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๐Ÿ”Ž Quick Tips: Using decorative text, ligatures, and glyphs in Photoshop

Adobe Employee ,
May 24, 2022 May 24, 2022

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special glyphs HEADER.jpg

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Learn how to access more font options

 

Did you know you can create fun text for your projects using the Glyphs Panel?  Not only does the Glyphs panel gives you a way to add familiar text options such as subscripts, superscripts, small caps, currency symbols, numbers, etc, but it also lets you configure alternate letter forms, ligatures, swash, and more. Each font has its own list of available options. You can find tons of fonts at https://fonts.adobe.com/. Some fonts have very few options, while others have many ornamental choices. Check out the information below that shows the panels and menus that you will want to become familiar with and then give it a try!

 

Here a few examples using a simple font that demonstrate how you can easily jazz up words and make them more decorative:

 

Glyph test colors.jpg

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The Glyphs Panel

You can open the Glyphs Panel from the main Photoshop menu in one of two ways:

 

 1) Window > Glyphs

 

GLYPHS in menu.png

 

 

2) Type > Panels > Glyphs panel

 
Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 3.39.08 PM.png

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The Glyphs panel has several parts and looks like this:
Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 3.37.21 PM.png

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 The Font Category dropdown (D in the image above) allows you to choose whether to view all options (select Entire font), or to display just one of many categories, such as Alternates, Designer Favorites, Standard Ligatures, Stylistic Alternatives. Each font is different, so you will find that some fonts have more and different categories available than others. Here is an example of a font with many categories:
 
Glyph Categories.png

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Here is how the Glyphs panel looks for one font I used in the sample. You can see many alternate styles for  letters as well as several ligatures that combine letters and add a little curly flair. Again, each font is different and the type and quantity of options will vary from font to font.

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GLYPHS.png
 
 

 While using the text tool in a Photoshop document, you can click to create an insertion point where you want to insert the glyph and then double-click a glyph in the Glyphs panel.

 

 

Type Layer Glyph Alternatives

When you are working in a Type layer and the Type Layer Glyph Alternates feature is enabled, you can select a character,  keep the mouse over the character, and then a box will pop up showing any alternate characters that exist for that font.  (See image below) You can choose a different one if you see an alternate version that you prefer.  Clicking on the little triangle icon in the alternatives grid will take you to the Glyphs panel. If you don't see the options pop up, then you will need to enable it in the preferences: Preferences > Type > Enable Type Layer Glyph Alternates.

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Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 6.16.36 PM.png
 

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For more information, visit Glyphs and Special Characters and also check out the related links at the bottom of this post.

 

OpenType font options

With some OpenType fonts, you can choose to apply ligatures to character pairs automatically. Ligatures are typographic replacement characters for certain groups of letters. You can also enable Discretionary ligatures if your chosen font offers them, which provides additional ornate options.

 

You can access the Characters panel from the main toolbar Window > Character, or click on the Character panel tab if the panel is visible but not currently active. If you have a type tool selected, you can click the Panel button PATTIE_F_0-1653415126099.png in the options bar above the canvas.

 

To configure and use the options choose an OpenType font, create and select some text, and then click on the desired OpenType icon in the Characters panel. These icons are also visible on the Type Layer Properties panel. You can also find the list of OpenType options by clicking on the 4 lines in the top right of the Character panel and selecting OpenType from the flyout menu. You will not be able to click on OpenType and choose options if you are using a font that is not OpenType.

 

 

OpenType Icons are in the Character panel and in the flyout menu.

PATTIE_F_1-1653416746884.png

 

 

OpenType icons are also in the Type Options section of the Type Layer Properties panel.

PATTIE_F_2-1653416746886.png

 

 

Check out this quick video to see a demo:

 

 

 

Related links:

Glyphs and Special Characters

Photoshop Glyphs panel

Arabic and Hebrew type, ligatures, glyphs, and alternates

Editing text

How to add and edit text in Photoshop

Line and character spacing

Formatting paragraphs

About layer effects and styles

Creating type
Format Characters

Using Fonts in Photoshop

How to add and edit text in Photoshop

Line and character spacing

Formatting paragraphs

Panels and menus

Activate, match, replace,  preview, and search for fonts

Work with OpenType SVG fonts

Unified Text Engine in Photoshop for international languages, scripts, and type

Unleash Hidden Gems in OpenType fonts - Adobe Blog

 

If you want to learn more about Photoshop in little bite-sized chunks, visit our Photoshop Quick Tips home page. It is loaded with tips, features, and projects you can try,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
May 25, 2022 May 25, 2022

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I love these tip posts of yours Pattie โ€” there's always some gold in them.  It needs a bump from way down page four, and is at least as deserving of being pinned as the Postscript Type 1 thread.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 25, 2022 May 25, 2022

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Thanks, Trevor, I'm glad you are enjoying them!  I try to pick frequently searched topics and a few that are not well known but really cool. I just did the ordering today, so it should be up at the top now.

 

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