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New and Hidden Font Features in Adobe Creative Cloud

New and Hidden Font Features in Adobe Creative Cloud

With all the new features added to the Creative Cloud versions of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, it’s easy to miss some that are the most useful. Each time Adobe revises these applications, they improve the way you interact with fonts. Strangely, different improvements are given to each application.

Preview Selections (PS, ID & IL)

All three apps let you scroll through your font list to see a live preview applied to selected text. It works like this: Select some text in your document. Click on the name of the font in the Character panel, Options Bar, or Control Panel. Press the Up or Down Arrow keys on your keyboard and watch as your selected text takes on the appearance of the next font above or below your current font in your font list. You can now do the same thing in InDesign and Illustrator CC by clicking on the downward-pointing triangle to the right of the font name, which displays your list of fonts. Pressing the Arrow keys will scroll up and down through the fonts and update the selected text in the document to the currently highlighted font in the list.

Font Families Grouped and Indented (ID & IL)

In InDesign and Illustrator CC, font family members (styles) such as Light, Bold, Italic, and Condensed are now hidden and grouped under the main name of the font family in the drop-down list of fonts. To see them, click the downwardpointing triangle to the right of the font family name to see a list of your fonts. When you click the disclosure triangle to the left of a font family name, the font family members appear indented under the family name. Click the triangle again to hide them. Note that you can still choose font family members from the drop-down menu next to the font name in the Control panels for both InDesign and Illustrator.

Find Parts of Font Names (ID & IL)

Find Parts of Font Names

In previous versions of InDesign and Illustrator, you could type the beginning of a font name in the Font field of the Control or Character panels to see only the fonts whose name begins with those letters. However, many font names begin with the font foundry (Adobe, ITC, P22, etc.) instead of the font family name (Garamond, Franklin Gothic, etc.), so finding all the Garamonds at once was impossible. InDesign and Illustrator CC now have a search option that finds all the fonts whose name contains those characters, even if they appear in the middle of the name. To use it, click the magnifying glass icon to the left of the font name in the Control or Character panel (oddly, this option isn’t available from the Type>Font menu). Then choose either Search Entire Font Name or Search First Word Only—the default is Search Entire Font Name. When you type in some characters, the font list will shrink to display only the fonts whose name contains those characters. A search for “Garamond Bold It” collects fonts from multiple foundries.

Favorite Fonts (ID)

InDesign still groups recently used fonts at the top of its font lists, and you can control how many fonts it remembers— and whether they’re listed alphabetically or in order of most recently used—in the Type preferences. To sort your recently used fonts alphabetically, choose InDesign (PC: Edit)>Preferences>Type, and check the Sort Recent Fonts List Alphabetically box. But InDesign CC adds a new organizational twist: Favorite Fonts. To add a font to your personal list of Favorites, click the star to the left of its font name. To view your Favorites, click the downward-pointing triangle at the right of the current font name, and tick the checkbox labeled Show Favorite Fonts Only. As with the Search feature mentioned above, the Favorite Fonts feature is available in the Control and Character panels, but not in the main Type>Font menu.

Typekit (PS, ID & IL)

Adobe has made hundreds of fonts available to every Creative Cloud subscriber. To get yours, go to the Creative Cloud app, click on the Fonts tab, and click the button labeled Browse Fonts on Typekit. That will take you to the Typekit website where you can explore and select fonts. Some are in a format that can only be used on websites, while others include both Web and desktop versions. The Web fonts remain on Adobe’s servers and are served up when people visit websites that specify them in their design. The desktop fonts you choose will be automatically downloaded to a hidden location on your computer and activated for use in any application. When your subscription to Creative Cloud ends, the Web fonts discontinue being served and the desktop fonts are removed from your computer. Note that the Package feature in InDesign and Illustrator will not collect Typekit fonts, so everyone who opens your document needs to already own the fonts or have access to Typekit.

Advanced Opentype Features (PS, ID & IL)

Advanced Opentype Features

Adobe has done a remarkable job of hiding the most creative features available in advanced OpenType fonts. An advanced OpenType font usually has “Pro” in its name, and includes a remarkable amount of intelligence. For example, some have multiple alternate glyphs (letterforms) for various letters, which you can use to give a unique appearance to your name or other important words in titles, captions, postcards, and so forth. Others choose variants of glyphs for you when they appear next to other specific characters (e.g., fractions or special ligatures such as fi, ffl , Th , or st). Some even provide increasing levels of “swashiness” in a script font. For example, Adios Script Pro’s lowercase “h” has 43 variants and the entire font has a staggering 1,470 glyphs. To access all this intelligence, first be sure you’re using an OpenType Pro font.

Select some text and begin exploring the OpenType areas of the Character panel, Control panel, and Glyphs panel. Amazingly, Photoshop CC provides easier access to OpenType features than either InDesign or Illustrator. Note the OpenType options that appear near the bottom of the Character panel in Photoshop. With some text selected, click on any of the bottom row of icons. If they’re grayed out, the font doesn’t support that OpenType feature. Hover your mouse over any of them to see their names. Illustrator has a dedicated OpenType panel with similar controls. Choose Window> Type>OpenType. To access the OpenType features in InDesign, you need to jump through a few hoops. After applying an OpenType Pro font to your selected text, choose OpenType from the either the Character or Control panel flyout menu. Be sure to explore the Stylistic Sets, which are combinations of that font’s special features as chosen by the font designer. If an option has brackets around it, that feature isn’t available in the current font.

Both InDesign and Illustrator have a fantastically useful Glyphs panel that shows every glyph (character) in your currently selected font. For both InDesign and Illustrator, go to Type>Glyphs. The Show menu can whittle down the grid to show only the punctuation, fractions, ligatures, ornaments, alternates, and so forth. If a glyph has a little triangle in the bottom-right corner of its square, it has alternate versions. Choose an alternate by clicking-and-holding on the glyph until they appear, then mousing over to the one you want. It even keeps track of your most recently used glyphs so you can easily find them later!

Exploring the Advanced OpenType features is similar to exploring Filters in Photoshop: you may want to pour a favorite beverage and dedicate an evening to getting lost in the creative possibilities.

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