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OT (Open Type) Variable Fonts are highly flexible and customizable typefaces. InDesign now supports Variable Font They are the equivalent of multiple individual fonts compactly packaged within a single font file.
You can change the custom attributes such as weight, width, slant, optical size, etc. using convenient slider controls available when you click in the Control panel, Character panel, Character Styles panel, and Paragraph Styles panel.
Check this help article for complete details about this feature.
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As much as Variable Fonts do represent new and exciting technology with much potential going forward, you may wish to limit your use of these fonts at this point especially for production workflows! Why?
Be aware that Variable Fonts are not directly supported by PDF. This isn't a matter of what can be supported by Acrobat or other PDF viewers, but rather it is an issue of Variable Fonts not being supported at all by the PDF language specification, including PDF 2.0 and the upcoming PDF/X-6 and PDF/A-4 specifications. It may be several years before such support is added to the PDF specification and according support added to PDF viewers (such as Adobe Reader and Acrobat). If you do use Variable Fonts in an InDesign or Illustrator document, generated PDF (as well as PostScript and EPS) use derived “instances” of the Variable Font based on the settings for the text being formatted. As a tangible result, text formatted in these applications using Variable Fonts is effectively not editable within Acrobat! (You can change the text to another, non-Variable Font, but you cannot at all access Variable Fonts within Acrobat!)
Also be aware that web browser support for Variable Fonts (both the OpenType CFF and OpenType TrueType flavours) is not universal and/or consistent.
Similar advice applies to “color” and SVG OpenType fonts.
Good for experimentation at this point, but be very cautious in any use for production.
Thank you so much for your valuable inputs, Dov!
In a production environment you should NEVER edit any text in a PDF to start with, variable or otherwise.
As much as Adobe like to keep sending out emails saying text is fully editable in a PDF, it isn't really… as I have had to explain to several of my clients who have received these emails.
Editing text in a PDF is only for people who are never going to go near a production environment and, to be frank, for people who don't know or don't care about the quality of the final output.
I would not dispute that at all!
In general, assuming you have the source document(s), it is actually quicker and more reliable to edit the source document and regenerate the PDF.
PS: You know those marketing types who don't even use the products … 😉
Ah yes, those marketing types … 🙂
Thanks, Dov, for this interesting addendum to what I recently reported about variable fonts in the current issue of InDesign Magazine! Good to know.
… And I enjoyed the article very much!
Great tips! I was so excited about this. This gives us something to think about. Thanks!
I love using Variable fonts for working with other designers across a large enterprise. Why? No pesky alerts popping up having to reassociate or activate a font. I realize this is a side benefit to the awesome flexibility and having so many options, BUT I'm missing some special characters and glyphs in the Variable fonts. That is an issue.
Thank you for this input. I'm wondering when one CAN use a variable font. For example, if I create a logo using a variable font in Illustrator, is there a way to export it to PNG or another format that will allow me to place it in an InDesign document without problems. So far nothing I do with a logo that originated with a variable font prevents a fuzzy/blurry appearance of the logo when it's printed, or onscreen..
I have seen several press articles where they talk about the new option of Variable Fonts in InDesign, although I have the latest version, it does not bring that tool. WHY?
it seems that your issue is resolved. Actually it was a non-issue, I think:
( ACP )
I just installed the new Macklin variable fonts from Monotype. They work as expected in Illustrator, and the "regular" cut works as expected in InDesign. However, the Macklin Sans font doesn't work well in InDesign: the prebuilt weights are functional, but when one varies the axis sliders, they seem to have no effect. Bug in the font or in InDesign?