Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Avoiding problems with faux bold and italic, part of Font Management Essential Training (2017).
Whenever you're working with text, you'll come across situations where you need to make something bold or italic. And of course, most applications offer you handy buttons or keyboard shortcuts for this purpose. But you need to be cautious using those things, because sometimes they can yield inconsistent And unexpected results. Let's take a look. Here, I'm in Adobe InDesign, and in my document, I have a bunch of samples of Helvetica, using type 1 postscript, true type, and open type fonts. An let's apply bold to them, an see the results that we get.
First I'll make a copy of the top text frame, by Option or Alt-dragging across, just so we can see the before an after effects. With the frame selected I can apply the bold command to all the text in it. By pressing Cmd+Shif7 B here on the Mac or Control Shift B on Windows. And what I get is almost completely unexpected. If I put my cursor in here, I can see the fonts, and Helvetica Type 1 Light is now Helvetica Black, the Type 1 Medium became bold. Okay, the bold remained bold And the black remain black.
Now let's apply the command again. I'll press Escape to select the frame and press command shift b. And what I end up with is both the blacks now became helvetica type one light. And the bold stay stuck at bold. So it's like a one way street. There's now getting back to the original four fonts I had. Without undoing and manually applying those fonts again. Let's try the same experiment for the true type, Helvetica Neue. I'll Option or Alt-drag to make a new copy of the frame. Press Cmd+Shift+B. An now all four fonts are switched, to Helvetica Neue Bold. Very strange. Apply the command again to see if we can undo. And now they're all Helvetica Neue Light. Okay, how about our open type fonts, lets see if those do any better. I'll make a copy of the text frame, press command shift P, and nothing happens, its almost like the developers of this font, said lets avoid all the confusion and fix the problem by forcing the user to manually apply the fonts that they want. Alright lets try to experiment again and this time we'll use the keyboard shortcut to apply italic. Command+Shift+I in the Mac, control shift I on windows I'll delete these frames, make copies of the originals, and press Cmd+Shift+I. The Type 1 fonts did pretty much what you'd expect. Ton Light became Light Oblique. The Medium became Medium Oblique. Bold became Bold Oblique. But, the type 1 black just stayed type 1 black. I'll select the frame and apply the shortcut again, and it undid the italic for the light and the bold, but the medium stayed stuck in italic. TNow, let's look at our TrueType fonts. They didn't fare quite so well. Most of them became Helvetica Neue Light Italic. And the bold became bold italic. Now let's check our open type fonts. And again, nothing happened to these when I pressed the keyboard shortcut. Now, these are the kind of mixed results I get in InDesign, where the application won't allow you to apply formatting that doesn't correspond to a real font. But you can get into even more trouble, in Microsoft Word, where the application will simulate fonts, that don't exist when you apply fake bold or italic. If I switch over to Word, and here I have four samples of Helvetica Neue ranging from ultra light to bold. I'll copy those, paste, select them all and press the Bold button. Now the text appears bolder, but if I select one of the fonts and check the Font menu Scroll down to find my Helvetica. And look in the sub-menu. None of the fonts here is selected.
That's because there is such no thing in this case as Helvetica Neue ultra light bold. Lets see what happens if I save this file and try to place it in In-design. I'll save, switch over to InDesign. I'll go to a new page and press Cmd or Ctrl+D to place. Place my file and I get a warning that some font substitutions will occur for the nonexistent fonts that Word sort of made up. I'll click OK to place the text. And if I select it. Remember it was these four samples down here that I applied the fake ball to. I can see that all four fonts are now Helvetica Neue enabled. So you can see that you just can't always predict what fonts you will end up within your documents when you use shortcuts for bold and italic. The bottom line is for best results, you need to use styles that manually apply the styles that you want. Or at least use the font menus in your applications to manually select fonts, and be careful with those bold and italic shortcuts.
- What is a font?
- Understanding TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType fonts
- Using web fonts
- Understanding what fonts come with your computer
- Purchasing fonts
- Activating and deactivating fonts
- Installing fonts
- Using Mac Font Book or Suitcase Fusion
- Choosing font management software
- Identifying fonts
- Creating fonts in InDesign
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: This course was updated on 12/08/2015. What changed?
A: We updated 11 movies to reflect changes in to the treatment of fonts in the Mac and Windows operating systems.
This course was updated on 01/25/2017. What changed?
The 01/25/2017 update featured changes to the following topics: operating system defaults, font libraries, avoiding problems with Mac system fonts, enabling and disabling fonts on a Mac. A new topic was also added: managing fonts on mobile devices.