Alter the glyph order in Font view

by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
en fr zh

25 July 2022 Published on 22 July 2012

This tutorial is an answer to a question frequently asked by converts: how do you change the order of the glyphs displayed in the Font view? You’ll see, it’s super easy and quick.

Easy: list filter

The most convenient way of controlling what gets displayed in what order is a simple list filter. Just click on the gear button in the bottom left corner of the window, choose Add List Filter and a dialog will appear. Pick a good name and enter the glyph names, line by line, in the order you desire.

Hint 1: Double clicking an existing filter name will let you edit the filter.

Hint 2: Make sure your filter name contains at least one lowercase letter. In the current versions of Glyphs, an all-caps name (like ‘A-Z’) is considered a group header and will be rendered as such. Should this happen to you, here’s how to fix that.

Hint 3: You can select more than one filter at once by Shift- or Cmd-clicking their names in the sidebar.

Intermediate: custom parameter

Want to change the glyph order on a per-font basis? Go into your Font Info, switch to the Font tab and add a Custom Parameter with a Property called ‘glyphOrder’. Double click the Value field and, just like in a List Filter, enter or paste a list of glyph names. The glyphs in this font will be displayed in that order.

Attention: This also changes the order of the glyphs in the final OTF file. So, do this only if you know what you are doing.

Hint: You can copy and paste Custom Parameters between fonts.

Pro: GlyphData.xml

Want a more permanent solution? If you feel that you’re up to the challenge, fire up your favorite plaintext editor and create an XML file called GlyphData.xml at this position:

~/Library/Application Support/Glyphs/Info/GlyphData.xml

You can copy Glyphs’ built-in XML file from this location:


The files contain all relevant glyph info, including the sort order. They complement each other, so you can limit your copy of the XML file to just the letters you need.

By default, Glyphs orders the glyphs alphabetically within their category. If you want to manipulate the display order, add a sortName attribute to the glyph entry. To give you an idea how this works, here’s how jdotless comes after j instead of d:

<glyph unicode="0237" name="jdotless" sortName="j_" category="Letter" subCategory="Lowercase" script="latin" description="LATIN SMALL LETTER DOTLESS J" anchors="top" accents="dotaccent, circumflex" ></glyph>

You can, of course, do much more with GlyphData.xml. Take your time and study its structure a bit, it’s pretty straightforward.

Update 29-07-2020: correction of the word complement.
Update 2022-07-25: updated title, related articles, minor formatting.