Newbie Question: Adding Glyphs to a Font

(This is probably covered in the manual, but I haven’t finished reading it yet.)

I have found how to add named common glyphs by Command-Clicking the categories in the left of the Font map window. However, I have three questions on how to add other glyphs.

  1. How do I add common ligatures and fractions? For example, f-ligatures fi, fl, ff, ffi, ffl, or other less common but still supported in some fonts. I see the fractions for 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1/8, 3/8, 5/8, 7/8 are available in the Numbers -> Fractions subcategory, but what about 1/3, 2/3, 1/6, 5/6, or 5ths?

  2. How do I add glyphs for:
    2.1 long-s, the archaic lowercase S used in Europe, the ancestor of the left half of the ß ?
    2.2 the new, not yet widely supported capital asset / German double S / capital ß;
    2.3. Capital and lowercase Schwa, which are rotated/flipped H & V of E, e ;
    2.4. General Case: Any Unicode number or named character?
    2.5 The florin or Option-F ‘ƒ’ function character included in the OpenType Standard and the old PostScript Type 1 and MacRoman sets?
    2.6. The non-breaking space   and soft/optional hyphen ­ characters?

  3. I don’t know how to add alternate stylistic characters, with their diacritic descendants. For examples: double-story and single-story a and g, especially.
    3.1 I have not yet found how to automatically center and move diacritics, to properly do the uppercase and lowercase diacritics. I don’t know if Glyphs Mini will automate the centering and (x, y) offset, but I got the impression that you can set it up to do so. – I do know how to Add Components, and I think I’ve learned how to Make Components.

  • I want to be able to set up, for example, both kinds of lowercase a and g and possibly y, in some fonts, and let users choose which they want, where I set up defaults in the normal glyphs and the alternates are there if they want them. But I haven’t seen how to do this, or how to do it so that diacritic, accented letters based on these, are created and updated automatically.
  • I somehow accidentally added an alternative glyph in a font draft, for a lowercase i. But I don’t know how to remove it.
    3.2 For the lowercase I accented letters, i_acute, i_grave, i_circumflex, i_dieresis/umlaut, and so on, is the dotless-i the base character, or is there some other character glyph I’m supposed to set up, which is then used to generate these with the diacritics?

Oops, another question:

  1. Are there something like, small capital lining numerals, as opposed to the old style non-lining numerals? How do I set lining, tabular numerals as the default? If I draw the old style numerals, but I want the lining tabular numerals as the default, for instance, how do I do that, simply put the ones I want in the default 0-9 positions (ASCII) and then set up the other numeral styles? Or how do I override to be sure the old style numerals are not the default, please? (I personally dislike the old style numerals, but they are in fashion to provide them for people who do want them.)

Thank you!

Adding glyphs

For the glyphs you want to add, you just need the proper glyph name. There are a couple of ways:

  1. If you know how to type it, create a new glyph and just type in the character, e.g., ß. And once you press Return to confirm, it will automatically change to the ‘nice glyph name’, in this case germandbls. (This method does not work for some symbols, though.)
  2. If you don’t know how to type it on your keyboard, you could search for, copy and paste it from a free app called UnicodeChecker by Earthlingsoft.
  3. You can access Window > Glyph Info to see and search the complete internal database of glyph names.
  4. If you know the Unicode value, you can name the glyph in the 4-digit uniXXXX or 5-digit uYYYYY scheme, and it will rename automatically.
  5. Most geeky way: you can select the (typed or otherwise entered) character(s) in any app, then choose Unicode to Glyph Name from the System Services, and you get the list of glyph names in return.

For more info about glyph names, please read this tutorial:

For more info about characters vs. glyphs, and Unicode, read this tutorial:

For more info about System Services, read this tutorial:

OpenType features

Glyphs Mini is limited in the OpenType features it can add. Ligatures are supported, but stylistic sets are not, neither are figure variants and small caps. Or more precisely, as stated on the Glyphs Mini page: ‘localized forms, fractions, ordinals, discretionary and standard ligatures’.

In the appendix of the Handbook, you can find a complete list of supported OT features and how to trigger their generation.

Ligatures are usually the parts of the ligature connected with underscores, e.g., f_f_adieresis, or f_f_l. Ligatures have no Unicode. There are two encoded historic exceptions, though, fi and fl.

Fractions are best supported if you create denominator figures with a .dnom suffix, numerators with a .numr suffix, and the fraction glyph. Once you have them, you have all possible constellations covered, not just precomposed ones. If you still want to create the precomposed ones, you can still fish them out of UnicodeChecker or the Glyph Info panel.

Removing glyphs

Again, this is covered in the handbook. Select a glyph in Font View, and press the minus button at the bottom. Confirm the dialog that comes up.

Here are the glyph names you asked for specifically:

  1. fi fl f_f f_f_i f_f_l onethird twothirds onesixth fivesixths
  2. longs Germandbls Schwa schwa florin nbspace softhyphen

I found them through the methods I described in my previous post.

Component placement in compound glyphs is entirely handled by anchors in the original (i.e., path-based) base glyphs. All glyphs get their default anchors if you select them, and choose Glyph > Set Anchors (Cmd-U). Then, proceed to fine-tune their placement.

Multiple ways:

  1. Right-click and choose Add Component from the context menu
  2. Glyph > Add Components (Cmd-Shift-C)
  3. You can reset a compound glyph to its default components by choosing Glyph > Make Component Glyph (Cmd-Opt-Shift-C). This will delete all contents and put in the default components as listed in Window > Glyph Info.
  4. When you create a compound glyph, and all its parts are already present in the font, the compound glyph will be created with the default components right away. E.g., you create a new glyph aacute, and you already have a and acutecomb in your font, the new aacute will be generated with those two components in it.

Read more about compounds and anchors in the Diacritics tutorial:
(Some of it only applies to the full version of Glyphs.)