How to Use Alternate Character & Ligatures – in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word, Canva & Other

Alternate characters and ligatures are a great way to customize your font. They add flavour, uniqueness & custom elements to your design. In this guide, we want to show you how to use them. This guide will work for all Sweetest Goods fonts - but will work for many other fonts as well. Featured are some of the most important software for designers - including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Microsoft Word, and Canva. If the software you use is not listed, take a look at the "Other" section.

What are Alternate Characters & Ligatures?

Alternate characters are variations of the standard, default character set in a typeface. Ligatures are characters that combine two (or sometimes three) characters into a single letter.

Alternate Glyphs /  Letters / Characters in Fonts

Adobe Photoshop: How to Access Alternates & Ligatures?

There are two ways. Try which option works best for you and your design workflow.

Option #1 – Select a letter

This works for alternate characters.

  1. Select the letter you would like to change.

  2. If there is an alternate character, a little window pops up.

  3. Click on the alternate you want to insert.

How to access ligatures & altnerate glyphs

Option #2 – Access via the glyphs panel

This works for alternate characters & ligatures.

  1. In the top navigation select Type > Panels > Glyphs Panel or Window > Glyphs.

  2. Select the font you are working with in the top right.

  3. While highlighting one of your letters or having the type tool active, click on a character you would like to insert.

Glyphs panel Photoshop - Alternate glyphs/letter

InDesign: How to Access Alternate Characters?

Option #1 – Select a letter

This works for alternate characters.

  1. Select the letter you would like to change.

  2. If there is an alternate character, a little window pops up.

  3. Click on the alternate you want to insert.

How to access ligatures & altnerate glyphs

Option #2 – Access via the glyphs panel

This works for alternate characters & ligatures.

  1. In the top navigation select Type > Glyphs or Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs.

  2. Select the font you are working with in the top right.

  3. While highlighting one of your letters or having the type tool active, click on a character you would like to insert.

 

Glyphs panel Adobe - Alternate glyphs/letter

Illustrator: How to Access Alternate Characters?

There are two ways. Try which option works best for you and your design workflow.

Option #1 – Select a letter

This works for alternate characters.

  1. Select the letter you would like to change.

  2. If there is an alternate character, a little window pops up.

  3. Click on the alternate you want to insert.

How to access ligatures & altnerate glyphs

Option #2 – Access via the glyphs panel

This works for alternate characters & ligatures.

  1. In the top navigation select Type > Glyphs Panel or Window > Type > Glyphs.

  2. Select the font you are working with in the top right.

  3. While highlighting one of your letters or having the type tool active, click on a character you would like to insert.

 

Glyphs panel Illustrator - Alternate glyphs/letter

How to Access Alternate Characters in Microsoft Word?

In Microsoft Word there is an official way to use alternate characters and ligatures. Unfortunately, this way is somewhat error-prone, as it does not allow multiple versions of alternate characters and ligatures. Therefore, we recommend copying alternate glyphs and ligatures directly from the font program on your computer.

Mac OS

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

Windows

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

How to Access Alternate Characters in Canva?

Direct access to alternative characters in Canva is not possible. But there is a quick and easy solution. Just copy the letters you want from your computer's font program and paste them directly into your Canva project.

Mac OS

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

Windows

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

How to Access Alternate Characters in Other Software?

There are many more programs and ways to access alternate characters. To cover them all in this document is beyond the scope of this guide. Instead, we want to show you a more general approach. This way of inserting alternate characters works in almost all programs you can imagine.

Mac OS

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

Windows

  1. Open the app Font Book.

  2. Select your font.

  3. In the top navigation select View > Repertoire.

  4. Select a letter and copy it with CMD + C

  5. Open your program of choice and paste it in there with CMD/CTRL + V.

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