Is there a way to edit in one context while previewing another context?

I keep finding myself wishing I could be editing a glyph in one context while simultaneously seeing how those edits interact in different glyph combinations or larger contexts. Since the preview panel only shows so much stuff and is always centered on the glyph you are editing, you often can’t see other glyph combinations that you might have in the string.

The only way I understand to do this is have a second edit tab going with different context and point size as to see everything I want to review. Then, after making an edit I switch tabs to see how it interacts. Alternatively, I put all of the context in the tab I am editing in and zoom in and out after each tweak.

Neither of these methods feels efficient, but they do work. How do other people manage this? or am I just being lazy? The only other thing I can think of is having an InDesign window going and exporting the fonts after each tweak, but that seems even less efficient.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I keep finding I want the typesetting functionality of the edit pane in a pop-out window.

Can you give me an example of the contexts you are talking about?

For large texts, InDesign surely is the better alternative. Hint: If you need to do that a lot, disabling overlap removal or autohinting significantly speeds up the export.

For the Preview section (or window), Glyphs needs to calculate a subsetted OTF on the fly, that is why it will only work sensibly with small amounts of text.

Personally, I have a set of sample texts, through which I switch quickly, with a shortcut for Edit > Other > Select Next/Previous Sample String.

The big example is when I am checking the proportions of a letter.

Let’s say I am editing the glyph “e” in some reference string like “nnenooeoo”. This view would be zoomed in for editing and most of that text would be visible in the edit pane.

It would be nice to have a paragraph of running text at a smaller point size visible because sometimes the breaks in rhythm or color are an easier way to see if the “e” is too wide/narrow or the counter is too small. If I could see both views at the same time then I can nudge things till it feels right.

Sometimes for similar reasons I like to have a zoomed out view with more text when working on spacing.

Certainly indexing through predefined sample strings or exporting to InDesign work to see the changes but you don’t get the benefit of seeing the impact of an adjustment live.

I don’t know if this is a common practice or not. Maybe most folks wait to check for rhythm and color issues on printed proofs.

I understand the performance limitations of the preview panel, but aside from previewing instances and OT features, for which it is really great, it doesn’t offer a contextual view that really much different than what I would have the edit pane set to when modifying a glyph.

I’ve wanted to request this for a while. What Neil describes is exactly the way I used to work in FontLab and one of the biggest things I miss. I love the edit pane but I find myself zooming in and out constantly. Just the ability to detach a edit tab and pull it off to the side or to a second monitor would be huge.

So do I get this right, you just want to see small text set with the master, not with an instance?

In the meantime:

  1. Have you tried Simon Cozens’ GlyphsSile plugin?
  2. Have you tried the iOS app Glyphs Preview?

Yes, that is correct. Just the masters. I am sure there is some argument for the instances as well but since they are not directly edited it is not quite they same concern. I suppose if one were using the glyph specific intermediate masters (bracket layers) it could be useful, but I am not familiar enough with that process.

Thanks, I’ll check out the SILE plugin and the iOS preview.