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Hi Affinity Designers,

 

I have a very simple question, sorry, I was not able to figure this out:

How do I transform fractions in my text into a single glyph?

My intuition was to insert something like "n/k", highlight it and then click on "Fractions" [1/2] in the "Typography" section in the box that pops up when you hit "Show Typography" (is its name the "Character Box"?).

 

For some reason, the "Fractions" button stays unclickable though. This is the case in all fonts tested, like Helvetica, Arial, Myriad Pro.

 

Can you help me out here?

That would be awesome!

Cheers,

Christoph

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You can think of it the following way. “Fraction” essentially invokes an Opentype glyph substitution program that is contained in the code of your font file, if applicable. When the “Fraction” button is engaged with relation to a text block, Affinity Designer looks for strings in this text block that are defined as admissible inputs for the substitution program and substitutes a single glyph (i.e. a fraction glyph) for the glyphs that are normally used to represent these strings. In order to make this work, the substitution program has to be present in the font file though.

You can see how such a “program” looks in the Source Sans font, when opened in Fontlab, below.

Hope that makes sense …  :)

Alex

post-1198-0-09156200-1454690615_thumb.png

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Thank you very much. So if I understand you correctly, then this substitution program is not present in my Helvetica, Arial or Myriad Pro and in these cases, I have to generate the fraction glyph myself outside of AD? And if the substitution program was present, "1/4" would be changed into ¼ if I highlighted the text and hit "Fractions"?

And what would then be fonts which typically have this substitution program?

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Fractions can work in either of two ways in Affinity. The first way is using the font's OpenType feature, as A_B_C describes. Not many of the standard Mac fonts support that, although many Adobe ones do. The second way is for Affinity to look for any Unicode fraction glyphs the font might define, and substitute them as appropriate. Many more fonts support this, for the common fractions. For example, Helvetica defines U+00BC as ¼, and so if you have Helvetica text, type "1/4" and enable Fraction on it, then you should see it change to ¼.

 

If this example isn't working for you, then something is wrong. Are you using the row of buttons in the Character panel, which is part of the Studio, or are you using the Typography panel? The Typography panel is bigger, includes previews of what each option will do, and only lists options that are available for the selected text.

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No, nothing wrong. What we all already said: If the font does not include what you want, it will not fall from the sky. Just try it with 1/4, which is included in most Helveticas.

 

Have it?

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Hey Oval,

let me detail my line of thought here. I'm happy to hear where I'm wrong.

 

"The second way is for Affinity to look for any Unicode fraction glyphs the font might define, and substitute them as appropriate. Many more fonts support this, for the common fractions. For example, Helvetica defines U+00BC as ¼, and so if you have Helvetica text, type "1/4" and enable Fraction on it, then you should see it change to ¼."

 

-> I use Helvetica

-> U+00BC is definded as ¼

-> Dave Harris says: "type '1/4'"

-> I type '1/4'

-> Dave Harris says: "and enable Fraction on it"

-> my understanding of this: Hit the fraction button

-> I can't hit the fraction button: In the "Typography" window there is no such option and in the "Character" window it is not clickable

-> something is wrong.

 

If I try to follow your first post, my strategy to implement your idea is to go on this page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_Forms and copy the fractions I need as I don't know a better way to get them. This is somewhat uncomfortable as I do not always have an internet connection. I guess it's not very clever, so if you know a better way, enlighten me.

 

Cheers,

Christoph

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Christoph, there are indeed several possibilities. Either a font

(a.) has precompiled fraction glyphs, or

(b.) it has an Opentype substitution feature, or

(c.) it has neither.

(a.) If a font has precompiled fraction glyphs, you can check this through Apple’s Font Book app.

  • Open Apple’s Font Book app.
  • Select the desired font and type Cmd+2. This will give you an overview of all glyphs in your font.
  • If you see the desired fraction there, it is precompiled and assumes either a Unicode code point or is an unencoded glyph in your font. At least in the first case, you should be able to select the glyph in Font Book, copy it and paste it successfully into your Designer document.

And as far as I understood, Dave Harris said that Affinity Designer is so smart that it looks up the encoding table of the font in order to check if there are precompiled fractions that assume the right Unicode code points and substitutes them for text strings, even if there is no Opentype substitution feature specified in the font. So hitting the Fraction button on the Typography panel would have an effect here as well.

