Insert Characters Feature

Before asking a question on FontCreator look here for possible solutions and tutorials. Please do not post support requests here.
Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6351
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Insert Characters Feature

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:58 pm

Introduction
The Insert Characters feature is new in Font Creator 5.0, and is included only in the Professional Edition or the 30-day free trial edition. It helps you to quickly add correctly mapped glyphs to your font by selecting from character sets. For the tutorial I chose a Monotype font, Calisto MT, which has most of the ANSI character set, and most of the necessary accents, but not many other characters. The only character missing from the Latin-1 Supplement character set was the middle dot.

In the font overview screen, select Characters from the insert menu to display the following dialogue box.

Image

The characters with a green background already exist in the font, while the ones with a white background only exist in the Template font. You can select any installed font to use as a template from the Font droplist. For this Tutorial I selected my own font called “Unicode Template” because it contains many glyphs. The blue arrows are used to scroll to the next or previous Unicode block, or you can select any Unicode block of characters from the “Go to Unicode Block” droplist.

To add the selected character to the list of characters for insertion, double-click on it, or click the “Add” button. If the character already exists in the font, it will have a green background. If you try to add it again you will get an error message.

Image

If you click on OK the characters in the list will be inserted at the end of your font. Since we have only added one character (middle dot), lets scroll on to the next block (click on the blue arrow), to add the Latin Extended-A character set.

Image

To add the whole character set, double-click on the first one (256) to add that to the list, then hold down the shift key while double-clicking on the last one (383), Latin Small Letter long S. The following characters will now be listed for insertion: 183,256-383. Clicking on OK now will insert all of these at once. Let's do that before we go on to the next lesson.

You should now see something like this in the glyph overview.

Image

The characters you have just inserted will be displayed in blue, while the glyphs already in the font are in black. This is because the characters are “empty” — they have only character mappings, but no glyph outlines yet. We will fill those in later. If you don't see any blue characters, but just blank white grid squares, that may be because you are not using a suitable template font. From the Tools menu, select Options, Overview, and select a font like MS Unicode from the “Font used by Samples” droplist. The checkbox “Show sample in empty glyphs” should be selected.

Image

Finding Characters
There are so many characters in the Unicode standard it is sometimes hard to find the one you are looking for. Let's insert a Euro symbol and a few other currency characters. Select Characters from the insert menu again, and in the “Find Part of Character Name” field type “Euro” and click on Find Next. The Currency Symbols Unicode block will be displayed. Alternatively, if you don't know the name, but do know that its decimal code-point is 8364 you can type that in the “Go to Code Point” field to find it. If you can remember the Hex code you can find it by typing “$20AC” instead.

Now that we have found the Euro, lets insert it along with French Franc, Italian Lira, and Spanish Peseta. You can select them in any order by double-clicking on each in turn. Font Creator will insert the commas automatically into the added character list, or it will insert a hyphen if you hold down shift to insert a range of characters.

Image

Changing the Template Font
Suppose you wish to insert some characters that are not found in the template font, say Cyrillic characters. You can change the template font at any time to find the characters you need. Insert characters doesn't insert any glyph outlines, only character mappings for all platforms in your font. To insert mappings for Cyrillic we could choose a font like Times New Roman to see the characters in the Insert character dialogue box.

Image

Actually, we can still pick the characters by number, but seeing the characters on screen makes it a lot easier.

Selecting a Different Unicode Block
Rather than scrolling through the many Unicode Blocks, you can go directly to the one you want by selecting it from the “Go to Unicode Block” droplist.

Image

That's enough for now on inserting characters. Lets go on to add the actual glyph outlines. So far, all we have is lots of empty glyphs.

Completing Composites
I deliberately chose Latin character sets with accents because these are the easiest to complete. Just select all the empty glyphs and select “complete composites” from the toolbar icon or the right-click menu. If your font contains at least some letters and accents already many of these empty glyphs will become composite glyphs as if by magic. However, you might notice some gaps where the empty glyphs are still blue, something like this:

Image

This is because the combining comma accent below is missing from this font. Though the empty letters are named K Cedilla, N Cedilla, R Cedilla, etc., they don't use the cedilla accent, but instead they use the combining comma accent below. To rectify this, all we need to do is add the missing accents from the Spacing Modifier letters and Combining Diacritical marks. Now you should know how to do this so I will leave it for you to work out.

