Fontlab 5 - text in space glyph

Does anyone know what this is in the space glyph in the font window (FL5.2)? It looks like it says DEF to me. Seems to be in some fonts but not others.


  • The little hand tells you that the space is used as the PFM default character. When a glyph is not available in a font, it will be replace by the PFM default character. It’s better to use .notdef for that.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 904
    edited August 2019
    If you go to File > Font Info… and then go to the Encoding and Unicode section, you’ll see where that gets set.

  • Thank you. I thought after posting it might be a manicule not DEF, but still couldn't find what it meant, so cheers!
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,854
    Note that the PFM default character applies only to PS Type 1 fonts. OpenType and TrueType fonts will automatically use the .notdef glyph, presuming it is Glyph ID 0 (zero) as specified.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 904
    I think it does say “DEF” in a tiny 4-pixel bmap face. As in “default character”.
  • Theunis de JongTheunis de Jong Posts: 108
    edited August 2019
    Now it has been suggested, I cannot see it anymore else than a tiny pointing hand ...

    Which indeed is properly called a "manicule" – thanks for that factoid. I'll make sure to name it as such in the future. (Another one is "pilcrow" for "¶".)

    In the Optimality Theory in linguistics, the manicule gets used to point out (hur hur, I guess) which constraint is the best; see the example Tableau in
  • Optimality Theory likely increased the sales of dingbat fonts. Between manicules, eight-balls, flowers, and bombs (not to mention whatever else might have been added), it definitely created a market (albeit a rather small one)
  • Perfectly reasonable manicule.
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