Who wants/needs a Glyph Palette in Photoshop?

Miguel Sousa's picture

Those of you who have tried the Adobe Photoshop CS3 Beta have probably noticed that, unlike InDesign and Illustrator, Photoshop does not have a Glyph palette. And it will probably be of no surprise if I say that you won't find such feature in the released version as well.

As the Photoshop team is planning the future version (the one after CS3), Thomas Phinney and I are trying to convince John Nack (Senior Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop), how important a Glyph palette is to Photoshop users. And this is where you all come in: we need your examples and arguments to show John that you need such feature in Photoshop.

John says that his inbox is already bloated with feature requests, so I believe that what we should do is post our reasons in this thread. Helpful things are testimonies like:

-- If Photoshop had a Glyph palette, I wouldn't have to open Illustrator just to insert that alternate Z from Zapfino that I need for the visual I'm doing. I haven't updated my old (2 years) computer, so having one more app opened really slows down the whole system;

-- With a Glyph palette I can easily browse the glyph set of the font(s) I'm using, and insert other glyphs that are not accessible via the OpenType submenu, neither via the operating system's Character Palette (Mac)/Character Map (Windows);

-- Being able to see the complete glyph set of a feature-rich typeface like Bickham Script or Poetica right there in Photoshop, helps me to be more creative and saves me time;

-- Without a Glyph palette in Photoshop, I don't have the ability to pre-visualize how a particular glyph will change into when I apply OpenType features, so I have to resort to Illustrator, like in this video, http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/OpenTypeSM.mov The problem is I don't work seamlessly in Illustrator as I do in Photoshop, so I avoid it as much as possible. I feel that my work would benefit from the retouches in Illustrator, but with the projects' tight deadlines I can't really afford that time.

Arguments like, "Having a Glyph palette in Photoshop would make all the apps in the suite more consistent" are also valid, however they don't really justify the need for implementing such feature.

Remember, your input is really invaluable, so please try to give as much as you can. Thanks!

Alessandro Segalini's picture

Since Photoshop isn't limited to photographic normalizations, having the type drawer in a separate room would consequentially increase aches in workers' legs & feet.

bojev's picture

Many people today use PhotoShop in Web and print design as the only layout tool - with computers handling large file sizes - why not. That said a glyph palette makes perfect sense. I have wondered why they have not done it before this - if nothing else how do you find the dingbat you want - think of it as an extension of the already present shape palette?

Monoecus's picture

This feature would not only be very helpful but would also be consistent with Adobes policy to promote OpenType as “the” font format.

kegler's picture

— If Photoshop had a Glyph palette, I wouldn’t have to open Illustrator just to insert alternate (any number of characters) from (any "pro" font) that I need for the visual I’m doing. Even with a newer computer and OS, this is clunky. The inconsistency in CS app features make it less of a suite and more of a co-dependant set of quirky tools with odd workarounds.

blank's picture

If Photoshop had a Glyph palette, I wouldn’t have to open Illustrator just to insert that alternate Z from Zapfino...

For a company that once actually made tremendous strides in interface design and usability, Adobe is now falling all over itself. Not putting a feature as useful as a glyph palette in Photoshop is best described with cruel insults and profanity that I’m not going to spew out on Typophile. I really miss the days when Adobe was leading the pack in this area, as opposed to just knocking off Apple and paying little attention to user wants and needs.

Quincunx's picture

I would like to see the Glyph Palette precisely because of the example already given in the starting-post. When I need a certain glyph, like a alternate character, I have to switch to illustrator to copy it, then paste it back in to photoshop. Some things can be solved with OT-features, but not all.

dezcom's picture

It makes absolutely no sense for PhotoShop to be without a glyph palette. I don't know the keyboard combinations for every glyph in every language so it is imperative that there be a visual way to get the glyph I need without dancing between programs. If Adobe is tauting there software as a creative SUITE, then why would you cripple one of the components? I want to be able to SEE all the alternates and ligatures. I should not have to find them somewhere else. Please include the Glyph Palette as well as opentype features in Photoshop.


david h's picture

> Photoshop does not have a Glyph palette.

> As the Photoshop team is planning the future version (the one after CS3), Thomas Phinney and I are trying to convince John Nack (Senior Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop), how important a Glyph palette is to Photoshop users.

Are you serious? He does not know that? I hope he knows what is accountability -- send him home.

Si_Daniels's picture

Give Nack a paddy-wack and throw designers a bone!

Seriously, inseting a swash cap on a Web graphic should be as easy as resizing a pic. Make it so.

Si_Daniels's picture

>When I need a certain glyph, like a alternate character, I have to switch to illustrator to copy it, then paste it back in to photoshop.

That's not a problem, that's a feature! see point 9...


And this one is just great...


