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Episode 48: OpenType Features

At last month’s InDesign Conference in Miami, an unexpected blackout cut my typography session short, so my demonstration of OpenType features never saw the light of day (no pun intended). In this episode, I bring that missing part of the presentation to all of you and take a look at several useful OpenType features including Ligatures, Discretionary Ligatures, Contextual Alternates, Small Caps, and Titling Alternates.

Watch the episode here (14:55 | 30 MB), or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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44 Responses to “Episode 48: OpenType Features”

  1. Hi Michael.
    Awesome show, actually nice to see the face behind the voice for once.

    Question, is there a quick way to see the Discretionary Ligatures (if words like “and”, “sale”, etc are available) in Open Fonts?

    O, and I finally got my personal copy of “Professional Design Techniques” and can gladly say it’s worth the buy, and an excellent addition to my current growing Library (of which includes: “Profession Typography with InDesign CS2” by Nigel French, is one I can also highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about Typography/ Open Fonts.)

    PS: when are we to expect to see a certain book by certain author Mr Murphy?

  2. Hi, SuperZ — I promise, that’s about the most of my face I’ll force on the audience in any episode. πŸ™‚

    As for seeing the Discretionary Ligatures…keep in mind that very few fonts will have any as cool as those built into some of House Industries’ fonts. That being said, the Glyphs panel’s Show menu has a Discretionary Ligatures option near the bottom of the list. WIth your cursor in the typeface you’re curious about, choose that option and all possible Discretionary Ligatures for that font will be displayed.

    Glad you like Scott’s book. It’s definitely a must for any designer’s bookshelf. As for your “P.S.” question…when I know the answer to that question, you and the whole audience will be among the first to know.

  3. As always a fantastic show. I’ve a question for you, not sure if this is the right place to put it though. Can you do a feature on ‘good looking ToCs’?

    For example, i have a problem now:
    I am using right aligned text for some of my headers in my main body of text.

    These headers have a numbering system that allows me to structure the logic.

    However this is what i get when i try my text formatting using Paragraph Styles, Right aligned text>
    1.1 The Heading
    1.5 The Heading Is Long
    1.10 Heading Is Longer

    The numbers are completely left aligned and the text right aligned.
    (what i’d like of course is this>
    1.1 The Heading
    1.5 The Heading Is Long
    1.10 Heading Is Longer)

    But when i generate my TOC i’d like the numbers to be flushed left with a tab space between the last digit and the first letter of text>
    1.1 The Heading 1
    1.5 The Heading Is Long 1
    1.10 The Heading Is Longer 1

    and this is easily achieved. Its the first part thats driving me nuts!

    Thanks in advance and hope i’ve been able to explain my problem. hope to see more great shows!

  4. Manosh — I don’t know if this qualifies as “good-looking TOCs,” but Episode 34 and Episode 35 cover the workings of the TOC features from start to finish.

    It’s hard to tell what you’re specifically going for since all of your examples above look exactly the same to me in the comment area on the blog. Do you have a screen snapshot of what you want the TOC to look like? That might help me point you to a solution.

  5. Thanks. I will certainly take a look at E 34 and 35.

    I’ve uploaded the indesign so that you may see what i mean.
    Its not so much the TOC which is the problem as much as the body text. How do i get the tab to separate the section number and the header title?
    Hopefully its clearer via this document.

    On Page 2 of the document is a little workaround i created to help me do urban design diagrams in indesign. Hope people find it useful!

  6. A Correction on Episode 48:
    At the beginning of the segment on Ligatures in Episode 48, I identify, both verbally and on-screen, the PostScript typeface at the top of the page as ITC Stone Serif when, in fact, it is Times New Roman (which is clearly visible in the Control panel as I go through the demonstration. The original example was set up as Stone Serif, but had been changed for cross-platform purposes when I was using the demo files in a classroom environment. Sometimes, podcast production is too far along to go back and fix these inconsistencies. I do strive for accuracy and try to avoid confusion at all times…but nobody’s perfect.

  7. I just found your podcast last week and watched an episode. I’d like to say that it is well put together. I’m looking forward to watch more episodes.

