Help with Fontforge and Adobe Alternate Character Selection?

Hey everyone. I’m a graphic designer working in the marketing field. One of my current passion projects is designing an industrial sans-serif typeface. I’ve spent the last few months learning Fontforge in my free time so I can implement this project but I’ve hit a stumbling block.

Adobe CC has a feature with .otf files that displays a small menu of alternate characters when the user hovers over a highlighted character in a text box.

See the image linked below for an example of this : https://imgur.com/a/T63Og

My typeface has a number of alternate characters and I cannot figure out how to get this alternate character menu to show up when I use it in Adobe CC. I’ve tried tinkering with Alternate Subs and everything else under the Glyph Info menu. I’ve read through the info on Github and I still can’t figure it out. I’m new to using Fontforge and still learning about how a font-file actually functions so I’m sure there is a simple way to do this and I’m just missing it.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Comments

  • The glyphs should be in the "All Alternates" (aalt) feature, as well as in whatever other specific features are desired.
  • The glyphs should be in the "All Alternates" (aalt) feature, as well as in whatever other specific features are desired.
    Thanks so much! I'm much closer now than before. This lead me to write a lookup for my glyph substitution and then add the 'aalt' feature. See screenshot linked below:
    https://imgur.com/a/QS40Q

    Unfortunately I'm still missing something because after generating the font with these settings I still don't get the little hover menu in CC.

    Any idea what I could have overlooked?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 994
    edited December 2017
    I'm afraid I don't remember the FontForge interface quite well enough to know what you might be doing wrong there.

    That said... I am a bit confused about why you'd link accented letters this way. Either you are naming your glyphs incorrectly, or you are using this feature to access accented letters from their base characters—which will cause grief for users downstream....

    Heck, it might be this incorrect use of the feature that the Adobe apps are clever enough to reject: if something is encoded non-PUA they might not show it as an alternate?
  • I'm afraid I don't remember the FontForge interface quite well enough to know what you might be doing wrong there.

    That said... I am a bit confused about why you'd link accented letters this way. Either you are naming your glyphs incorrectly, or you are using this feature to access accented letters from their base characters—which will cause grief for users downstream....

    Heck, it might be this incorrect use of the feature that the Adobe apps are clever enough to reject: if something is encoded non-PUA they might not show it as an alternate?
    That's a good catch on substituting an accented character. I was only using that as a test for the substitute because I haven't figured out yet what best practice is for adding an a simple alternate character for the 'A.' I'm assuming I should create a new glyph for it. I'll keep tinkering with this and hopefully make a breakthrough. Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it. 
  • Heck, it might be this incorrect use of the feature that the Adobe apps are clever enough to reject: if something is encoded non-PUA they might not show it as an alternate?
    I don’t think this is correct — I’m not terribly concerned about .pdf reconstruction so I regularly map one → onesuperior (0xB9), a → ordfeminine (0xAA) etc. without encountering and problems with the CC apps.
  • glukgluk Posts: 38
    if you have already done other tables (ss01..09, calt, etc.), you can make 'aalt' table automatically and possibly add/edit other alternates (like ordfeminine)
    Element → Font Info → Lookups → GSUB → right click menu → Add 'aalt' features




  • gluk said:
    if you have already done other tables (ss01..09, calt, etc.), you can make 'aalt' table automatically and possibly add/edit other alternates (like ordfeminine)
    Element → Font Info → Lookups → GSUB → right click menu → Add 'aalt' features

    Thanks for the reply! I've been tinkering with different combinations of this but I just can't get it. 



    None of this seems to produce the hover substitution menu in CC. I even exported one of these as a feature file, loaded it back into fontforge and it switched the character file in the menu. So I'm just not sure what little piece I'm missing. 

    I've read all through many instructions like the two below and can't sift out the missing piece.

    https://fontforge.github.io/lookups.html#basic-subs
    http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/entry/131

    I'm considering reaching out to some of the web developers I work with to see if they can analyze this problem and tell what I might be missing. If that doesn't work perhaps I'll just let the alternates exist in the glyph panel and give up on this feature. 

    Have you been successful in getting the little menu in Creative Cloud to work for you alternate substitutions?
  • glukgluk Posts: 38


    [...] I even exported one of these as a feature file, loaded it back into fontforge [...]
    can you show us this .fea file?

    btw. are You sure, it's not a problem with Font Cache in Adobe program?
  • btw. are You sure, it's not a problem with Font Cache in Adobe program? 
    Holy sh*t. It was the font cache. I cleared the font cache and the alternate menu showed right up. Thanks you so much! Great way to start the year having that problem solved. 

    Thanks to everyone who replied and helped me figure this out. I'm looking forward to putting my typeface up for a critique after I push some of the letterforms a little more.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 723
    When in doubt, clear the Adobe font cache.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,524
    btw. are You sure, it's not a problem with Font Cache in Adobe program? 
    Holy sh*t. It was the font cache. I cleared the font cache and the alternate menu showed right up. Thanks you so much! Great way to start the year having that problem solved. 
    In the future export fonts to ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts. This will activate the fonts in some Adobe apps without installing or caching. This won’t work in recent versions of Photoshop, which seem to cache fonts in PSD files. Only install a font when you’re done testing in the Adobe suite and web browsers.
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