(b.) But in general, there are only very few precompiled fraction glyphs in a font file, if any. So the second thing you have to check is whether there is an Opentype substitution feature present in the font, and you can do so by using the the Fraction button, as was outlined by Dave Harris above and is shown in my video below. My Helvetica version has an Opentype substitution feature of the desired kind, so I can use the Fraction button.

(c.) If that’s not possible for you, your Helvetica version doesn’t seem to have that feature. I am sorry to say that, but this case you will have to use another font, if fractions are essential for your design.

Hope that makes sense …  :)

Alex

Fraction.mov

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Did you highlight the fraction you wrote down.  

Type 1/4,

Highlight the 1/4 you just typed.

Press character from context menu,

Press fraction from typography section.

Your selected text should change.

 

I always forget to select. 

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Or maybe not.  Once selected, I noticed new fractions typed, if recognized automatically get changed. If in the same text box. But not all values have fraction equivalents. I just used the default Ariel so far. 

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Dear Dave Harris,

thank you very much. Here is a screenshot of the current situation. It seems to me that "something is wrong" then.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/76k8e737czt7t37/screenTypoCharacter.png?dl=0

Might you be using an old version of the font that doesn't have these characters? I tried Helvetica on my machine before giving that recipe, but my machine is relatively recent. You can use Font Book to check which characters your version of the font defines, following A_B_C's suggestion.

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I got tired of searching through Font Book for fraction glyphs so it occurred to me that the OS X Character Viewer (now called "Emoji & Symbols" in menus in El Capitan) might offer a better way to find them. So I opened it in AD (the last item on the Edit menu), made sure it was expanded to the larger view, & typed "fractions" into its search box.

 

Not only does it show all the available fraction glyphs, it shows which fonts have them in the Fonts Variation section. (Click on one in that section & in the preview box above you can see which font it is from.) The attached file shows what this looks like on my system.

 

Even better, you don't have to copy the fraction to the clipboard & paste it into your text. Just position the text cursor wherever you want it to appear in the text entry box of your document & in the Character Viewer double-click on it to insert it there.

 

This also interacts somehow with the typography fractions button but I haven't worked out the details of that yet.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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Thanks R C-R, for pointing out the additional option. Personally, I hardly use the OS X Character Viewer, because I cannot get to grips with the idea behind it. When I select “Unicode” for example, the Character Viewer will show glyphs from an abundance of different fonts within the same list. And I don’t see any pattern behind the selection of these glyphs. That doesn’t make sense to me (from a typographical point of view), and it will most probably lead to the issues Oval has alluded to …

Furthermore, I don’t see an option of displaying all glyphs of a single font file within Character Viewer, at least on OS X Yosemite. I believe to remember that there was such an option in earlier versions of OS X, but obviously this option was withdrawn. Or am I wrong here?  :unsure:

Cheers, Alex  :)

post-1198-0-34342400-1454749629_thumb.png

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I'm not sure what problems using the Character Viewer would cause that would be any different from using the Affinity Typography options -- either way, if the system used to edit or print the document includes the font & glyph there should be no issues; otherwise there will be at least alignment problems or substitutions. Besides, converting to curves, rasterizing on export, or (when the format permits) embedding the font should eliminate these issues in either case.

 

On a Mac I have running 10.6.8, Character Viewer does not (as far as I can see) have an option to show every glyph of a selected typeface. Anyway, Font Book does that, so for browsing the available glyphs it would be a better choice. In the variations panel, the glyphs are listed alphabetically by typeface name ... except that the typeface names that begin with "Apple" (like "Apple Symbol" or "AppleGothic Regular") appear at the end, as if "Apple" was a letter following z, so to speak.

 

The strong points of Character Viewer for me are that you can customize the category list (Arrows, Currency Symbols, etc.) to suit your needs, maintain a favorites list, search for a character or symbol by name, & see all the available glyphs for a Unicode code point in one window, making selection by appearance relatively easy.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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I'm not sure what problems using the Character Viewer would cause that would be any different from using the Affinity Typography options …

Of course, I didn’t mean technical issues, but typographic (stylistic) issues …  ;)

post-1198-0-70753000-1454768799_thumb.png

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