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- Understanding the three type objects in Illustrator
- Importing text from Microsoft Word
- Using the Glyphs panel
- Converting text into editable vector paths
- Kerning and scaling characters
- Setting indents and spacing
- Threading text across multiple objects
- Sharing styles across multiple documents
- Understanding style overrides
- Changing text with Find and Replace
- Wrapping text
- Setting type along a path
- Updating legacy text
Skill Level Intermediate
As we've seen in the previous movie, OpenType fonts can have a tremendous amount of glyphs and characters inside of them. As a designer, I can start to set some type and then I can start to go through my Glyphs panel and pick out and find what special characters might exist for the particular font that I am using at that time. But that could be very, very time consuming, and it would also mean that, well, I would have certain characters available for me for certain typefaces, but if my client decided, "I don't like that typeface, switch it up with something else," just by switching from one typeface to another, well, that glyph may not be available in that other typeface, so I'd have to start out from scratch again and start rethinking my design.
On top of that, even if I know what all the special characters are for a particular font, I only have a finite number of keys on my keyboard, and the last thing I want to start doing is typing in codes like Alt+2974 just to be able to get some kind of special character like a bullet, for example. There has to be a better way. So this brings me to the next benefit about working with OpenType fonts. I am going to start by creating a new document here inside of Illustrator. I will press Command+N or Ctrl+N. I am just going to use a Print Profile here, but I am going to use a wide orientation for my page, and I will click OK.
I'll take my Type tool, and by the way, before I even start typing, I can click on the word Character here and I'll increase my Point Size to like 72, just so that when I start typing here I get something much bigger and easier to view. Now, maybe I want to type in the word finish, so I will type in an f, lowercase f over here. The typeface I am using is Myriad Pro. Now, after an f comes an i. I also know that as a designer I'd really like to use the fi ligature because I don't want to have that weird collision between the top of the f and the dot on the top of the lowercase i. But watch what happens now when I simply type an i on my keyboard.
You see how Illustrator now automatically converted the f and the i to the fi ligature. Now I will type in the n, ish, and I'll actually zoom in by pressing Command+Plus here a few times. I will actually go ahead now and switch to my Arrow tool here just to kind of center this to my screen. I want you to kind of focus on what I am seeing here. You can easily see that the fi now have been combined into a single glyph that represents two individual characters: the lowercase f and the lowercase i. But I didn't have to do anything fancy.
I didn't have to type any special keys in order to make that happen. It happened automatically. In other words, as I was typing, Illustrator somehow went into my font, saw that there was an fi ligature, and automatically swapped out that glyph for my separate f and i glyphs. How did that happen? Well, the answer is is that OpenType fonts are also what we refer to as intelligent fonts. It's not just a font that has tons of characters and glyphs hidden inside of it.
There is also specific functionality built into OpenType fonts that also give the font extended functionality. However, in order for that functionality to actually do anything, in order for it to actually work, you need to have an application that is going to actually perform or tap into that functionality. Adobe Illustrator is such an application. We refer to Illustrator as an OpenType-aware application. It knows about OpenType fonts. It knows about the functions and features available inside of OpenType fonts, and it can take advantage of those features.
The feature that I just tapped into right now was something called Automatic Glyph Replacement. As I am typing, if there are available glyphs inside of that font, Illustrator will automatically swap out and replace those glyphs for me. In other words, I don't have to scroll through all those different glyphs panels and different character combinations and glyphs to try to find out what's in there; as I am typing, if something exist, it will automatically pop into place. Now, how did this actually happen? Let's say I don't want it to have a ligature.
Maybe I want to have the old- fashioned f and the i as separate characters. Am I forced now, because I am using Illustrator, to always use ligatures? Well, let's go to the Window menu here, and I will choose, towards the bottom here where it says Type, we actually have a whole group of Type panels. There's one here called OpenType. The OpenType panel allows me as a designer to control what does or doesn't happen when I use OpenType fonts. The first little icon here is little fi, which stands for standard ligatures. If I click on that, I could turn that on or I could turn it off.
