Applications without OpenType feature support

Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,379
edited February 2022 in Font Technology
Something I run into all the time is a customer trying to use a font with OpenType features in an application that doesn't support it. I usually search font "(application name) OpenType support" and sift through forum posts but it's hard to know for sure without installing the app and testing it. I'm starting this thread to list the applications I know of that don't have basic OpenType feature support. If you know of any application with no OpenType support, please add them to this thread.

By basic OpenType support, I mean contextual alternates (calt) and kerning (kern). This should be based on the current version of the app.

Here's what I've got so far:
  • AutoCad
  • GIMP
  • Sketchup
  • SolidWorks


  • As far as online 'design tools' go, 
    • Canva doesn't support Opentype Features ( drives me nuts, get so many queries about this) , but hopefully this will change as the demand increases. Figma seems to support Opentype though - its a collaborative online design tool, up and coming. 

    Desktop Apps :
    • Powerpoint doesn't seem to support Opentype features. Odd because MS word does.
    • Photoshop Elements doesn't either.
  • AutoCAD doesn't even support kerning. 
  • GIMP (2.10.28, Windows 10) supports calt, liga and kern, although offers no control over those features.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    • Powerpoint doesn't seem to support Opentype features. Odd because MS word does.
    Powerpoint is an oddity in the MS app library: it was originally ported from a Mac app that MS bought, and its code is entirely independent of the rest of the MS Office suite. It is truly terrible software, but so widely used that MS can’t easily replace it.
  • Speaking of presentation software, Apple Keynote supports calt, liga, and kern (on by default, only liga can be turned off), but other OT features are buggy or missing.
  • Florian PircherFlorian Pircher Posts: 173
    edited February 2022
    You can access the other features by choosing Format Font Show Fonts (⌘T) → ⋯⃝ → Typography. Not all features, but common stuff like sub/superscript or style sets are available. The Glyph Variants at the bottom of the palette, however, never worked reliably for me.

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,379
    Does anyone know if Canva supports OpenType calt/kern for OTF/TTF uploads? I'd prefer not to make an account to find out.
  • RichardWRichardW Posts: 100
    Are there any supported browsers that support features and use DirectWrite (on Windows) to generate the glyph stream from the character stream?
  • Does anyone know if Canva supports OpenType calt/kern for OTF/TTF uploads? I'd prefer not to make an account to find out.
    Canva doesn't support any Opentype Features at all. Been trying to get hold of someone over there to make a suggestion....but requests to be pointed in the right direction land on deaf ears, I suspect I have to be more clever about how I go about it - but have bigger fish to fry right now :( Will keep trying when I have time to twiddle thumbs again.
  • edited February 2022
    TextEdit of MacOS can at least show all features supported by a specific font and allows to turn them on or off. I only use this to explore it and render specimens.

    ImageMagick version 6 definitely has no support for features. But there seem to be projects to improve it. This means just support the parameters and hand-over to the underlying libraries (Freetype, Pango).
  • Free/OSS apps with imperfect but generally improving support for OT features include Inkscape and Scribus. One quirk of Inkscape is that certain less common features (such as SWSH) are accessible only by typing in the feature tag in all lowercase (“swsh”). Last I checked, neither Inkscape nor Scribus have anything like a glyph palette.

    Every few years or so I get around to toying with LyX as well, to check if its OT support finally offers something sufficiently unique to justify learning all its attendant bollocks.

    The holy grail for me would be to finally have a working Latin script JALT implementation, something like what Simon cryptically demonstrates here. Ideally also tying into a width axis. Scribus is the closest thing I’ve seen short of subscribing to InDesign.
  • RichardWRichardW Posts: 100
    One quirk of Inkscape is that certain less common features (such as SWSH) are accessible only by typing in the feature tag in all lowercase (“swsh”).
    Feature names are case sensitive, and I rather suspect that the vast majority of standard-compliant unregistered feature names would be accepted by most renderers with an appropriate interface.

  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 724
    edited February 2022
    Kind of surprised that nobody has mentioned Adobe Creative Cloud, which has questionable shaping for Arabic and Indic scripts and doesn't support a quarter of GSUB lookup types. (Joking/not joking.)
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 182
    Clip Studio Paint has no feature support at all. It is understandable that a Japanese product would not pay very much attention to the peculiarities of Western type, but the program has become popular with cartoonists, and many are disappointed that they can't use the glyph cycling in the comic fonts they buy.

    Even though MS Word proper supports liga, WordPad does not. This came up today.
  • I'm using Paint Shop Pro's latest edition (2023).
    No support for OpenType features.

    I asked if their next edition (PSP 2024, I suppose) will support these features.
    The vague answer lets me suspect that it isn't the case!
  • Adobe has adopted harfbuzz as the default shaping engine for their “World-ready Composer” in some of their apps now, including Adobe InDesign. This gives those apps quite good behaviors for Arabic and Indic scripts, among many others.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    Are you sure of that re. InDesign, Thomas? Last I checked, Adobe’s own shaping engine was still being used for Arabic and most major Indic scripts, with Harfbuzz being used for scripts not supported by the Adobe shapers. For Arabic script, the shaper needs to be plugged into the bidi text layout controls, which meant that when Harfbuzz was made active for Arabic other aspects of the layout broke. Have not re-tested recently.
  • They just launched a major new version, InDesign 2024 (19.0), no more than a week ago, in conjunction with the Adobe Max conference. HarfBuzz gets 46 seconds of coverage in the 6 1/2 minute video about InDesign changes. Jump to 4:06 in the video to watch it:

  • Behdad mentioned the InDesign October 2023 release switched default text shaper to HarfBuzz (finally!)

    It's an amazing milestone
  • Google Workspace has no OT var nor feature support 
  • Behdad mentioned the InDesign October 2023 release switched default text shaper to HarfBuzz (finally!)

    It's an amazing milestone
    Sadly, it is only partly true.

    The default text shaper in InDesign 2024 is still the Adobe Composer and as far as I can tell it does not seem to be using Harfbuzz—or if it is, they are going out of their way to be stupid in how they use it.

    However, as long as you switch InDesign to the Adobe World-Ready Composer(s) (either single-line or paragraph) Harfbuzz is clearly in use and behaving as hoped-for.

    At least, this is what I am gathering from testing Google’s Material Symbols on the new apps.

    Contrariwise, Photoshop 2024 *does* indeed do the right things for shaping, right out of the box!

    Illustrator 2024 on the other hand... has even broken 'rlig' (!), which is a significant regression. And offers no way to toggle composers. And the other functionality I am seeking is still broken… unless you paste the text in from Photoshop, in which case it works fine! So there is a crazy workaround there: start by pasting in some text from Photoshop and just keep editing that, probably it will remain fine. (I suspect you could even paste into that area of “good text” as unformatted and you would be ok.)
  • edited October 2023
    I can say the Adobe Indesign 2024 harfbuzz world-ready composer is better then 2023.
    Since Indesign CS6 Indesign had a bug with the comma character in world-ready composer. World-ready composer understood comma as Latin character, not as neutral character.
    I know this because my Hebrew fonts have contextual alternates using punctuation and always went wrong with comma but not with the other punctuation characters.
    Even using Harfbuzz with Indesign 2023.
    Finally, in Indesign 2024 Harfbuzz works right!
    Until Indesign CS5.5 ME you could mix regular font versions with bold or others from the same family font, and Contextual OpenType features still worked.
    This is not possible anymore even using Indesign 2024.
    The Adobe CS 5.5 ME was the last Indesign ME from Winsoft, after CS6 Adobe bought from Winsoft the ME features and the rest is history.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    InDesign 2024 looking good. Cross-cluster contextual Indic GSUB is being applied, which was the biggest lingering issue with the old Adobe Indic shapers. Might now be able to go back to some older projects and advise clients that we’re finally able to implement fonts as originally intended.
  • I would like to replace my Paint Shop Pro annual update.
    Adobe has released Photoshop Elements 2024.
    Does anybody know if it supports OpenType features, and which ones?
    Thanks in advance! 
  • I don't know, but it you don't get an answer, you could download the trial...and report back:-)
  • You could try Affinity Photo. It has pretty robust OpenType support and is a pretty good alternative to Photoshop (and much less expensive).
  • Thank you John! But it seems the free trial (7 days!) isn't available in Belgium.

    Thank you Mark. I'll try Affinity Photo (one month!) 
  • I took the Affinity 2.2.2 free trial. Installed Photo and tried to boot it: it's stuck on the start image with the message: loading fonts. And that during half an hour.
    Stopped it with Task Manager and tried again (4 times). Same result!
    So I uninstall this ... piece of software!
  • Sorry for my last post! No matter! Thank you for the informations!
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