Pill Gothic OTF Small Caps won't work in InDesign CS3

yader's picture

Hi there,

I've used Pill Gothic OTF for a customer last year (who has bought the font from Veer) with InDesign CS2 and had no problems with Small Caps. Now making a new project for this particular customer, the Opentype Small Caps function in InDesign CS3 won't work. InDesign doesn't react in any way. What's really strange is that the document from last year opens correctly with OTF Small Caps. Does anyone know of a bug in InDesign CS3 within Small Caps? Thanks in advance.
(Mac, 10.5.2, Indesign CS3, Preferences deleted without effect)

Nick Shinn's picture

Do the small caps work OK in TextEdit?

yader's picture

thanks for the tip, nothing wrong with the font, InDesign is the culprit.


Theunis de Jong's picture

I saw this happen to an old version of Minion Pro. When I changed the language to anything else than English, small caps and a few other niceties failed.
It took me several years to find out. I discovered that in that version of Minion, there were definitions for a lot of OpenType options as well as sub-definitions for a few languages. The creator forgot to include all OpenType features for all languages ...

You can try if setting the language to "[None]" in ID solves it. If not, you'll have to check the font file if it contains anything strange. Or (more feasable) contact your font vendor and ask if it's a known issue.

yader's picture

You saved my day Theunis, indeed it worked that way out. Thanks very much. Seems like someone forgot to include sub-definitions for german. InDesign was the culprit, but the font is convicted, what a drama…

Miguel Sousa's picture

Derya, can you specify which version of the font(s) your using? (You can use InDesign's "Find Font..." dialog to check that.) Thanks!

Chris Dean's picture

How do I send someone a message directly through typophile. I think I can't see a button...

Miss Tiffany's picture

That feature no longer exists. Instead you can contact users through their profile page.

yader's picture

Hi Miguel,


Miguel Sousa's picture

Oh, I was actually asking for Minion Pro's version, not Pill Gothic's, but thanks anyway. My bad, Theunis was the one that mentioned Minion.

Theunis, can you find out which "old version of Minion Pro" you were using? Thanks.

Theunis de Jong's picture


I'm sure it must have been the one that originally came with InDesign CS. After installing CS3, I ran into troubles with the small caps and -- surprisingly -- with some accent characters of which ID thought they were there in the text, but did not show up in the Glyph window. As the PDF export failed miserably for these files, at that time I finally thought of checking font versions, and found the Minion supplied with CS3 was a newer and better one. Replacing them in my system solved all weird probs instantly.

I've scanned my hard disk for the 'old' version, and I think I still have one. See this (composited) screenshot of its properties.

Notice how for German the only feature is "Discretionary" (a few of the other languages, such as SRB and MOL only contain "locl"). My new Minion is a version 1.015, and that has full tables for all languages.

FYI, the discretionary ligatures are here defined as

sub c h by c_h
sub c k by c_k

and these do not appear in any of the other sets. The new Minion contains these same ligatures, also for German only, as well as all other standard sets.

Theunis de Jong's picture

... rereading my last post, I wondered if I got my version numbers right.

In case you didn't notice, what I call "old" is really v1.021 (14 Oct, 2002), and "new" is v1.015 (20 May, 2005). I'm 100% sure, by now I;ve triple checked.

Someone at Adobe made a foo-bar :-) (Miguel, I hope you were not in charge of this versioning. If so, apologies.)

An interesting observation is that I couldn't get my personal, old, IDCS to get it to display wrong. Derya noticed the same phenomenon -- it worked in CS (and probably in CS2 as well, I've used it for ages at work), and failed only with the advent of CS3. I would rather call it a bug in the older CSes, since, judging by the feature table, it does indeed work as advertised in CS3 -- though not as meant (a very important distinction).

Miguel Sousa's picture

Theunis, thanks a lot for the info.

The bug is in the fonts, not in InDesign. What happens is that prior to CS3, InDesign payed no attention to the instructions in the font targeted at specific languages. So once IDCS3 started parsing those instructions, the bugs in the fonts surfaced.

Those buggy fonts were incorrectly built due to a misinterpretation on how to write and implement OT feature code. You know, back in 2002 OpenType was in its infancy, so some things were not as clear as they are nowadays. And the apps available at the time did not exercise all the font's capabilities, so that bug passed unnoticed. It also proves once more that, "If it's not tested, assume it's broken".

> In case you didn’t notice, what I call “old” is really v1.021 (14 Oct, 2002), and “new” is v1.015 (20 May, 2005). I’m 100% sure, by now I've triple checked.
Someone at Adobe made a foo-bar :-) (Miguel, I hope you were not in charge of this versioning. If so, apologies.)

Yeah, that's strange. I joined Adobe in April'06, so I can't be blamed for that one :^)

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