Notice over here now that I've turned that function off, and now you can see I have a separate f and i on my document. But if I turn that little button on, that means now that whenever I am typing, if a ligature exists in the typeface that I am using, Illustrator will automatically add that ligature. Let's see another example of how that might work. I am going to take my Type tool here, I am just going to click anywhere inside of this text, and press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all my text. And maybe I want to type the word flower. So I type in fl. Notice automatically I get the fl ligature. And then I type in ower.
This is happening because I have this setting turned on. Now I am actually going to go ahead and turn this setting off. I will go ahead now and select all my text, and I will type the same word. Actually, now that I have my text selected, I am just going to go ahead and turn that off again. Now, I will type in fl, and you can see now that I get two separate glyphs for each of those individual characters, and that's because I turned that feature off. Now, upon closer inspection here, you can also see that some of these little icons here are actually lit up and some of them are grayed out, meaning they are not available.
This is my indication as I am working inside of Illustrator that the typeface that I am currently using right now does not have those features inside of them. So right now this typeface called Myriad Pro has some standard ligatures. It has no contextual alternates available. And those are alternates, maybe different characters that exist, or different versions of glyphs for the same character. So, for example, if I type in the word freedom and I want those two E's to look a little bit different so that maybe if I am using a handwritten font, both of these E's look real.
If they looked exactly the same, I mean no person actually makes two characters with their hand that looks exactly the same. So a type designer may create different variations of a lowercase e to make it look as if they are actually handwritten. There are also something called Discretionary Ligatures. Those are an addition to the fi and the fls, These are things, for example, like st ligatures. This typeface does not have them because they're grayed out. You also have Swash capitals. Again, this typeface does not have them. However, you have something here called Stylistic Alternates.
Again, these are different ways that I might have a character appear next to each other. You have Titling Alternates, which I do not have available on this font. And then I have Ordinals, which is first and second and third. Those are the little st or the nd or the rd that appears kind of as a superscript. And then I have Fractions, which are also available. This is a very powerful feature when working with OpenType fonts. For example, I am going to press Ctrl+A or Command+A to select my type. I will type in a 1 and then a forward slash and then a 2, and now if I go ahead now and I highlight, I hit Command+A, Ctrl+A to select all my type and I turn Fractions on, you can see that now it turns into a real fraction.
This is, again, Automatic Glyph Replacement. When I see that I have a 1/2, by turning on the Fraction feature, I am basically letting Illustrator know that if my typeface has a different glyph for displaying this type of fraction, go ahead and use it for me automatically. The beauty of working this way is that if later on I get a phone call from my client and they say they want to change this typeface to something else, so I go to my little pop-up over here and I choose like Onyx, for example, this may not even be an OpenType font. And if it didn't have a fraction, it would just return it back to us regular 1/2.
I can actually switch between any of the typeface, for example, Papyrus here. But if I were to now go ahead and choose a typeface that did have that function inside of it--for example, I will choose Tekton Pro-- that one does have the fraction inside of it, so now it gets converted back to a fraction because I have instructed Illustrator to do so. This is what we refer to as Automatic Glyph Replacement, and as a designer, it puts an incredible amount of power into your hands with regard to typography. Take, for example, a whole page of type.
Now, you might spend some time going through all different characters that appear inside of that text, but if you're using Automatic Glyph Replacement, wherever there are ligatures, wherever there are fractions or other special features here that we've just gone through, those would automatically be taking place inside of that text whenever you're using an OpenType font that has that functionality inside of it. In other words, just by using Illustrator and just by using these OpenType fonts, your text looks better. And when designing logos, instead of kind of scrolling through all these different type specimens or catalogs to find out what special characters are there, you could simply type a word and then instantly take a look at all these different icons, see what features are available, and just simply by turning those features on and off, step through different variations of your design.
So again, I just want to emphasize this point. There is nothing bad about using PostScript Type 1 fonts or TrueType fonts, and there is nothing that says that you need to use an OpenType font. But if you have OpenType fonts available to you, you will have that much more functionality built into them automatically that you can take advantage of.