get a PDF with subset embedding only.)

Stephen Coles's picture

Good idea. Keep in mind, even if you don't redistribute, modification will violate some cruelly strict EULAs.

elliot100's picture

I have to say I haven't checked the EULAs.

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