Aligning Accents
If you managed the last exercise OK, the glyphs will now be complete. The final stage is to adjust the accents for position. Font Creator is clever, but it is not psychic. It doesn't know how you have designed your font. The accents will only be in approximately the right position. You will have to manually adjust each one, at least in the horizontal direction to centre it correctly over or under the base glyph. To make this process quick and easy, set guidelines like this:

Image

When you select the accent, notice the vertical position of the bottom of the accent in the status line, and adjust the guideline by dragging it close, then double-clicking on the guideline to be precise to the nearest funit. Set guidelines using existing accented characters so that the accents in the new characters will align with them. Scroll through the font, adjusting each accent like this:

Image
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6351
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:57 pm

To speed up the insertion of the same characters to multiple fonts, once you have decided on the characters that you need, you can save the data in a text file and paste the text into the Insert Characters dialogue, “Add these characters ..” field at the bottom. Below are some character sets that I use.

Latin Extended
256-383, 416, 417, 431, 461-493, 500, 501, 504-539, 542, 543, 550-563, 717, 768-785, 803-808, 812-818, 7680, 7835-7929

Greek Extended
890, 7936-7957, 7960-7965, 7968-8005, 8008-8013, 8016-8023, 8025, 8027, 8029, 8031-8061, 8064-8116, 8118-8132, 8134-8147, 8150-8155, 8157-8175, 8178-8180, 8182-8190

Greek and Coptic
884, 885, 890, 894, 900-974

Macintosh
33-126, 161-165, 167-172, 174, 176, 177, 180-182, 184, 186, 187, 191-207, 210, 211, 212, 213, 216-9, 223, 230, 247, 248, 255, 305, 338, 339, 376, 402, 710, 711, 713, 728-733, 960, 8211, 8212, 8216-8218, 8220-8222, 8224-8226, 8230, 8240, 8249-8250, 8482, 8486, 8706, 8710, 8719, 8721, 8725, 8729, 8730, 8734, 8747, 8776, 8800, 8804, 8805, 9674, 61440, 64257, 64258

European Languages
166-255, 256-383, 536-539, 562-563, 710, 711, 713-715, 717, 729-733, 759, 768-776, 784, 803-806, 7692, 7693, 7716, 7717, 7730, 7731, 7734-7739, 7744-7753, 7768-7775, 7778-7779, 7788, 7789, 7808-7813, 7816-7817, 7826-7827, 7868, 7869, 7922-7925, 8209-8210, 8229, 8253, 8260, 8268, 8269, 8304, 8308-8313, 8319-8329, 8355, 8356, 8359, 8364, 8448, 8453-8454, 8470, 8482, 8494, 8531-8543, 8722, 8801, 64256-64260

Vietnamese Fonts
32-126, 160-383, 402, 416, 417, 431, 432, 461-493, 496, 500, 501, 504-539, 542, 543, 550-563, 702-703, 710-719, 728-733, 755, 759, 768-785, 795, 803-806, 813-818, 937, 960, 7680-7835, 7840-7929, 8208-8231, 8240, 8242, 8243, 8258-8260, 8268-8270, 8273-8275, 8304, 8305, 8308-8334, 8352-8366, 8448, 8451, 8453, 8454, 8457, 8470, 8471, 8480-8482, 8486, 8487, 8490, 8491, 8494, 8507, 8531-8543, 8706, 8710, 8719, 8721, 8722, 8725, 8729-8732, 8734, 8747-8748, 8756-8758, 8764, 8776, 8800, 8804, 8805, 57344-57364, 64256, 64259

:idea: While you can keep this data in a text file, wouldn't it be better to store it in Font Creator? Well, you can. Open the Font Test window (F5) and paste the data at the bottom of the test text. When you test your font the data will be off screen, but when you want it, the data is right where you need it — in Font Creator.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6351
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Insert Characters Feature

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:36 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The final stage is to adjust the accents for position. Font Creator is clever, but it is not psychic.

Since the release of version 5.6, FontCreator got a lot more clever. Now it can algin many of the accents correctly for you using known font metrics such as x-height, Caps-Height, and TypoDescender. You will still have to do some manual adjustments, but not many.

Eastern European Preset
To speed up the addition of character sets, there are some new Glyph Transformation Presets. This animation shows how to insert many accented characters for European languages, and how to adjust some of them. The preset will only work properly if your font already contains the necessary accents such as modifier accents circumflex, caron, tilde, macron, ogonek, etc.

Image
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC10.1 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10


Return to “FontCreator - Tutorials and Solutions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests