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Explore alternate glyphs in OpenType fonts.


Many OpenType fonts include a collection of alternative character glyphs which can be used to add an extra flourish to your typography. This is particularly useful in Adobe’s OpenType script fonts such as Bickham Script.

Both InDesign CS and Illustrator CS feature a special Glyphs palette which makes accessing these alternative characters easier:

Illustrator CS: Select Window > Type > Glyphs.

InDesign CS: Select Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs.


By default the palette shows all the glyphs for the entire font. This can be overwhelming if you are only interested in exploring alternative characters for specific letters.

To limit the display of glyphs to the character you have selected, choose “Alternatives for Current Selection” in the pop-up menu at the top of the palette.


As the animation at the top of this tip demonstrates, you can select individual characters with the type tool and easily apply various alternatives by double-clicking on characters in the glyphs palette.

Source: CreativeTechs’ Craig Swanson is preparing a big update for our annual font management workshop — Fonts & Mac OS X: 2007. Mark your calendars for January 10th and we’ll see you at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts.