Opentype Ligatures

How to enable custom ligatures that automatically substitute any two letters in a row, or disable them if you prefer.

Rob wrote:

“I notice that with some of Comicraft’s Opentype fonts, adjacent duplicate letters (like the “o’s” in “look”) are automatically converted to ligatures comprised of an uppercase and lowercase version of the letter. I understand why this is done. Can it be overridden?”

Indeed! The Opentype versions of our all-uppercase Balloon fonts (as well as many of our recent Character Voice fonts) feature custom ligatures that automatically substitute any two letters in a row, to help simulate the randomness of pen-drawn lettering.

Text in our font KICKBACK without custom
Text with custom ligatures.

To access them, do nothing — recent versions of Adobe programs recognize them automatically, and make the substitutions as you type. Nifty, eh?

However, if you find the feature anything less than nifty, it’s easy to disable:

  • In Illustrator CS2/CS3, in the Opentype palette (choose Window > Type > Opentype if it’s not visible), click on the contextual menu (little arrow in the upper right corner) and choose “Standard Ligatures” to uncheck it.

    In Illustrator CS, it’s in the Character palette menu > Opentype ligatures

  • In Photoshop CS3, it’s Character palette menu > Opentype > Standard Ligatures
  • In Photoshop 7/CS/CS2 and InDesign (all versions), it’s Character palette menu > Ligatures

On the other hand, if you want them but the application you’re using doesn’t automatically substitute, you can always get the alternates by typing upper and lower case characters, i.e. “fuNnY BubBLeS”. That’s how we used to do it before there was Opentype!