Section 36. Inserting Special Characters and Glyphs

#36. Inserting Special Characters and Glyphs

Many of the special typographic features within fontsfrom mundane bullets and em dashes to fancy fractions and ligaturescannot be found on the keyboard. InDesign provides quick access to special characters in the Insert Special Character submenu in the Type menu and the Glyphs palette. (A glyph is a form of a character; for example, some fonts include several different versions of an ampersand. The smallest unit of a font is actually a glyph, not a character.) If you frequently access the same glyphs, you can save them as glyph sets.

Inserting Common Special Characters

From the Insert Special Character submenu, you can insert commonly used characters such as a Bullet •, Copyright Symbol ©, Ellipsis ..., Paragraph Symbol ¶, Registered Trademark Symbol ®, Em Dash, or En Dash . The character is inserted at the text insertion point and formatted with the active font. If you end up inserting these characters often, you might want to learn and remember their standard keyboard shortcuts or create your own (see #3). Applications such as KeyCaps can show you the keyboard shortcuts.

Inserting Glyphs

To access every variation of every character within a font, choose Type > Glyphs to open the Glyphs palette (Figure 36). To insert a glyph at the text insertion point, scroll through the palette to locate it and then double-click it. The glyph is inserted and formatted according to the surrounding character formats.

Figure 36. The Glyphs palette provides quick access to all the glyphs within the selected font. Double-click a glyph to insert it in text at the text insertion point.

The Glyphs palette provides access to all the fonts that are currently active on your system and contains a few options to choose from:

  • Font: By default, the Glyphs palette displays the font in use at the text insertion point. You can select a different font from the menu in the lower-left corner of the palette. The menu next to it lets you choose a variation of the font such as Bold or Italic.

  • Scale: Click the scale buttons in the lower-right corner of the palette to increase or decrease the size of the glyphs shown. This makes it easy to find the right glyph, but it does not affect the size of the character you insert.

  • Show: You can narrow down the glyphs shown in the palette by choosing an option from the Show menu such as Alternates for Selection or Standard Ligatures. The options in this menu vary according to what the font vendor built into the font, with OpenType fonts generally offering the most options.

  • Alternates: In OpenType fonts, some glyphs have alternates, or different visual forms, you can choose from. If you see an arrow in the lower-right corner of a glyph's field, click it to view and select alternates.

Saving Fonts with Glyphs

By default, when you add a glyph to a glyph set, InDesign associates the current font with it. This is useful for unusual glyphs that may not exist in every font. However, for more common glyphs, such as 1/2 fractions or bullets, you may not want to associate a font with each glyph. To save glyphs without font information, choose Edit Glyph Set from the Glyphs palette menu, and select the set you want to edit from the submenu. In the Edit Glyph Set dialog box, you can select a glyph and uncheck Remember Font with Glyph.

Creating Glyph Sets

If you use certain glyphs frequentlyfor example, if you're working on a cookbook and need to access various fractionsyou can save them as a glyph set for quick access. Glyph sets are saved with your copy of InDesign.

To create a glyph set:


Choose New Glyph Set from the Glyphs palette menu.


To add glyphs to the set, select a glyph and choose Add to Glyph Set from the palette menu. If you have more then one glyph set, select the appropriate set from the submenu.


To view glyphs in the set, choose the set from the Show menu at the top of the Glyphs palette.

As with other glyphs, you can insert a glyph from a set by double-clicking it.

Adobe InDesign CS2 How-Tos(c) 100 Essential Techniques
Adobe InDesign CS2 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques
ISBN: 0321321901
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 142

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