Extra glyphs, such as alternatives and ligatures, are often included in many fonts. These alternatives can be additional styles or swashes, while ligatures combine two or more characters into one. By enabling and accessing these characters, you can enjoy greater creative freedom with your projects!
In this tutorial, we will be using Photoshop 22.5.1 and Illustrator 25.4.1 on a Mac. However, the process is similar for other versions.
Here are three different ways to enable or insert these characters into your project, using the Kindred Handlettered Typeface as an example:
1. Insert Characters from the Glyphs Panel The glyphs panel displays every character included in a font. To access it in Photoshop, navigate to Window > Glyphs. In Illustrator, go to Window > Type > Glyphs.
A window will appear displaying all the characters included in the font. Double-clicking any character will insert it into your project. Characters with alternatives will have a small arrow or square in the bottom corner of the glyph box. You can click and hold on any of these characters to open a mini-window displaying the alternatives for that specific character.
2. Replace Existing Characters with Alternatives If you have already typed out text that you want to modify with alternatives, highlight the character you want to change, and select the alternative from the menu that appears below.
3. Enable Standard Ligatures Ligatures are often used to improve legibility, and are split into two categories: Standard and Discretionary. Standard ligatures are inserted automatically as you type, while discretionary ligatures are more decorative in nature and can be inserted based on the designer’s preference.
Sometimes, standard ligatures need to be enabled in order to apply automatically. In Photoshop, go to Type > OpenType > Standard Ligatures to enable them. The checkmark will indicate when they are enabled. In Illustrator, go to Window > Type > OpenType, highlight the text you are working with, and then select the “standard ligatures” button on the bottom left of the window.