Jul 14

OpenType Font Features

About OpenType Fonts

OpenType fonts allow a range of features specific to “fine typography” such as control over ligatures, OldStyle figures and more.


Apply OpenType font attributes

Use the Character panel or Control panel to apply OpenType font attributes, such as fractions and swashes to text.

For more information on OpenType fonts, see www.adobe.com/go/opentype.

Apply OpenType font attributes

  1. Select text.
  2. In the Character panel or Control panel, make sure that an OpenType font is selected.
  3. Choose OpenType from the Character panel menu, and then select an OpenType attribute, such as Discretionary Ligatures or Fractions.

Features not supported in the current font appear in square brackets, such as [Swash].

You can also select OpenType font attributes when defining a paragraph or character style. Use the OpenType Features section of the Style Options dialog box.

OpenType font attributes

When you use an OpenType font, you can select specific OpenType features from the Control panel or Character panel menu when formatting text or when defining styles.

Note: OpenType fonts vary greatly in the number of type styles and kinds of features they offer. If an OpenType feature is unavailable, it’s surrounded in square brackets (such as [Swash]) in the Control panel menu.

Discretionary Ligatures Font designers may include optional ligatures that shouldn’t be turned on in all circumstances. Selecting this option allows these additional optional ligatures to be used, if they are present. For more information on ligatures, see Apply ligatures to letter pairs.

Fractions Numbers separated by a slash (such as 1/2) are converted to a fraction character, when fractions are available.

Ordinal Ordinal numbers such as 1st and 2nd are formatted with superscript letters (1st and 2nd) when ordinals are available. Letters such as the superscript a and o in the Spanish words segunda(2a) and segundo (2o) are also typeset properly.

Swash When available, regular and contextual swashes, which may include alternate caps and end-of-word alternatives, are provided.

Titling Alternatives When available, characters used for uppercase titles are activated. In some fonts, selecting this option for text formatted in both uppercase and lowercase letters can yield undesired effects.

Contextual Alternatives When available, contextual ligatures and connecting alternates are activated. Alternate characters are included in some script typefaces to provide better joining behavior. For example, the letter pair “bl” in the word “bloom” can be joined so that it looks more like handwriting. This option is selected by default.

All Small Caps For fonts that include real small caps, selecting this option turns characters into small caps. For more information, see Change the case of type.

Slashed Zero Selecting this options displays the number 0 with a diagonal slash through it. In some fonts (especially condensed fonts), it can be difficult to distinguish between the number 0and the capital letter O.

Stylistic Sets Some OpenType fonts include alternate glyph sets designed for esthetic effect. Astylistic set is a group of glyph alternates that can be applied one character at a time or to a range of text. If you select a different stylistic set, the glyphs defined in the set are used instead of the font’s default glyphs. If a glyph character in a stylistic set is used in conjunction with another OpenType setting, the glyph from the individual setting overrides the character set glyph. You can see the glyphs for each set using the Glyphs panel.

Positional Forms In some cursive scripts and in languages such as Arabic, what a character looks like can depend on its position inside a word. The character may change form when it appears at the start (initial position), middle (medial position), or end (final position) of a word, and it may change form as well when it appears alone (isolated position). Select a character and choose a Positional Forms option to format it correctly. The General Form option inserts the common character; the Automatic Form option inserts a form of the character according to where the character is located in the word and whether the character appears in isolation.

Superscript/Superior & Subscript/Inferior Some OpenType fonts include raised or lowered glyphs that are sized correctly relative to the surrounding characters. If an OpenType font doesn’t include these glyphs for non-standard fractions, consider using the Numerator and Denominator attributes.

Numerator & Denominator Some OpenType fonts convert only basic fractions (such as 1/2 or 1/4) to fraction glyphs, not non-standard fractions (such as 4/13 or 99/100). Apply Numerator and Denominator attributes to these non-standard fractions in such cases.

Tabular Lining Same widths are provided for full-height figures. This option is appropriate in situations where numbers need to line up from one line to the next, as in tables.

Proportional Oldstyle Varying-height figures with varying widths are provided. This option is recommended for a classic, sophisticated look in text that doesn’t use all caps.

Proportional Lining Full-height figures with varying widths are provided. This option is recommended for text that uses all caps.

Tabular Oldstyle Varying-height figures with fixed, equal widths are provided. This option is recommended when you want the classic appearance of old-style figures, but you need them to align in columns, as in an annual report.

Default Figure Style Figure glyphs use the default figure style of the current font.