InDesign Opentype Enhancements

Contextually access special font properties of OpenType fonts.

Opentype Font Feature:

Opentype Enhancements in InDesign CC 2015

Opentype Enhancements in InDesign CC 2017


About Opentype Fonts:

OpenType® is a cross-platform font file format developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft. Adobe has converted the entire Adobe Type Library into this format and now offers thousands of OpenType fonts.

The two main benefits of the OpenType format are its cross-platform compatibility (the same font file works on Macintosh and Windows computers), and its ability to support widely expanded character sets and layout features, which provide richer linguistic support and advanced typographic control.

OpenType fonts can include an expanded character set and layout features, providing broader linguistic support and more precise typographic control. Feature-rich Adobe OpenType fonts can be distinguished by the word “Pro,” which is part of the font name and appears in application font menus.

See OpenType to learn more about OpenType fonts.


The Problem:

OpenType fonts can include a wide variety of typographic features, but until now, it was a hassle to find out which OpenType features were available in a particular font. You had to go to the Control panel or Character panel menu, choose OpenType, and then check a list of possible OpenType features (sometimes in a submenu) to see which ones were available for the current font.


Feature Description:

Easily access special typographic characters

Accessing special font properties of OpenType fonts that give you greater typographic control. The InDesign CC 2015 update introduces intuitive OpenType enhancements when working with glyphs. Contextual menus feature

Contextual menus feature for the first time in InDesign.

Improvements include:

  • Apply alternate glyphs and special characters, such as small caps, fractions, superscript and subscript characters
  • Search for special characters in the Glyphs panel


Contextual Opentype Adornment

With the InDesign CC 2017 release, we took the feature to the next level by adding an OpenType “Adornment” on Text Frames.

If you select a single unlinked text frame, InDesign will try to determine which OpenType properties are applicable within that frame and provide options for you to apply them.

Clicking on the OpenType adornment opens a contextual menu showing a list of applicable attributes. You can choose to turn on attributes within the frame from the menu. The display will also attempt to highlight which characters will be affected by a particular attribute.


Awards & Patents

Awarded 2 patents for this feature.

5991: Effective and efficient methods for searching the glyphs of a font on the basis of its Unicode, GID/CID values or its Name

5970: Effective & Intuitive way to stylize the text by replacing the character with its alternate characters available in the font.

What I did

  • User Research
  • User Experience
  • User Interface
  • Typography Study
  • Development Collaboration