Resources

About OpenType Fonts

We've compiled a selection of tips and articles about using OpenType fonts you purchase on Creative Market. Click on a topic to learn more!


Software to use with OpenType fonts

Fonts are cross-platform, meaning that they can be installed on your Mac OS or Windows system. Additionally, fonts can be used in most desktop applications that allow you to create and edit text. However, not all programs support all OpenType Features. This means that even though most programs will allow you to use the font’s basic character set, not all programs will support the special features (such as alternates, ligatures, or swashes) automatically.

Below is a simple chart showing common applications and a general level of their OpenType support. We recommend that you use an OpenType savvy application to get the most out of your OpenType fonts; these programs are found in the “Best OpenType Support” column below:

Best OpenType Support
Some OpenType Support
Little/No OpenType Support
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Photoshop CC2014 and below
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Adobe Illustrator
 
Microsoft Office applications
Adobe Photoshop CC2015+
 
Apple Pages, Keynote, Numbers
Sketch 3
 
Silhouette Studio, Cricut Design Space, other cutting software
Quark XPress 7+
 
GIMP

 

What if I don’t have OpenType savvy apps? I use Silhouette Studio, Word, etc

If you don’t have any of the programs in the Best OpenType Support column, check and see if the font you’ve just purchased is PUA Unicode-mapped. Usually, the listing will indicate this. If so, you will be able to follow these instructions to copy and paste the special characters in your program. 


How to Use OpenType Fonts

There are a couple of different ways to take advantage of OpenType features in three of the most commonly used OpenType savvy apps: Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop CC. Here are some different ways to use OpenType features. You can click on an item to jump to that subtopic:


The Character Panel (Photoshop CC, InDesign)

Photoshop

First, open your Character Panel from Window > Character, then type some text.

image_preview__2_.png

You’ll notice some OpenType options toward the bottom of the panel (boxed in red). The bolder ones are the features that are built into the font, whereas the grayed out features are not available for the current font. From left to right, these 8 features are:

  • Standard Ligatures
  • Contextual Alternates
  • Discretionary Ligatures
  • Swashes
  • Stylistic Alternates
  • Titling Alternates
  • Ordinals
  • Fractions

Just click on the feature(s) you’d like to use, and those features will be applied to all of the text. The Standard Ligatures and Contextual Alternates are selected in the example above.

InDesign

After creating and selecting your text, open your Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character) and click the small menu button in the top right corner (boxed in red.)

image_preview__3_.png

 

  • Next, you’ll see some type options, including OpenType ▶. Notice that Ligature is already checked. This is an InDesign default that automatically uses standard ligatures programmed into the font.
  • Click OpenType ▶. You’ll see more OpenType options from which you can choose. Features in brackets, such as [Fractions] are features not available in the current font. Notice that Contextual Alternates is also checked; this is another InDesign default.
  • Click any non-bracketed option to use that feature, and click any checked option to remove that feature from the selected text.

The Glyphs Panel (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop CC2015+)

This panel gives you complete control over which specific characters to choose from the font. First, open your Glyphs Panel:

  • Illustrator: Window > Type > Glyphs
  • InDesign: Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs
  • Photoshop CC2015+: Window > Glyphs

image_preview__4_.png

  • You'll see a dropdown menu on the top of the panel that says "Show" - from there, you can elect to show the entire font or a specific alternate set (such as ss01, ss02, Standard Ligatures, etc.) Note: ss01, ss02, etc denote Stylistic Alternates.
  • If you show the entire font, all the characters will be shown on a grid. You can manually select alternates for each character with a tiny triangle in the bottom right hand corner. Just click the character and you'll be able to see and select alternates.

The OpenType Panel (Illustrator Only)

First, open your OpenType Panel (Window > Type > OpenType), then type some text.

image_preview__5_.png

You’ll notice some OpenType options toward the bottom of the panel (boxed in red). The bolder ones are the features that are built into the font, whereas the grayed out features are not available for the current font. From left to right, these 8 features are:

  • Standard Ligatures
  • Contextual Alternates
  • Discretionary Ligatures
  • Swashes
  • Stylistic Alternates
  • Titling Alternates
  • Ordinals
  • Fractions

Just click on the feature(s) you’d like to use, and those features will be applied to all of the text. The Standard Ligatures and Contextual Alternates are on by default.


OpenType Features in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint have limited OpenType support, which means you may not be able to make use of all of the OpenType features, but there are a few features you can use, including:

  • Stylistic Alternates
  • Contextual Alternates
  • Standard & Discretionary Ligatures

To access these features, follow these steps:

  • Select your text and go to to Format > Font and select the Advanced tab.
  • Stylistic Alternates: To choose a stylistic set, click on the dropdown menu under “Stylistic Sets” (boxed in red) and choose one of the sets. Keep in mind that not all fonts will have 20 stylistic sets.
  • Contextual Alternates: To enable contextual alternates, check the box toward the bottom (boxed in blue).
  • Ligatures: If you click on the dropdown beside Ligatures (boxed in green) you’ll be able to choose from Standard ligatures, Historical and Discretionary, etc.

image_preview__6_.png

To learn more about software to use with OpenType fonts, check out this chart.

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