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Special Characters

Nigel French weighs in on how to locate those hidden gems on the Glyphs panel—and when to use them.

“Give me 26 soldiers of lead and I will conquer the world.” It’s an oft-repeated quote about the power of the printed word. Some attribute it to Benjamin Franklin, others to Karl Marx. Regardless of who said it, it makes a good point. To update it would diminish its power: Give me (up to) 65,536 Unicode characters … doesn’t have the same gravitas. But today that’s how many potential “digital soldiers” we have under our command. With such power at our fingertips, the challenge is how to harness it.

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Nigel French

Nigel French

Nigel French is a graphic designer, photographer, author, and teacher living in Lewes, UK. He is the author of InDesign Type and Photoshop Unmasked, both from Adobe Press, as well as several titles in the online training library, including InDesign Typography.
Nigel French

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2 Comments on “Special Characters

  1. If it was Karl Marx who said it, he’d need a few ß, ä, ö and ü as well as the 26 soldiers if he was speaking his native language!

    I do hope the comments section accepts the letters I typed above…


  2. Great article.

    Though I use ligatures, I do have to make exceptions at times. For example, I think Minion Pro uses ligatures on “Th” and it looks like crap. I can’t swear it’s Minion Pro, but it’s either that or Garamond Pro or one of those. If you have ligatures turned on, the “Th” is affected.

    Had one client who always insisted that we turn off ligatures on the “Th’ combination. Which I did by using a character style and searching & replacing.

    But it was a pain when it came back for 2nd or 3rd pass. I’d have to have a note in the job folder telling the correcter to make sure they used it.

    This was years ago, so I don’t even know if GREP was a thing back then. Anyway, I hate the “Th” ligature thing.

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