Glyph Construction

Does Glyph Construction language work in Glyphs?

Not really. Glyphs has a bit simpler system that defines compositions in the GlyphData. That includes what components are needed for that glyphs. And you can define to what anchor it should attache to. Then the automatic alignment will do the actually positioning.

Is there a specific feature that you need?

Mostly positioning features such as controling the components with local/global guides, calculated reference positons and font dimensions

Can you give an example? The construction code and what it should look like in the end?

aacute = a + acute@center,top
agrave = a + grave@center,top
acircumflex = a + circumflex@center,top
adieresis = a + dieresis@center,top
egrave = e + grave@center,top
eacute = e + acute@center,top
ecircumflex = e +  circumflex@center,top

The “center” is the centre of the aforementioned glyph’s bounding box; the “top” is the global guide. Whenever I adjust the global guide positions of accents change. If I want to separate the "top"s for each base glyph I can add a local guide or anchor and name it as “top”

(Typeface IBM Plex Sans)

The glyphs are already build from components if they are available. Glyphs will use the combining accents. So you need to have acutecomb

And the components are positioned using the anchors.

So the workflow is:

  1. in the font view sidebar, right click all entires that you need (e.g. “Latin” > “Basic” and “Western European”.)
  2. draw all base letters (A–z) and make sure you hit Cmd+U in each.
  3. draw all marks. Again, hit Cmd+U.
  4. select all accented glyphs and run Glyph > Create Composite.
  5. just the anchor positions in the bases and marks until all accented letter look good.

Yes, thank you for explaining.
What I was trying to say is that to be able to control the positioning of marks/components with multiple options would be a nice thing to have. Instead of adjusting the _top anchors one by one for all marks, linking the position to a local/global guide, or a calculated point(top, centre, left, right, bottom) would enhance the consistency and speed.

The Cmd+U shortcut will already center the anchors already. There are to many exceptions to warrant a special case like this. And the glyph construction implementations I know of do not link, they just place it centered initially. Keeping them in sync is much more work than setting some anchors.

As you can see in this quick demo it’s not only about centring the anchors. If you add a global guideline and name it as “top” you can position your marks according to it. If you delete the g. guide named “top” anchors will be linked to the top of that glyph’s bounding box. You can even manipulate by adding a guide called “center”. It doesnt have to render the adjustments in existing glyphs you can rebuild the glyphs quickly.

The benefit of this language is that you don’t need to change every mark’s position when you change one of them because you can simply move the global guide and it’s done.


As much as it’s understandable that coming from other font editors it can be uncomfortable getting used to Glyphs’ logic of things, in this case (as much as I can see it being very handy to work in that way), I would bear in mind that this kind of anchor positioning is not very sturdy. In Glyphs, you insert anchors at cap height for capital letters, and at x height for lowercase letters. In the anchors, you do the same, and draw the anchors accordingly, so your .case accents are drawn above the capital height, etc. – there is no need for varying accent height by anchors, at least there shouldn’t be. If you wish to move your accents, simply select all your accents and use Transformations to shift them up or down.

In your example, what’s the difference of shifting the top anchor up and down in the E?

If you want to shift the top anchor for all (capital) letters, there’s something wrong with your design, meaning you should either edit the cap height metric and align the anchors accordingly, or re-positioning your accents as previously described.

There’s also mekkablue’s Anchor Mover script to batch-move anchors.

I remember this part of Robofont being demonstrated (when both Glyphs and Robofont were being introduced to Fontlab-dominated community), this grid line approach was touted as something innovative. I never found it superior though; Glyphs’s anchor approach was basically the same as that of Fontlab, and was were perfectly functional. Moreover, the grid approach doesn’t make sense outside Latin, or for generating mark/mkmk feature.