Type 1 to OT conversion - no fi or fl ligatures?

Addison Hall's picture

About three years ago I purchased a license for Stella for both Mac and PC. Both versions are Postscript Type 1. I'm now on Vista using CS3 and my Stella Type 1 is showing its age -- the font families don't display correctly within InDesign or Illustrator, and sometimes they just don't work at all.

I fired up TypeTool and tried a few test conversions to OT and they work great for the most part. Somehow I even managed to get the families to group together. What bugs me is that the fi and fl ligatures will not work at all. I know this is nit-picky and Stella doesn't even need the ligatures, but what gives?

If I load up, let's say, Stella Lining (type 1), the ligatures work. If I convert that same font to OT, I lose the ligatures.


Sidney's picture

Did you try transtype to convert or load them up in adobe type manager (ATM), maybe that will work. I would try the original fonts in ATM first if you haven't tried it already.

Addison Hall's picture

Sidney, I haven't used ATM in ages, and no, I haven't tried TransType either. I'll download the demo and give it a try...


Miguel Sousa's picture

To make the ligatures happen you'll ned to add a 'liga' feature to the fonts. But I don't think you can do that with TypeTool.

Note: The ability to edit the advanced typographic OpenType Layout features is not included in TypeTool, so other tools such as FontLab Studio, Microsoft VOLT or Adobe FDK for OpenType need to be used.
from http://www.fontlab.com/font-editor/typetool/

Addison Hall's picture

Hi, Miguel. I'm actually just referring to the standard fi and fl ligatures (which still may require what you're suggesting). InDesign, and I think Illustrator, can activate these ligatures that are available on all TrueType, Type 1, and OT Standard fonts. I was wondering if it was some sort of encoding issue. I'm obviously out of my element here -- I've dabbled in font design with TypeTool.

Addison Hall's picture

TransType worked, by the way. But I'm a knucklehead -- I'd like to understand what's going on if it's not too complicated.

blokland's picture

Assuming that the EULA that came with the typeface in question allows the user to convert it into other font formats, and that after the conversion the ligatures are present in the ’glyf‘ table or CFF glyph list but don't show up in an app, and having never used TypeTool in my life, my very wild guess would be that the ligatures for whatever reason don't get a Unicode code point or else an improper one assigned and are therefore incorrectly mapped.

Anyway, you could download the free Light version of DTL OTMaster and drag the fonts into the app for looking into their guts.

Addison Hall's picture

Hi, Mr. Blokland. The EULA for Stella actually does not allow for modification, if I'm reading it correctly, but I would certainly contact Mr. Feliciano for permission if I decide to use this. Right now I'm just seeing if it's possible.

I think I've discovered that Miguel is correct. Avenir Std reveals "Standard Ligatures (liga)" within InDesign's glyph palette. And while my OT version of Stella shows the fi and fl ligatures within the glyph palette, InDesign cannot "turn them on" automatically. However, I can generate both TrueType and Type 1 versions of Stella in which the ligatures do work. OpenType Standard fonts must still require the 'liga' feature.

All of the fonts I've checked have the fi lig living in the FB01 slot and the fl lig living in the FB02 slot -- including my tests with Stella.

Addison Hall's picture

Another revelation -- at least for myself: it seems as though this is also a Mac/PC issue. I'll use Philomela OT standard from PsyOps as an example. As far as I know, the 'liga' feature is not present in this font.

On my Vista PC, InDesign CS3 will not display either the fi or fl ligatures unless manually selected from the glyph palette. However, on my Mac, InDesign CS2 is capable of showing the fi and fl ligatures simply by checking "ligatures" from the character palette.


filip blazek's picture

As far as I remember, InDesign automatically substitutes ligatures fi and fl when using Type 1 fonts. I guess the substitution is based on a glyph name. On the contrary, InDesign doesn't substitute ligatures in OpenType fonts unless OTF files contain OT features. Therefore I think your fonts are correct, the problem is how InDesign deals with two same fonts in two different formats.

Arno Enslin's picture

Addison Hall

If you have Stella for both Mac and PC, and if you don’t switch between the platforms, why don’t you stay with Type 1? Filip blazek is right with the substitutions of fl and fi (contained in Type 1 fonts) in Indesign. You only have to correct the Type 1 fonts, which is easier than converting them to OpenType. If the names are the only problem of the Type 1 version, try that. It’s freeware.

Addison Hall's picture

Filip and Arno,

I actually did decide to stick with Type 1. I was able to fix the families and the ligatures still work. Hopefully, Mr. Feliciano will release a full-featured opentype version with the lighter and bolder weights I've heard about...

This was, however, a good technical exercise for me. I appreciate everyone's help and advice.


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