Need help understanding combining marks

I’ve used Fontlab in the past and recently bought Glyphs. I created some Fontlab opentype typefaces in 2006, and at that time the only way I could get cross-platform compatibility between Mac/PC was to use the liga feature to compose characters. The particular characters I created are for a Native American language called Salish and another called Kootenai. For both languages the spoken words are represented by IPA glyphs, with the exception of one that is not presently in standard Unicode.
With Glyphs, I would like to re-engineer the typefaces with mark positioning. The MS Calibri typeface seems to properly construct most characters we need on both Mac and PC, so I’m thinking it is OK to now convert the Opentype features to mark positioning. I’ve read some of the blogs and manual sections, but I’m still not ‘getting’ how to construct and preview the characters. For instance, one character is an ‘s’ with a caroncomb. I created the caron and then added a glyph with ‘caron-caroncomb’. I then took the caroncomb, made it zero width, placed the anchor at x-height and changed the name to ‘_top’. I then opened the ‘s’ and added an anchor called ‘top’ at the x-height. In the blog, it says I can ‘select anchor’ and see the ‘cloud’. I’m not understanding how to do this. I’m assuming that ‘select anchor’ means clicking on the anchor as I don’t see any menu items or options for this.
Also, when I review the glyphs info, I’m not seeing some of the glyphs that I’ll need. One in particular is what I’ve always called ‘wsuperior’. It is unicode 1D42. An example character is ‘K’ + commaabovecmb + wsuperior.

You can add standard anchors more quickly with Layers > Set Anchors (cmd-U). The …comb accents need the _top (plus a top if you also want mark to mark positioning), the base glyphs just the top. Selecting an anchor means clicking on it. You can change the name of a selected anchor by hitting the return key.

So, if something needs to go on top of the commaabovecomb, it also needs both a _top and a top. I am not sure about wsuperior.

What about s and caroncomb? Did it not work? Did you test it in InDesign?

And if you know the Unicode, you can add a glyph called uniXXXX, where XXXX is the four-digit BMP Unicode. Subsequently you can select it and run Font > Update Glyph Info


  1. I don’t have inDesign. Assuming MS Word will work…other suggestions?
  2. How do I see the ‘cloud’?
  3. Yes, I will need mark on mark
  4. I used set anchors from layers menu


  1. If you install it in the Library/Fonts folder or via FontBook, you will run into cache problems unless you change the family name each time.

  2. Click on an anchor and Glyphs will display all marks in the font that (a) are linked to it in the built-in glyph info XML file and (b) have a corresponding underscore anchor. You can extend the database with your own XML file: (scroll down to look for ‘Pro: GlyphData.xml’)

3/4. Set Anchors only gives you a small set of standard anchors. In marks, that’s usually only _top or _bottom. If you want mark to mark positioning, you will have to enter top (or bottom) manually via the context menu.

If I don’t have InDesign, and there will be caching problems installing the font, how do I preview if the mark positioning is working?


You need change the font name every time you export the font. Just add a number to the family name.