[Scribus] scribus and ligatures

Paul Davidson linux
Sat Jan 31 20:24:24 CET 2004

>Ligatures are of various flavors. Some are "regular" ligatures such as oe, ae, fi and fl (¦, æ, Þ and þ) where the two letters are attached together to form one specific glyph (they can be generally found in any font set).

Be careful - you're getting typographical and linguistic ligatures mixed up here. "æ" is a separate letter, not a ligature where typesetting is concerned. The fi and fl ligatures are typographical ligatures.  The letter thorn (Þ) is not a ligature, period. 

fi and fl are the most important Latin ligatures, because of the way these letters clash. They each have their own spot on the unicode character chart, and nearly all professional fonts include them, so doing this substitution automatically is easy for software.

Traditionally, "expert" font sets have included other important ligatures, like fj, fk, ffi, and ffl. Using these ligatures used to require painstaking text and font substitutions. Opentype, which is fully supported by InDesign, changes that. Opentype allows for any ligatures to be defined in the font itself. This is very useful for Latin fonts and even more useful for non-Latin fonts, like Indic fonts and Arabic, which *require* dozens of contextual ligatures.

The key thing about the Opentype engine is that it keeps separate the notions of "letter" and "glyph". You enter in a string of text, say the word "fjord", and although your text in the document does not change, the Opentype engine substitutes, if necessary, the "fj" glyph for those two letters. You can still edit and hyphenate the text as individual letters. 

Opentype also supports alternative glyphs for letters, and scripting for more complex substitutions. It also supports script and language-specific rules for choosing ligatures. See Dalliance or Mrs. Eaves by Emigre (www.emigre.com) as excellent examples of Opentype fonts with custom ligatures and alternates.

>By the way, the freshly released Quark 6 does not support OpenType... 

Quark has fallen behind, and no longer sets the standard.

>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!!!

I put it very high. As a professional graphic designer and typographer, I must use InDesign for many projects that I would prefer Scribus for, because of its Opentype and ligature support.

Best regards.				 
Paul Davidson
linux at hiddenfortress.net

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