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As an alternative to all caps, we also have small caps, and small caps can be accessed from the control panel. It's the big T, small t, and that is the clue as to what they do. Small caps is going to give you an initial capital letter for each word, and then subsequent letters will be at a reduced size, but in a capital form. OpenType Pro fonts, and Minion Pro being the example that I'm using here, have an extended character set, and as part of that character set, there are small cap characters, or small cap glyphs.
So these all separately drawn characters, and this is always preferable to using fake small caps, and that's what we have in the example above. Now, I should just point out that this type has been converted to outlines, just for sake of convenience, so that we don't have any missing font issues. But it was set in the non-pro version of Minion, so that we are comparing like with like. We have above the non-pro version of Minion, where we are using fake small caps, i.e. they are the capital versions of the letters, reduced to 70% of their original percentage.
There is a preference that's going to determine exactly what percentage they are reduced to, and it's right there in Advanced Type. So the small caps, when you're faking it, are going to be 70% off the full size. But in this case, that's irrelevant, because we working with the Pro version, and we have real small caps, and we can see that the weight of the letters is the same whether they of full size, or reduced size, and that's going to be obviously preferable, whereas in the upper version, the weight of each letter has been reduced, because not only are they vertically scaled to 70%, but they're also horizontally scaled to 70%.
So, moral of the story, when you have an OpenType Pro version of the font -- Minion Pro, Caslon Pro, Adobe Garamond Pro, being some examples -- they will have real small caps available. So when do we use small caps? Here I have two bodies of text: one without the usage of small caps, and one with. And where small caps really come into their own is when you have a lot of brand names, AM, PM, and other terms that appear in all caps.
When there are a lot of these in the text, they can overwhelm the text, because the capital letters are just too big, relative to the upper and lowercase. So we when have the option of putting them in small caps -- and they should be applied as a character style ideally, and they have been here; I've made a character style, so that they can be applied more easily, and thereafter, controlled more easily -- it's always going to look better. Now, as for the issue of the AM, PM, I've put the AM in small caps, but the current version of the Chicago Manual of Style actually states that it should be a.m. in lowercase. Which style you go with is going to depend upon you own internal style manual, but this still looks a whole lot better than the example above.
Other times when we want to use small caps, small caps imply that the first character of the word is going to be bigger than the rest, but that needn't necessarily be the case. With OpenType Small Caps you have the option of OpenType All Small Caps, and if I select this here, and then we come up to the control panel to OpenType, you can see we have this option All Small Caps. So all of the letters are going to be at a reduced scale.
They're all going to be at the height of the X height, i.e. the height of the lowercase letters. This is only going to be an option for those OpenType fonts that come in a pro version with extended character sets.
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