[Scribus] Ligatures and "Expert Fonts" again

John Jordan johnxj
Thu Sep 22 00:03:56 CEST 2005

On 21 Sep 2005, at 17:09, Louis Desjardins wrote:

> As a footnote, I'd like to add that Quark has never had an elegant way
> to achieve this either. The only efficient way that I know to work
> with Expert fonts was to use an XTension (that is not supported
> anymore) running with version 4.x and below. (Something like a super
> search & replace dialog.)

The absolute best way to do this, given the state of today's 
computers and software, is the way Adobe implemented it in 

Early in the development of InDesign Adobe realized that ligatures 
totally screw up spell checkers and thesauruses. We DTPers 
already knew that, of course. It was trivial to write a macro in a 
word processor to replace the characters with their corresponding 
ligatures, even if the ligatures were in a separate font. But you'd 
better be sure you waited to run the macro after finishing all the 
writing and spell checking.

Another problem was transfering text to another application. 
Suppose I had some text that I had applied ligatures to with my 
macro, and then I want to copy and paste some of it into an e-mail, 
or a website, or anyplace where all the fonts might not be available. 

Adobe solved both these problems by holding the text internally 
without ligatures. Thus, the spell checker was not confused and 
other applications received text they could handle. For screen 
display and printing the alternate ligatures are used. Of course, this 
works only with OpenType fonts that are properly coded and which 
contain the ligature alternates. It does not work with the older fonts 
where the ligatures are in a separate "expert set."

The system works extremely well. In the currrent version of 
InDesign there are several ligature options. You can turn on the f-
ligatures, you can turn on "discretionary" ligatures (ct, st, etc.), 
and/or you can turn on swash alternates.

I hope Scribus implements a similar scheme. I can't think of any 
other way to do it.

And after the ligature issue is handled, could we have optical 
kerning? :)

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