Dumb question: all glyphs from FLab to InDesign?

eliason's picture

Making a specimen. What's the easiest way to paste every glyph in a font to InDesign or the like? The closest I've come is:
- Select all glyphs in Fontlab
- Open a metrics window
- Select all in that main metrics window pane and Copy
- Paste into InD

This gets me most of the way there but some glyphs don't appear (replaced by a colored box) - I think it's the ones that don't have Unicode assignments (alternate characters, small caps, etc.)

What am I missing?

sthursby's picture

I haven't used Fontlab before, so I'm not sure what's required in "saving" a font, and I'm probably making the most obvious statement which has 100 good reasons why it doesn't work - but - couldn't you just install the font on your system and then type it regularly?

Thoughts on Type: http://www.sthursby.com/blog

blank's picture

I set the entire thing up manually once and I now just keep adding and tweaking it as character sets grow. If you have Metrics Machine you could always generate a text file with it and import that into Indesign.

Ray Larabie's picture

I'll assume you always generate and install the font before trying this. To easily grab the full set. Do an OT or TT test. Tools/Quick Test As. In the test window, display all characters, select all copy/paste in to Photoshop or whatever. That's how I make the samples on Typodermic.com give or take a few redundant glyphs.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I did something similar to what James did... I set up a document in InDesign and opened the Glyphs palette... That will show you every character in your typeface, allowing you to double-click on the ones that haven't been showing up and pasting them into a textbox. You can also choose different Unicode sets, like Basic Latin and Latin 1, Extended Latin A, etc. It's time-consuming the first time, then you just add to it or tweak it, as James says.

John Hudson's picture

Eric Menninga wrote an InDesign script for me that grabs all the glyphs from a font and puts them into a story. This approach captures all the glyphs, not just the directly encoded ones, so is useful for getting a quick grab of everything in the font. Eric mentioned that he might make this script publicly available, so I will direct his attention to this discussion.

Quincunx's picture

I've just made an InDesign document once, I got the whole characterset I generally use both by using the glyph palette and copy-pasting, and just saved that document and use it every time I need the charset. Only have to do that once, and just expand it if the typeface you are displaying has more characters.

emenninga's picture

The trick is that you can describe an arbitrary glyph (one without an unicode mapping) using tagged text, so my script would create a tagged text file with all glyphs from 1-1000. AFAIK, scripting doesn't have direct access to arbitrary glyphs directly.

eliason's picture

I've never had success getting Quick Test to work. I'll try making a master file with the Glyph palette.
Thanks to all for your suggestions.

paragraph's picture

Craig, my Quick Test does not work (correctly) either, but it will list all characters in the font > copy & paste into InDesign:

eliason's picture

Jan, no luck for me with that - it still doesn't pick up my small caps, unconventional ligatures, etc.

paragraph's picture

Oh bugger, you are right. It missed fj ffj and the alternate caps. Take it back, useless.

dblatner's picture

I've posted the script to make a contact sheet or specimen sheet in InDesign here:

This is Eric's script, with a UI added by Chuck Weger. Enjoy!

eliason's picture

That's terrific, thanks!

Ray Larabie's picture

Quick test works but no Unicode = no show.

brianskywalker's picture

If it were possible to convert from a list of glyphs formatted like so:

U+0020-U+007E U+00A0-U+00FF U+02C6 U+02D9-U+02DA

Getting them out of Fontforge is easy. But unfortunately I think it would work only about as well as "Quick Test" in Fontlab—only display glyphs with a unicode value. Unfortunately I don't have InDesign, only Illustrator, so the Macro wont work for me. Even OSX's "Special Characters" dialogue will not let you select multipe glyphs to insert. If I remember properly, the "Character Map" in Windows lets you do this. Microsoft pulled one on you this time, Apple.

I'm going to have to see about Libré tools on this one.

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