"On an unrelated typographic note, if you're having trouble identifying a font, you might find this Flickr group useful. [Via] Oh, and see also What The Font. (Me, I just cheat and bug Tom Phinney ("I'll trade you a Glyphs palette for six correct font ID's...").)"

So all we need do is offer Mr Nack free type ID help for life and a typophile membership (I'll chip in $5.75) and we get the palette!

crossgrove's picture

Photoshop is a graphics tool, at this stage of web design. I use Photoshop more to make web graphics than anything else. Sometimes those are just photographic images, but a lot of it is also type-based. Photoshop offers several rasterizing methods for type; so it doesn't make sense to me to not include the other type tools there. Since I can't choose those rasterization options on imported EPS files, It's no help to be able to set any glyph in Illustrator. Sometimes I choose a different rasterizing method for different lines of type in the same image. I find it an inappropriate limitation, given the typographic support in the other programs, to not have all the glyphs in OpenType fonts available. Adobe offers some of the most robust OpenType font families, and glyph selection, as part of the other CS apps, seems like a baseline tool.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I tried offering John a dozen type IDs plus naming my next kid after him (hi, this is my daughter, her name is John), but that was no go.

Seriously though, it's not that John doesn't think a glyph palette would be useful in Photoshop. But all new features go through the same process: they rank the features and look at how much work they'd take to implement and test, and compare that to how many people they have in the given time frame.

Now, I'm not intimately familiar with every new feature in Photoshop CS3 - nor, even if I did know all the new features, do I know the user base well enough to judge their importance or demand. But I actually know the InDesign CS3 feature list pretty well. There are tons of things that have been common user requests and are otherwise clearly badly needed. Sure, there are a bunch of things I'd like to see that aren't there yet. But looking at the new features it's very clear indeed that they are paying attention to what users need and ask for. It's just that the number of exciting potential new features always exceeds the available resources by a multiple of several times.

I'm quite certain it's the same for Photoshop, and I know how hard John works. So comments like "I hope he knows what is accountability — send him home" are neither called for nor helpful.



Miss Tiffany's picture

While I try to avoid doing mass quantities of type in Photoshop I am right there with everyone else who wishes there was a glyph palette. When I do find myself working with type in Photoshop it is usually for display purposes. With most display settings you can usually go a little crazier and that is where the glyphs come into play. Up to now I'm amongst those people who do the type in Illustrator and copy/paste it into Photoshop. I'm used to it, but it would be lovely (and time saving) if I didn't have to.

polypica's picture

A glyph palette in PS is especially helpful because of the growing use of OT fonts with many alternates for each letter.
I vote "yes, please", if I may.


Mark Simonson's picture

Here's the thing: In the days of plain old Type 1 or TrueType fonts, there was no problem accessing any glyph in a font. It was the same for any program. Now that we have OpenType fonts with 700-1000 glyphs in them this is no longer true. The Glyph palette is one way to address this. Without something like the Glyph palette, we have actually lost functionality when it comes to fonts in most programs.

crossgrove's picture

Can I just point out the irony of Adobe's apps limiting access to Adobe's own renowned typefaces? Bickham Pro, Caflisch Script Pro, Poetica: aren't these reason enough to make the glyph palette standard across apps?

Paul Cutler's picture

Me - I want a glyph palette in Photoshop. That would be great.


Sharon Van Lieu's picture

I'll sign the petition! I get so tired of switching between apps.


andreas's picture

I'm wondering if this is an early aprils fool thread.

Isn't the type "feature" thing a library programm set and will be develped independently by a differend group of adobe engineers to ensure a quality type access standard through the whole set of adobe products?


Paul Cutler's picture

Have you asked this question on the Adobe Photoshop board Miguel? Because the resounding yes would go on for days…


Thomas Phinney's picture

That really is a better place for this sort of question. I mean, of course *Typophile* readers are all going to say yes, they want it. But that's hardly a representative cross-section of Photoshop users.

No offense to Typophile folks - I'm just saying that you're special. :)


Miguel Sousa's picture

> Have you asked this question on the Adobe Photoshop board Miguel? Because the resounding yes would go on for days…

I didn't because I really hate the lack of usability of the Adobe User to User Forums. Nonetheless I asked the question in 3 Photoshop forums (The CAFE, Photoshop Techniques, RetouchPRO) and you guys here have been the most responsive.

Alright, I'll go post on the Photoshop User to User Forums... both of them :^/ (Mac and Win).

@ Andreas: This is no joke.

Paul Cutler's picture

Miguel - good luck over there. It can be pretty ridiculous at times… :)


poms's picture

There is a text tool in photoshop. So there has to be a qlyph palette. It's a practical need. If i have to copy and paste glyphs fromout other softwares, it takes me time. It's not consistent comparing PS in this case to other softwares of the Creative Suite.
And Adobe, don't forget following versions of Flash, there is text and type too.

