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Adding OpenType Features in FontCreator

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:07 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
For earlier versions, see Adding OpenType Features Using FontCreator 7

Please ask questions about this Tutorial in the FontCreator Support Forum.

Visual OpenType Designer

In FontCreator 9.0, the previous OpenType Layout Feature Editor was merged with the OpenType Designer. The code editor is still available for those who need it, but a visual representation of OpenType features and lookups aims to make the editing process more intuitive for those not familiar with editing code.

FontCreator 10.1 made further improvements to the OpenType Designer. Shortcut Ctrl W can be used to close it without saving any changes (as well as the Alt F4 Windows default).

FontCreator 11.0 made further improvements to adding OpenType Features. See the latter part of the What is New video on YouTube for a brief summary of the improvements to the OpenType Designer.

The dialogue and the code editor can now be resized to be much smaller than before.
OpenType Designer 11.png
OpenType Designer 11.png (69.76 KiB) Viewed 30309 times
On opening the OpenType Designer for a font with OpenType features, one will see a window with the scripts, features, and lookups on the left. One can also import scripts to add OpenType features. Selecting a Glyph Substitution feature like AlternativeFractions (afrc) as in the screenshot below will display visually the input and output for each substitution in the lookup in the pane on the right.

The input for the selected lookup is “one slash one six,” and the output is the glyph named “onesixteenth.afrc.” That is, if the user types 1/16 in an OpenType aware application and if the Alternative Fraction feature is enabled, the stacking fraction in the right-hand preview pane will be the result. The text is still 1/16, but the OpenType feature replaces it with the alternative fraction glyph. If the feature is disabled, or the font is changed to one without that feature, then the text will be shown as 1/16.
Visual Designer.png
Visual Designer.png (185.83 KiB) Viewed 36704 times
Adding Standard Ligatures

Some common standard ligatures are found in the Alphabetic Presentation Forms character set.
Alphabetic Presentation Forms.png
Alphabetic Presentation Forms.png (69.01 KiB) Viewed 29097 times
Others can be added in the Private Use Area. Be mindful that some of these code-points are used by FontCreator for easily generating Stacking Diacritics, Petite Capitals, etc. See the PDF file Composite Data Update for a comprehensive list of code-points in use by the Complete Composites feature.

Use the OpenType Designer to add a Standard Ligatures feature, a lookup table, and to add glyph substitutions to that lookup table. By default, a lookup table for a ligatures feature will be named "Ligature1" etc. I rename my lookup tables to match the feature name for my own convenience.
Standard Ligatures.png
Standard Ligatures.png (41.36 KiB) Viewed 29097 times
This Thread is Locked: Please ask in the Support Forum if you have any questions about using the Visual OpenType Designer as the topic is too complex to summarise it all in one thread.