Over the last several years Creativetechs has encouraged many creative teams to replace their team’s older Postscript font libraries with newer OpenType font collections.

In the past, old Postscript fonts couldn’t support a large number of characters. To get around that limitation, special “expert” font sets were created to provide designers with additional typographic features such as oldstyle figures, true small capitals, fractions, special ligatures, and others.

So, what if you’ve designed larger documents (e.g. annual reports) using special characters from the old “Adobe Caslon Expert” collection? When you convert over to the new OpenType “Adobe Caslon Pro”, certain typographic flourishes disappear.

This tip demonstrates how you can use InDesign’s advanced find-and-replace feature to help make your font migration an easier one.

Today’s OpenType vs. Yesterday’s Postscript.

OpenType fonts offer two big benefits over older formats. First, they are cross-platform, which means the same font file works on both Macintosh and Windows computers. Secondly (and more pertinent for this tip) OpenType fonts can contain more than 65,000 glyphs in a single font file. Old Postscript fonts by comparison were limited to 256 glyphs.

Adobe has a nice graphic on their OpenType resource site that illustrates how a single OpenType font today can contain all the characters, glyphs, and features that previously had to be divvied up between a variety of additional “expert” fonts.


The Problem: How to replace “Expert” fonts?

With that ground covered we can get to the problem. After your studio has made the switch to OpenType, how do you handle documents that request the older “expert” font collections. Consider the example below, where an annual report layout uses oldstyle figures for all the financial charts.


Oldstyle figures provide a way of displaying numbers which approximates lowercase letterforms using varying ascenders and descenders. If we simply replaced our missing “Adobe Caslon Expert” with “Adobe Caslon Pro”, those financial charts revert to standard numerals which gives a much different look.

When we open our document, InDesign flags the missing “Adobe Caslon Expert.” Yet there does not appear to be a natural font choice in the new OpenType “Adobe Calson Pro” to use as a replacement.

The Solution: Use InDesign’s advanced Find/Change.

You can’t solve this problem using InDesign’s default Find Font window. Instead, open the document without changing fonts, and use InDesign’s Find/Change tool to update.

In InDesign, choose Edit > Find/Change… and then click the “More Options” button to reveal the powerful but often overlooked find/change formats section.

Using these settings, we can replace the missing “Adobe Caslon Expert” font with “Adobe Caslon Pro” and at the same time apply additional OpenType styles to the changed text.

First, click the Format button in “Find Format Settings” where we can pick our missing font. (Note: Missing fonts in InDesign display with brackets around the font name.)

Then, click in “Change Format Settings” where we can control what character formats are applied to our changed text. Start by choosing “Adobe Caslon Pro” under Basic Character Formats. Then under OpenType Features we can access a number of special typographic features. To recreate our previous design, we pick Proportional Oldstyle from the Figure Style pop-up menu.

You have a tremendous amount of control once you start digging into the Find/Change format controls. Back in our Find/Change dialog box InDesign summarizes our changes:

Click “Change All” and our old expert font has been properly updated to the new OpenType version. You may need to experiment with various settings to fully convert all your expert collection uses. The basic technique remains the same in most cases.

Source: This typographic tip inspired by a great support question from the Seattle offices of global design firm Fitch.

More great tips from the archives…

More great tips from the archives…