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Inserting characters from symbol fonts, how?

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Can anyone please point me how to insert characters from symbol fonts such as e.g. "Apple Symbols".  

 

With other editors I would normally just look the font up in the Font Book app and copy/paste the characters I need from there. Some editors also provide a dedicated glyph lookup window (which I'm missing a lot in Serif apps!). 

 

When I try this in Affinity Designer I'm getting a "question mark in a box" symbol every time I'm trying to copy/paste some character from Font Book app.

 

Is there any other way to insert these? Just not Apple's "Emoji & Symbols" panel please!

 

Thank you

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Hi af_user.  Yes, Apple’s FontBook isn't really suited to selecting Glyphs, it's focussed on selecting and mounting fonts. More sophisticated (and paid-for) options such as 'FontExplorer X Pro' do that much better. 


 


The MacOS “Show Emoji and Symbols” on the top menu bar (especially in El Capitan) means an easily searchable Glyph index based on the cross-platform Unicode classification. It's pretty neat as it offers the Glyphs in your system in groups (Maths, Music Notation, Latin text forms, Greek, Russian, Technical, Shapes, Stars, Asterisks, Arrows, Favourites — whatever) and individually through 'Search'. It’s fast, flexible and a designer’s dream especially with your own 'Favourites' selections.


 


Searches for a particular Glyph in the Search box bring up every font variation of that glyph in fonts installed in your system, and present them with related characters and variations. If you are working across two Desktops your Glyph palettes stay with whatever you are working on.


 


I have used Illustrator and its character palettes (as well as Photoshop, InDesign and Xpress since their first publication) and would not go back to those palettes. Nor do I think Affinity should waste effort duplicating the macOS offering. An in-app link to "Favourites", if possible, would hardly be more convenient.


 


Why not give it a thorough work-out? Search for a Glyph in the box (top right), or, choose a collection in the left hand column and find your Glyph there. Check for Related Characters, and Font Variations in the right hand column. Double-click the Glyph in the second column, (or Related, Font Variation  columns — or Favourites) and it’s inserted into your document in your chosen font. Try typing e.g. "Armenian" in the search box.  Magic! 


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Hi Uuiop. This has nothing to do with using Font Book app for looking up glyphs and more with a bug in Serifs apps not being able to paste UTF text with multi-byte character codes. I'm pretty confident when you copy a character in Font Book it is the same as copying ordinary text from the web, form a PDF, form anywhere practically. Copy/pasting text a pretty basic operation. 

 

I specifically asked not to offer "Emoji & Symbols" panel in my original post  B)  I think you can tell from the title this panel is more for chatting than serious work, not? 

 

I admit I have issues with some standard Apple dialogs like standard Font or Color picker panels and yes, the Emoji & Symbols too. Whoever designed those needs to be be shoot down for all the suffering he caused. 

 

But regardless, despite not being able to do the most basic and common operation of viewing glyphs of a single specific font, the main problem I have with it it doesn't show all of the symbols. You can go into Customize List and tick all categories in there yet some of the symbols still wont show in the list. A totally useless thing for anything other than emojis.   

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Hi af_user.

Thanks for the clarification, especially your last paragraph. It seems that even UTF-8 has not been able to solve all issues, and perhaps Apple should not be blamed for the shortcomings you are wrestling with. It's a complex set of issues, and it will take time to solve them.

 

---------------------- 

For other readers who may be interested:

There are useful references in the UTF-8 pages in Wikipedia at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTF-8

see particularly the section on “Invalid Byte Sequences”. While Wikipedia isn’t always utterly reliable and experts will generally want to disagree with it somewhere or other, the pages are a useful introduction.

 

The Replacement Character (Black diamond with white Question mark) is discussed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specials_(Unicode_block)#Replacement_character.

 

Open “Show Emoji & Symbols” then go to the cog wheel in the top left corner. Click on “Customise List” and scroll down to the bottom to see the Unicode tables. Tick the top one.

 

As an example only (see the first two screenshots below), clicking on “Runic” Characters results in several Blanks at the end, whereas the following ’Tagalog’ has no listed characters at all -- see the third screenshot.

 

A double-click on  (Apple Symbols version) places the glyph in your text wherever the cursor is. If you click on the 'Noto Sans Runic' version - which is not installed on my system this Question mark  appears).

 

Perhaps this may help someone else out there.

post-21694-0-33631700-1466065309_thumb.png

post-21694-0-08958300-1466065365_thumb.png

post-21694-0-83735000-1466067180_thumb.png

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With other editors I would normally just look the font up in the Font Book app and copy/paste the characters I need from there.

In Affinity, copy & paste from Font Book works for me as long as the cursor is showing in an art or frame text box. It also works for dragging & dropping a glyph from Font Book into the Affinity workspace, even if some other tool is selected & there is no text cursor. 

 

Also, as Uuiop mentioned, the "Emoji & Symbols" panel is for more than chatting; it also can be used for serious work, including accessing 2, 3, & 4 byte UTF-8 glyphs (assuming you have fonts installed with glyphs at those code points). It is also searchable on Unicode names, so if say you need something obscure like the "Devanagari Letter AA" (Unicode point U+0906; UTF-8 E0 A4 86) you can quickly find it.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Thanks guys.

