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Add Any Diacritic Easily

Last month I was in New Mexico, teaching the InCopy/InDesign workflow to about 30 newspaper editors and designers, all on PCs. They were thrilled with the Glyphs panel (Text > Glyphs) because it’s such a pain in Windows to enter special characters, especially funky letter/diacritic combinations.

However, some of the letter/diacritic pairs they needed to occasionally insert in their stories weren’t available in their body typeface. I showed them how they could enter the letter first, then the diacritic alone, then kern them in tightly so the cedilla or caron or macron was centered over/under the letter. They appreciated the workaround but it wasn’t ideal.

When I returned home I did some investigating, and found the perfect free script for them. “Compose.jsx” is a biplatform Javascript that works in both InDesign and InCopy. Developer Peter Kahrel created a clever little interface that allows the user to enter easily-remembered mnemonics for any letter/diacritic combination. If the glyph exists in the font, the script inserts it automatically (no need to hunt for it in the Glyphs panel). If it doesn’t exist, the script automatically does the kerning workaround, perfectly. It’s phenomenal!

I sent my client a link to the script, and wrote about the script itself (with screen shots) on my other blog,

Rather than reprise the whole article, let me just urge you to read it for yourself. A link to download the InDesign or InCopy version of the script appears at the end of the story:

Easy Diacritics and Other Tough Glyphs

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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