Randy's picture

The glyph pallet is useful when working on non-roman scripts. Before open type logic is put in place or keyboard mapping set up (or created), you can still replicate complex substitutions. It is nice to be able to test by manually setting text.


Don McCahill's picture

> good luck over there. It can be pretty ridiculous at times… :)

And over here isn't? :)

I am astonished to find there is no glyph palette in PS CS3. I skipped version 2, and somehow assumed that it would be in that version. Now I'm not sure if maybe I shouldn't wait for CS4.

j_polo9's picture

I remember spending like 2 hours one time looking for a glyph pallet in photoshop... not having one is ridiculous.

canderson's picture

Wow. I don't have anything really constructive to add other than to say I recently became confused because I assumed it was there. My workaround was to cut-and-paste from InDesign.

As others have said, when two applications for the same vendor both have similar functionality, there is a hope for UI consistency. I've always predicted that Adobe products would eventually merge into a single uber-application, where any graphics app would simply access the Adobe Type Palette, much like OS X's font pane.

Dan Gayle's picture

From John Nack's Blog:
But because Illustrator now shares a type engine with Photoshop

If the type engine is "the same," why is the access and the interface different between the two? Doesn't make sense.

Someone above mentioned access to dingbats. I wanted to create a favicon using a fleuron, but I had a heck of a time finding one in Photoshop. I was using a machine without Illustrator, and so I had to use OS X's built in character pallet, which constantly crashed.

Give me a glyph pallete! (By the way, FontExplorer X works as a great glyph pallete for everything BUT Adobe products. Just go to information, go to characters, select the glyph, and hit Copy. Works great!)

Si_Daniels's picture

>If the type engine is “the same,” why is the access and the interface different between the two? Doesn’t make sense.

Nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants also use the same 'engine' but the interfaces are different - different tools might reasonably need different interfaces?

jfp's picture

I'm a special guy too, as many here and need at least a glyph palette in Photoshop to make my life easier when I'm doing type samples for my website foundry. :p

Put in another way, thanks Adobe, I will save money and not upgrade Photoshop CS3 until the glyph palette appear and the same unique palettes through all Adobe applications. :)

PS. I just discovered that Illustrator CS2 have the SC OpenType feature just last week, just because its not with all others OT features on the dedicated palette. Its via a local/submenu menu on the Character palette rather than the OT palette. pffu. We learn everyday.

dezcom's picture

"different tools might reasonably need different interfaces?"

Only if the different interfaces make the product easier to use, not harder.


Miguel Sousa's picture

FYI, I got the ball rolling on the Adobe Forums:

Photoshop Windows
Photoshop Macintosh

dezcom's picture

Bravo Miguel!

I added my 2 cents there as well.


Si_Daniels's picture



Miguel Sousa's picture

Past threads and posts on the topic:
No Glyph Palette in Photoshop CS -- 8 November, 2005
OpenType question -- 5 December, 2005
OpenType in Photoshop -- 13 June, 2006

Stephen Coles's picture

Adobe has released yet another major version of Photoshop without a glyph palette (see my comment at 9PM on Sept 23). Either they aren't hearing our cries, or our cries aren't loud enough.

dezcom's picture

Adobe should bring Warnock back to run the place. He actually cared about type.


blank's picture

Maybe instead of asking for a Photoshop glyph palette we should just try asking for text anti-aliasing controls in Illustrator.

Stephen Coles's picture

Or both.

Paul Cutler's picture

Adobe is torture - I am so NOT looking forward to CS4. Now that there's virtually no competition I guess they have figured out that paid upgrades are far preferable to maintenance upgrades.


All ideas, theories and statements are subject to change without notice.

dezcom's picture

I am not purchasing CS4 because it lacks improved type support.


Ray Larabie's picture

I don't understand why the type interface is so different between Photoshop and Illustrator. I'd prefer that you took that glyph palette out of Illustrator* for the sake of consistency.

Is there any better evidence that the Illustrator team and the Photoshop team don't have enough meetings than the OpenType features UI?

* not really

oprion's picture

That's it! I am going back to Deluxe Paint. :D
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov

blank's picture

It could always be that they do have those meetings, and that they usually end with someone senior telling them to leave the features out so that people who shouldn’t need the entire suite end up buying it anyway.

zevbiz's picture

Definitely wish Photoshop had a glyph pallete. I =find myself going into illustrator at times just to copy a hard to find character.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I hope that everyone who is concerned about being listened to also uses the form to actually register their feature request:



dezcom's picture

Thomas, I used the form yet again. Here is hoping someone there in formland listens.


blank's picture

I submitted another request. But I also requested a glyph palette for the last two versions. I’m tempted to request that all of Illustrator run as a Photoshop plugin. This would be a great way to improve Photoshop’s weak vector tools, get a glyph palette, and it would satisfy the Photoshop team’s requirement that Photoshop consume inordinate amounts of RAM.

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