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QuarkXPress 8 : Fine-tuning typography

11/15/2011 3:45:07 PM
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Plenty of little touches make the difference between professional typography and the text in an e-mail message. Taking the time to use special characters such as bullets and real cent symbols, creating fractions, taking advantage of styles built into OpenType fonts, and applying ligatures (which combine certain character combinations) are just some of the refinements possible.

Working with special characters

Many fonts contain far more characters than you can see on the keyboard, including bullets, accented characters, the euro symbol, and much more. In fact, many characters come in more than one shape, such as multiple variations on the ampersand symbol. So while you may have thought a character was the smallest unit of a font, the smallest unit is in fact called a “glyph.” You can access all the glyphs in a font with the Glyphs palette (Window menu).

Choose a font from the menu at the top of the palette, then scroll to locate the character you need. If the glyphs are too small for easy identification, click the zoom buttons at the right. When you locate the glyph you want, double-click to insert it at the text insertion point. A small triangle in the corner of a glyph’s box indicates alternate glyphs (Figure 1). If you use certain glyphs often, open the Favorite Glyphs area at the bottom of the palette and drag glyphs into the open boxes.

Figure 1. OpenType fonts often contain alternate glyphs for various characters. Here, Minion Pro offers seven different version of the cent symbol.



Creating fractions

Combining full-size numbers with a slash, as in 1/2, yields some very ugly fractions. For a professionally typeset document, you need to use actual fractions such as ½, ¼ and ¾. To automatically format selected text as a fraction, choose Style > Type Style > Make Fraction. You can also insert common fractions from the Glyphs palette or create fractions from any numerals using a fraction font.

Applying OpenType styles

OpenType fonts may include special styles such as fractions (½) and ordinals (1st), Proxima Nova. The styles available in OpenType fonts vary significantly from font to font. (You can identify OpenType fonts in the QuarkXPress menu by the “O” in front of the font name.)

To see which styles are available for the active font, click the OpenType menu on the Classic tab or the Character Attributes tab of the Measurements palette (Figure 2). Options in brackets are not available in that font. You can also see available OpenType options in the OpenType area of the Character Attributes dialog box (Style > Character). Note that OpenType styles work best when applied to the appropriate text only—for example, only apply Tabular Figures to numerals not to all the text in a paragraph.

Figure 2. The OpenType menu for Adobe Garamond Pro offers many styles, including Standard and Discretionary Ligatures, various Figures styles, Fractions, Swashes, and Ordinals.



Applying ligatures

A ligature is a glyph that represents a character pair; common ligatures include “fi” and “fl” (Figure 3). For PostScript fonts, QuarkXPress can substitute “fi” and “fl” ligatures automatically when Enable Ligatures is checked in the Character tab of the Measurements palette. For OpenType fonts, you can apply the Standard Ligatures and the Discretionary Ligatures styles (if available for the font). The Glyphs palette (Window menu) displays all the ligatures available in a font.

Figure 3. Ligatures improve the readability of body text and the look of display type. Notice the difference in the word “final” in Adobe Garamond Pro Italic with ligatures disabled (left) and enabled (right).

 
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