Problem with ff ligature

Queneau's picture


I have a problem with the /ff/ ligature in a particular typeface. when /ff/ is automatically replaced with a ligature in InDesign, there appears a gap to the next letter, except for those combinations for which other ligatures exist, like ffi and ffl. I contacted the designer over this and he said I should just turn of ligatures for this combination.

I tried to do the following: I turned of ligatures, and instead inserted them manually through search/replace. This is a bit of a hassle but works. But I would prefer using ligatures as a default, and only to turn it of for the combination /ff/, but not for /ffi/ and /ffl/. Is there some way to change the one without changing the other? Perhaps some kind of either/or code? I work in CS2, so no GREP styles available yet...

Thanks a lot!


PS I don't want to discredit the designer for this, which is why I don't mention the name of the font here.

riccard0's picture

What about applying some kerning between the ff ligature and the following glyphs?

Joshua Langman's picture

Hm ... CS2 ... Can you make a character style with negative kerning and then search/replace to apply the style to instances of ff? (I'm not sure if CS2 has the features to do that.) Or, if the problem is in the font itself, are you allowed to edit the font?


Queneau's picture

Yes, kerning certainly works best. I don't know why I forgot about that... But if the problem occurs often (in german /ff/ is common) is there a way to automate this, so that all instances of a certain combination are always kerned tighter?

@Joshua Langman
Character styles can not change kerning, it can only be changed to optical, metrics or none. I tried using tighter tracking, but this breaks the ligature. I could ask if I'm allowed to edit it, but I'm afraid I might break more than I would fix, so... I'd rather leave that up to the type designer, and try to find a solution in InDesign.

charles ellertson's picture

I could ask if I'm allowed to edit it, but I'm afraid I might break more than I would fix . . .

You could add a series of ff and single character kerns to the kern feature ahead of the class kerning. That way they are exceptions, and won't break anything. I can't imagine that kerning would generally be a part of the "no modification" clause, else InDesign's optical kerning (and any plug-in), and Quark's kerning routine would break the EULA. The only "no kerning changes" EULA I've ever seen was in one of Porchez's font licenses.

Queneau's picture


How would I do this? I'm hardly an expert in Fontlab, so even such a simple modification is a bit scary. I tried modifying simple functions like kerning and spacing in Fontlab before, and the results have sometimes been that somehow the hinting was completely off somehow, or other mistakes happening or functions being destroyed rather than fixed. This is why I'd rather work inside InDesign. I have Cool Kerning installed, but haven't really worked with it yet. A first try results in the ligature not working, but that is probably some error I made. I'll keep trying anyway. Thanks to all, more ideas are welcome!

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