[Scribus] scribus and ligatures

Mardigrafe - Louis Desjardins louis_desjardins
Wed Jan 28 16:49:14 CET 2004


Ligatures are of various flavors. Some are "regular" ligatures such as oe, ae, fi and fl (?, ?, ? and ?) where the two letters are attached together to form one specific glyph (they can be generally found in any font set). Others are called "expert" mainly because of the limit (256) of the number of glyphs one font can contain under the commonly used font formats. That limit is now well push further with the arrival of OpenType (but this format is yet not much in use in the graphic art industry). To get around this limitation, font companies such as Adobe have come up with "Expert Fonts Collections". These fonts contain numerous alternative glyphs that can also be accessed by typing the right letter (you need a keyboard map to find out which is which!). The whole process is somewhat clumsy (you have to introduce various fonts into a body text to achieve fine typographic results) but that's the way we had to do it before the rise of InDesign and OpenType "unlimited (64.000)" glyphs capabilities. By the way, the freshly released Quark 6 does not support OpenType... But it does handle the regular ligatures.

All this to say that, on the first part, ligatures are mainly a font related issue.

Provided you have the right fonts, ligatures can be accessed using any kind of text capable application.

Where it gets a little more complicated is if you want to achieve hyphenation with ligatures : what if you want to separate the ligatured letters? This can be done by substituting one glyph by two or three and then put the hyphen at the right place. If the text is further edited (and it happens!!!) or the layout is modified (?) the program must put back the ligature...  I guess this is a good one for programmers! 

Moreover, it might be of interest to mention that one of the reasons for the invention of ligatures was to oblige the apprentice typographer not to hyphenate in between these letters! End of parenthesis...

I agree it would be a very nice feature to introduce in Scribus. I just can't think of how high I would put it in the list!!!

Good day to everyone!!!

Louis Desjardins

T?l 514.934.1353
Fax 514.934.3698

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