Typefaces include many characters in addition to the ones you see on your keyboard. Depending on the font, these characters can include ligatures, fractions, swashes, ornaments, ordinals, titling and stylistic alternates, superior and inferior characters, old‑style figures, and lining figures. A glyph is a specific form of a character. For example, in certain fonts, the capital letter A is available in several forms, such as swash and small cap.
There are three ways to insert alternate glyphs:
- The Selection in-context menu lets you view and insert glyphs available for a selected character.
- The Glyphs panel lets you view and insert glyphs from any typeface.
- The OpenType panel lets you set up rules for using glyphs. For example, you can specify that you want to use ligatures, titling characters, and fractions in a given text block. Using the OpenType panel is easier than inserting glyphs one at a time and ensures a more consistent result. However, the panel works only with OpenType fonts.
When you're working on a type object, you can select a character to quickly view alternate glyphs right next to it in the in-context menu. Simply click the alternate glyph to replace the character with it.
Illustrator displays a maximum of five alternate glyphs for a selected character on the canvas. If more than five alternatives are available, Illustrator displays the icon to the right of the displayed alternate glyphs. Click the icon to open the Glyphs panel and view more alternatives.
You use the Glyphs panel (Window > Type > Glyphs) to view the glyphs in a font and insert specific glyphs in your document.
By default, the Glyphs panel displays all the glyphs for the currently selected font. You can change the font by selecting a different font family and style at the bottom of the panel. If any characters are currently selected in your document, you can display alternate characters by selecting Alternates For Current Selection from the Show menu at the top of the panel.
A. Show menu B. Font family C. Font style D. Zoom buttons
When you select an OpenType font in the Glyphs panel, you can restrict the panel to display certain kinds of glyphs by selecting a category from the Show menu. You can also display a pop‑up menu of alternate glyphs by clicking the triangle in the lower right corner of the glyph box where applicable.
You use the OpenType panel (Window > Type > OpenType) to specify how you want to apply alternate characters in OpenType fonts. For example, you can specify that you want to use standard ligatures in new or existing text.
Keep in mind that OpenType fonts vary greatly in the kinds of features they offer; not all options in the OpenType panel are available in every font. You can view the characters in a font using the Glyphs panel.
A. Standard Ligatures B. Contextual Alternates C. Discretionary Ligatures D. Swash E. Stylistic Alternates F. Titling Alternates G. Ordinals H. Fractions I. panel menu J. Figure type K. Character position
Additional features may be available for Asian OpenType fonts.
You can access additional commands and options in the OpenType panel menu in the upper right corner of the panel.
Ligatures are typographic replacement characters for certain letter pairs. Most fonts include ligatures for standard letter pairs such as fi, fl, ff, ffi, and ffl. In addition, some fonts include discretionary ligatures for letter pairs such as ct, st, and ft. Although the characters in ligatures appear to be joined, they are fully editable and do not cause the spell checker to flag a word erroneously.
Contextual alternates are alternate characters included in some script typefaces to provide better joining behavior. For example, when using Caflisch Script Pro with contextual alternates enabled, the letter pair “bl” in the word “bloom” is joined so that it looks more like handwriting.
Click the Standard Ligatures button to enable or disable ligatures for standard letter pairs (such as fi, fl, ff, ffi, and ffl).
Click the Discretionary Ligatures button to enable or disable optional ligatures (if available in the current font).
Click the Contextual Alternates button to enable or disable contextual alternates (if available in the current font).
Many OpenType fonts include stylized characters that let you add decorative elements to type. Swashes are characters with exaggerated flourishes. Titling alternates are characters (usually all in capitals) designed for use in large-size settings, such as titles. Stylistic alternates are stylized characters that create a purely esthetic effect.
Click the Swash button to enable or disable swash characters (if available in the current font).
Click the Stylistic Alternates button to enable or disable stylistic alternates (if available in the current font).
Click the Titling Alternates button to enable or disable titling alternates (if available in the current font).
The space is equal to the size of the type. For example, in 12‑point type, an em space is 12 points wide.
The space is half the width of an em space. For example, in 12-point type, an en space is 6 points wide.
The space is one‑twenty‑fourth the width of an em space. For example, in 12-point type, a hair space is 0.5 point wide.
Representative symbols of the white space characters appear when you choose Type > Show Hidden Characters.
To remove a break character, choose Type > Show Hidden Characters to see non-printing characters. You can then select and delete the break character.
Nonprinting characters include hard returns (line breaks), soft returns (line breaks), tabs, spaces, nonbreaking spaces, double-byte characters (including spaces), discretionary hyphens, and the end-of-text character.
To make the characters visible as you format and edit type, choose Type > Show Hidden Characters. A check mark indicates that nonprinting characters are visible.