 

Sorry for the delay. I honestly struggle to drag & drop from Font Book app as R C-R suggests. Not that it doesn't work at all, as I said copying works with character codes up to a certain limit. Up to 3855 (0x0F0F) to be precise. Copying or dragging characters with codes above that will result into "Invalid Byte Sequences" diamond glyph. This cuts out about ~750 usable glyphs out of e.g. Apple Symbols font. Just try it yourself, you can see character codes as you hover glyphs in Font Book. I think it is a bug in Affinity text handling.

 

As for the Apple's Emoji palette... I seriously doubt graphics professionals (I'm not one of them btw) rely on that for any serious work. Same as Jim_Campbell above, my colleague (the one who actually suggested me to try Affinity) is himself sticking to Illustrator because Affinity apps are lacking a number of basic features and Glyph Lookup palette is one of them.

 

You can't really ask people to hunt for hours to find a certain symbol from a specific font in the dreaded (sorry, can't help!) Emoji panel. A simple task turns into a torture even for one single glyph let alone ten or twenty you may need. As usually, Apple was trying to be too clever and designed something off the top of their head without asking first what people need.

 

Sorry, I think I'm taking this thread off topic with Apple standard dialog UI choices discussion  B)

 

Lets get back on track. I still struggle to come up with a solution of inserting text characters with codes above 3855. Not all of them have an assigned standard Unicode U+x code so you can't lookup those via Emoji panel either even if you add Unicode category to the list. 

 

Serif, any ideas please guys? Half a kingdom for a workaround!

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Having experimented a little more... I discovered that you can drag & drop any glyph from the Font Book into the Emoji panel itself (right top corner where it shows the glyph) and it will find the character just fine. So a path to quickly lookup the character I need in standard Emoji panel indeed exists!

 

From there it is back to the original problem. If you double-click to insert it into your design you get the same diamond & question glyph instead :wacko:    

 

I'm starting to think this bug has nothing to do with the codes above certain number but rather glyphs that don't have assigned Unicode U+x code... 

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Hi Maxxxworld

 

thanks for the advice! This method doesn't work either for the glyphs with no standard U+xxx Unicode number associated with them :unsure: See below:

 

 

 

 

 

post-24154-0-90665900-1467043097_thumb.png

post-24154-0-85580100-1467043110_thumb.png

post-24154-0-69152900-1467043120_thumb.png

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I'm starting to think this bug has nothing to do with the codes above certain number but rather glyphs that don't have assigned Unicode U+x code... 

I think you are right about that. Affinity supports Unicode code points without any problems I can find, but doesn't know what to do with glyphs that don't have them.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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I have finally found a workaround. Print/export the chars you need from any text editor into a Postscript .ps file then import in Affinity. The glyphs will be imported as curves so the non-Unicode chars bug not affecting them...

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Hi Uuiop. This has nothing to do with using Font Book app for looking up glyphs and more with a bug in Serifs apps not being able to paste UTF text with multi-byte character codes.

 

Yes, we can handle some multi-byte sequences but not all. It's not as simple as straight UTF, because FontBook gives us RTF text which adds its own layers of encoding. We were failing for two cases. The first is Unicode characters above U+FFFF. FontBook encodes them as surrogate pairs, which we weren't expecting. The second case is for glyphs that have no Unicode equivalent at all. For this FontBook uses an Apple-specific extension to the RTF specification, \glid, which I hadn't been aware of. Both of these should be working in the next beta.

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On 6/17/2016 at 7:21 PM, R C-R said:

In Affinity, copy & paste from Font Book works for me as long as the cursor is showing in an art or frame text box. It also works for dragging & dropping a glyph from Font Book into the Affinity workspace, even if some other tool is selected & there is no text cursor. 

 

Also, as Uuiop mentioned, the "Emoji & Symbols" panel is for more than chatting; it also can be used for serious work, including accessing 2, 3, & 4 byte UTF-8 glyphs (assuming you have fonts installed with glyphs at those code points). It is also searchable on Unicode names, so if say you need something obscure like the "Devanagari Letter AA" (Unicode point U+0906; UTF-8 E0 A4 86) you can quickly find it.

Hello and Thank You both for your responses. I've been trying to add the pi symbol to a Designer file as part of a text frame. The Font Book option worked for me.

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18 minutes ago, Trudge said:

I've been trying to add the pi symbol to a Designer file as part of a text frame. The Font Book option worked for me.

You can also use the Glyph Browser (available from the text menu) for this: select the font of interest, locate the glyph you want, & double-click on it to insert it at the text cursor position in Artistic or Frame text.

There is even a search field at the bottom of the browser, but it is a bit quirky -- to filter it just to the pi symbol I had to type "small letter Pi" in the search field. Otherwise, with anything less specific like just "pi" it showed me many different glyphs, many with no obvious connection to that symbol.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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