Variable Fonts InDesign 2020 Bug

Hi there,
I am quite tilled to see the implementation of Variable Font in InDesign 2020.
However we have a problem.

When we use our Variable Font in InDesign with the sliders it always shows the Interpolation Value, like:
[Weight-470.000 Thin Thin]
The interpolated font-weight will not be shown.

Then it can not find the font-weight any more.
The font-weights can be use only with in the weights drop down.
Here is a screencast gif:

This error only occurrences if we leave the instances in the font.
When we export a Variable font with no instances then the bug is not present.
Strangely in Illustrator 2020 it works as expected with both our font-file.

There are plenty of fonts which do not have this bug.
So it has to be our file.
We upload a Glyph File plus the to exported Variable Fonts (one with instances the other without instances) (12.4 KB)

Thank for having a look,

1 Like

There are plenty of fonts which do not have this bug.
So it has to be our file.

I’ve seen those bugs with many fonts. Basically, InDesign support for TTF variable fonts sucks.


…so you would suggest to export better OTF Variable Fonts?
Can you do that with Glyphs and some scripts?

Glyphs doesn’t support CFF based variable fonts (yet). And I wonder what the instance/slider selection has to do with the outline format.

I see, thanks for this inside Georg.

We will go with the solution: No Instances.
Meaning when a TTF Variable Font has no instances it works great in:

  • Photoshop CC 2020
  • InDesign CC 2020
  • Illustrator CC 2020

The font looses a small part of overview (the recommended instances).
But in the end its variable font, which should be used variable (beyond defined weights).:upside_down_face:

I would not ship fonts that compromise significantly because of a bug in one app. The bug will be fixed eventually, fonts tend to stick around for some time.


The InDesign bug was reported to Adobe, but few people have flagged it as an issue they want to see fixed.
See here:

If you care, then you should vote.


I just want to note that this does not happen when you use italic instead of weight as Axes custom parameter property. But of course then the InDesign slider displays “Italic”. A custom axis name with the wght or a custom four-letter axis tag doesn’t work either, but you can use a custom axis name (like Regular or Upright) with ital as tag. Glyphs doesn’t let you use Weight for the ital tag. However, this is not the intended use of the tag and I have no idea if this affects the STAT table or the respective performance of the font.