  8. Hi Michael. Any news on when to expect the upcoming episode 49? I check daily, but like all good things, they are make & is worth the wait… Just thought to leave a “fresh” comment to remind you of your awaiting fans.

  9. Hi Michael. Bit of a funny request: but how about an episode about InDesign issues (let’s call them wary/ have to know about areas) to watch out for especially for re-pro & print purposes. Look I love Adobe just as much as anyone else – and I have the tattoo to proof it (kidding): but knowledge is power.

    Please note again this is nothing against Adobe or InDesign, and I really hope I don’t step on someone’s toes, but just to improve myself as designer & dtp operator.

  10. SuperZ —

    A new episode is in production right now and should be up by the end of the week. As for the episode suggestion…I prefer to concentrate on what’s good in the software, not harp on its limitations (which I try to point out when explaining any feature with a built-in “gotcha” aspect). To structure a whole show around InDesign’s flaws doesn’t really fit with my preferred method of accentuating the positive.

    Plus…where to begin? Printing issues are so complex and often unique to specific people’s systems, printers, output methods, etc. And would I limit it to CMYK workflows, or CMYK plus spot colors, or RGB? This is a day-long seminar topic that I couldn’t possibly do justice in a 15-minute podcast episode.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though. I do welcome them and note them all for future reference.

    Hang tight…Episode 49 is days away! πŸ™‚

  11. Eugene Tyson says:

    Great news that a new episode is on the way. I check the site about 10 times a day waiting for the next instalment.

    You’re some man for getting the video’s out, fair play to you. Thanks a million for all the hard work in put into these episodes.

  12. All true! I respect that answer: specially looking at the complexity and not forgetting the limitations of different print-houses over all. Thanks for making the glass half full instead of half empty.

  13. Super z, would you actually tattoo an adobe logo on your arm, what about software, version and postscript updates? Temptoo? πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Lasso. Yes, I would. The red Adobe A in my opinion is cool- but the Versions & Update is a “definite skip”. Good grieve, what are we talking about… Michael save us with that new Eps!

  15. Were talking about your tattoo. I’d get the poster or the T, but not a tattoo.
    All tattoos aside, Michael we appreciate the time and effort you invest.

  16. Hey, Michael. Just letting you know, we are still here… Waiting (lol) – but still here. Hope to see the new episode soon.

  17. Okay-okay. I have a question… Actually bit embarrassing, but no question is a bad question (right). In CS3 on a Mac (Leopard), how do I use my F-keys to perform certain shortcuts? Perfect example is the Align Panel ( Shift + F7) where you have to use a “F” as part of the keyboard shortcut. Not all of them work … How does one fix this problem without changing your shortcut?

  18. PS: when I said “use ‘F’ as part of the keyboard shortcut” I am referring to F1 to F16 (function keys), not actually the letter “F”… Just mentioning before I get corrected on that. Thanks

  19. SuperZ — This question leads me to believe you’re working on a laptop. If that’s the case, there is a setting in the Mac OS System Preferences, under Keyboard & Mouse for “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys.” With that checked, your F keys will will work as advertised in any application, instead of controlling volume, screen brightness, Exposé, etc.

  20. Awesome (remember some option like that), thanks – will try. Good to hear from you again. Hope all is well. Cheers

  21. It’s not Super|’s problem, but could help someone on a Windows machine. Some of the new keyboard have all kinds of extra keys. Despite those extra keys, they also add new functions to the “F” buttons, which are the default for those buttons, and not the other way around (surprisingly). I have one of those, at it took a little time to find out why the Shift+F7 (always the Align panel) didn’t work. So, if you have this same problem on a Windows machine and you have a extra-hiper-maga-blast-keyboard, see if you have a button that controls the function of the “F” buttons.

  22. Thanks guys, got my problem solved. My challenge was on with my upgrade to a iMac G5 – but still the “laptop” advise did the trick. I love keyboard shortcuts & view it as a vital part of my workflow – “playing piano” is much quicker & fun than going the manual way.

  23. Hi Michael. Any hint on what (cough : …& when) eps 49 is about? Know you are extremely busy, & don’t expect any explanation: but you are a celebrity (wanted or not) with “wanting” fans (again wanted or not)… Thanks for all the work & passion put in every episode. This is SuperZ, login out – keeping the blog alive!

