Choosing encodings

Coming from Fontlab and being new to Glyphs, I’m missing the encoding files. These I can name whatever I want and choosing one of them directly displays empty glyph cells in the order and amount of glyphs chosen in that enc. file. From what I can tell there is nothing like it in Glyphs? There are the .plist files – filtering lists which have to be in the same folder as the font file for some reason, and from which I need to generate glyphs if not present. There is the other filtering stuff from which I also need to generate glyphs if not present – and there’s the GlyphData xml file, which I guess handles Unicode mapping and sorting of glyphs. This is the only permanent way as far as I can tell, but it doesn’t give you different encodings to choose from, it’s just that one.
I need different encodings for different projects, and it seems like a strange workaround having to use a filter and then generate glyphs from that, instead of just choosing an encoding directly, like in Fontlab. Have I misunderstood anything, and what’s your take on this? Thanks…

It is a different app, and some things do work differently, yes.

Which functionality exactly are you missing? IOW what are you trying to achieve? Add glyphs to the font? In that case, yes, you can use the default lists provided in the sidebar or add your own list filters.

You can have as many list filters in the sidebar as you wish, and you can create filters right there (with the gear button at the bottom left). So, no need to create separate .plist files. The difference is that Glyphs will not show cells for glyphs that are not in the file.

GlyphData is something else. You do not need to edit that.

Technically, what FL calls ‘encodings’ are not encodings, btw. It is just lists of glyph names. The only actual encoding employed by Glyphs (and FL6+ for that matter) is Unicode.

What I’d like is a way to, from scratch/new font, be able to choose from a list of different ‘encodings’ – i e lists of glyphs in a particular order. When I choose one it would display all the glyphs listed in the ‘encoding’ file – display them as empty glyph slots, in the order listed in the file. I wouldn’t have to generate anything. I’d also like to be able to export/import these lists easily.

What I was aiming at: What for? If you are not generating the glyphs, what do you need the lists for?

I think we are talking about different ‘generating’: I’m talking about the the awkwardness of having to generate non present glyphs via the filters. You seem to be talking about generating glyphs as in exporting font… :slight_smile:
All I want is a display of the glyphs I need, in the sorting I need. Why? Because it’s easier to work when you have the glyphs in the sorting you are used to.

Looks like the being of ‘encodings’ in Glyphs have been discussed before in this forum:

You see the glyphs that are in the font. And if they are empty you will see a grey placeholder representation of the system font or the first installed font in the system.

The list also defines the display order. What are you missing?

Don’t know if I´m doing anything wrong, but after creating a filter containing 520 glyphs, in a special order, and then on a New font choosing that Filter – I get “66/520”. Only 66 of them are shown. I have to create/generate the rest of them by right-clicking the filter. And after I’ve done that, the filter now shows “472/520”. Still not all.
If I now choose “Categories/All” instead, all 520 glyph slots show up.
This just seems awkward to me. Why not just show all of the 520 glyphs slots when choosing the created filter? That would be equal to choosing an ‘encoding’ in Fontlab.

It has to do with the glyph names you used. Some were renamed by Glyphs to the internal naming system. If you really need those names, you need to set “Use Custom Naming” in Font Info > Other settings.

Ok, I guess that accounts for the “472/520”. But I don’t see why only 66 out of 520 is shown from the start, and why one has to create the rest of them by right-clicking. Wouldn’t it be easier to just show all directly when using the filter?

As mentioned before, The font view only shows glyphs that are already in the font (regardless if they are entry or now). There are no “ghost” visible. In Fontlab you can see them but you need to click them to actually add them to the font.

Yes, what you call ‘ghosts’ and I call ‘empty glyph slots’ – I think that would be a better way of handling it in Glyphs. Otherwise you can’t see the glyph set chosen, you have to create it first to see it, which is weird. The Fontlab way is better I think – especially when you’d like to browse through a lot of different filters/glyph sets. Perhaps something for your consideration.

How would that be “better”. What advantage does it have?

Seeing what you have and be able to quickly add what you are missing is very efficient. It handles slight differences in glyph sets much better. e.g.: if you have some more alternate glyphs in the italic. Do you add them to your main encoding file? Or do you sort them to the end of the font. And how do you handle different scripts? Do you have an encoding file that included all Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, one only for Latin and Cyrillic, on for Latin and Greek (or whatever combination of scripts you might have in your projects. And what if one font has old-style figures and/or smallcaps. I had a dozen encoding files when I was using FLS and it never fit.

Honestly, I would find the opposite weird. The font should not show anything it does not have.

I believe it makes sense to just create what you want in the font. I also do not see that it would be more efficient any other way, because:

  1. If you want it in the font, you would have to create it either way. Then it is better to see what is still missing, or see at one glance if a list is fully implemented.
  2. If you don’t want it in the font, you would not want to create it anyway.

Or maybe I misunderstand the point of browsing through encodings. The ones that came standard with FLS5 were terribly outdated and irrelevant 8-bit encodings from times long past. I strongly recommend against those. They are often faulty and/or incomplete, and do not cover unencoded glyphs, which may be necessary to support a language.

The only two that today make sense technically, are MacRoman (because Mac keyboard layouts can type most of them) and Win1252 (because a font can misbehave in Windows otherwise). They are included in the default sidebar.

We created default sidebar entries based on user-input and research. But everyone is welcome to add their own custom lists, of course. There are a few entries available on GitHub. I believe at one point someone published a collection of old 8-bit encodings too. I couldn’t find it anymore though.


I guess we’re used to work differently. I’m used to create different encodings* for almost every project I’m working on. I mostly name the encodings with the project name. The italics might differ a bit from the roman, yes Georg, so it can have its own encoding in that case.
I don’t care about the old 8-bit encodings, of course. The standard encodings I never use, only custom made ones – in the order I’m comfortable working with for that particular project. And when working for a foundry (pre Glyphs) they usually sent me their encoding file. Opening it up, I immediately got an overview of which glyphs needed to be drawn, because Rainer – of course the aim is to draw something in each empty cell. That they are not ‘in the font’ might be true from a developers perspective – to the user they are just not activated yet.
When creating a new glyph set, I often start from something I already have and then add, delete or move around empty glyphs cells in the graphic interface (Fontlab index mode), which I like much more than having to scroll through an endless list in Glyphs.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Glyphs is a great software otherwise. And thanks for your quick replies, your customer service is top notch.
*) encodings=glyph sets

I want to draw each glyph that my encodings display, that is why I create them :slight_smile:
In Fontlab I just double-click on the glyph for it to be ‘activated’.

You can have custom sidebar list filters per project. How to do that is explained in this tutorial:
This works very similar to encoding files, just without the ghost glyphs.

But you can do that in Glyphs as well. Right-click your preferred encoding, select all and generate, there you have your empty cells. It’s just a bit different and used to weird me out too, but it’s actually a better workflow.

I do wish Glyphs had Index mode though. I know dragging is reserved for selection, but it is just as seamless to use shift/cmd-click for that. How often do you select 2 columns on the right from top to bottom? Sometimes I need to drag a glyph just a few rows up, and going to the list, copying it into Sublime, searching for the right glyph, the right position, copying, going back — all this instead of 1. click 2. drag.

Thanks Alx, maybe I just have to get used to it.