Alter the glyph order in Font view

by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
en fr zh

11 January 2023 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 actions 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: Make sure your filter name contains at least one lowercase letter. In some versions of Glyphs, an all-caps name (like ‘A-Z’) is considered a group header and will be rendered as such.

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 called glyphOrder:

Click in 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: The glyphOrder parameter also changes the order of the glyphs in the final OpenType font file. So, do this only if you know what you are doing.

As an extra treat, you can add section headers. Just add a line with a title, and prefix and postfix it with a double asterisk, e.g., like in this example:


… and the words Basic and Composites will show up as section headers in Font view:

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 3/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, setting the sortName attribute of jdotless to j_ makes sure jdotless comes right after j instead of after jcircumflex:

<glyph unicode="0237" name="jdotless" sortName="j_" category="Letter" case="lower" script="latin" production="uni0237" altNames="dotlessj" description="LATIN SMALL LETTER DOTLESS J" anchors="top, bottom@descender" marks="dotaccentcomb, circumflexcomb" />

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

Update 2020-07-29: correction of the word complement.
Update 2022-07-25: updated title, related articles, minor formatting.
Update 2023-01-11: updates for Glyphs 3, minor formatting, new screenshots, added glyphOrder section headers, GlyphData tutorial.