  24. Gary Spedding says:

    SuperZ – give it a break – cut some slack! M.M. provides these for free. I am as anxious as you for any new info. and have to reign myself in sometimes but you need to be patient. He will tell us on any delays or post ASAP. In the meantime go buy a book or check out one of the four sites that cover extensive training on-line at a quite reasonable “all you can eat” monthly price. That’ll keep you busy.

  25. Eugene Tyson says:

    Yeh I’m getting ant-sy too about a new episode. I enjoy Mr. Murphy’s videos. I’m fully aware that Mr. Murphy will post his progress and final files in due course, it’s still great craic to see Super-Z leave his postings, keeping Mr. Murphy under pressure to crank out his next vid. Less I remind you Mr. Murphy did make a slight error in his last video, I too urge Super-Z to calm down a slight bit so Mr. Murphy doesn’t rush his next production and gets it correct from the off-go.

  26. Eugene Tyson says:

    There was supposed to be a smiley face at the end of the last one there.

  27. Everybody relax…breathe…settle down…. πŸ™‚

    A new episode is in the works, but its completion was derailed by a complete crash of my computer, and it has sent every other project off-schedule, too. Catch-up continues, with the podcast now firmly in the #1 spot. Hang tight…I know it’s been a very long break.

    Gary…thanks for watching my back. πŸ™‚ Eugene…what was the error in my last video?

  28. Eugene Tyson says:

    There he is

    Yes you said it yourself on comment 833, albeit a correction rather than a mistake.

  29. Eugene Tyson says:

    Oh and I was only ribbing you πŸ™‚

  30. Come on guys! My apologies, if I offended anyone. I’m not a big “blogger”, but this is one of my favorite sites… My goal (with success) was to get people chatting. No disrespect Michael & sorry to hear about your crash.

    Gary – have you purchased any recommended books lately?
    Eugene – thanks for your reply, but what’s up with the “ribbing”?

  31. Eugene Tyson says:

    SuperZ, I don’t think you offended anyone, certainly not me.

    rib·bing (rbng)
    1. Ribs considered as a group.
    2. An arrangement of ribs, as in a boat.
    3. Informal The act or an instance of joking or teasing.

  32. Nor have you offended the host. πŸ™‚

  33. Awesome – well I for one certainly feel better! Kinda though the host would be use to ‘my’ comments by now (ribbing) as I do so try to be a “regular” (lol). Blog on everybody!

  34. Did I use “ribbing” correctly there? Yeah-yeah, I shut-up… It’s just cool to see the comment’s total flair up, every time.

  35. Gary Spedding says:


    Yes – Professional Design Techniques with Adobe Creative Suite 3 (highly recommended by M.M and partly written by him) by Scott Citron – Adobe Press. Very good – check it out.


  36. Thanks Gary, already got my copy. Does anyone know if there is a InDesigner South Africa user group?

  37. Thanks, I’ll check them out. Unfortunately I’m all the way down at Cape Town, but will see if they have more info on the subject. There’s no distant InDesigner SA tour planned as yet, is there?

  38. yes guys. I check my rss for the upcoming podcast daily, can’t wait.
    but lets keep the blog for indesign material only, so we dont get carried away here

  39. Tomorrow, everyone. New episode tomorrow! πŸ™‚

  40. Awesome! Okay-okay: I have an InDesign tip, which although small(I’m an novice, okay) makes a huge difference… On your Align panel(shift+F7) there is an option in the scroll down menu where you can actually select “Align to Page”. This is extremely handy for centering placed items, instead of using fancy scripts or “copy, zoom to fit page & the paste” method…

  41. Hi Michael –

    I’ve been using InDesign for years, and thought this post/podcast was fantastic! For whatever reason, I’ve never really taken the time to learn more about OpenType. What an eye-opener. Thanks!


  42. super Z – try emailing to find out details of Cape Town based user groups.

  43. […] was watching Episode 48 (OpenType Features) of the wonderful video podcast theindesigner that I came to know House Industries. House Industries […]