You want to make tabular and proportional, old-style and lining figures? You’ll be amazed at how simple it is!
Creating default figures
First, whatever else you may plan to put into your font, you need to decide what your default set of figures should look like. In any event, their glyph names are simply:
zero one two three four five six seven eight nine
It does not matter whether your default numerals are tabular or proportional, lining or old-style. You don’t need to type them in, just open the Number category in the sidebar of the Font tab, right-click on Decimal Digit, and generate the missing digits.
Also, you don’t need to tell Glyphs what they are, because the app applies some heuristics to find out: First, it measures the height of your
eight and your
zero, and if the
zero is more than 17 percent smaller than
eight, the default figures are deemed old-style by the app. Likewise, if the width difference of all default figures exceeds one unit, they are considered proportional. This is important if you want to add additional figure styles.
Creating the rest
Now that you have your default figures, you can do the other three kinds of figures. They have the same names, except for their dot suffixes:
.tf: tabular lining
.tosf: tabular old-style
.lf: proportional lining
.osf: proportional old-style
Since you have one of them already covered by your default figures, all you need to do is create one, two, or all of the other three.
Another cool trick: By default, figure components are not automatically aligned. This allows to easily re-use proportional figures for tabular figures and vice versa. You can quickly build alternative figures with components by choosing Glyph > Add Glyphs and entering something in the line of:
zero=zero.tf one=one.tf two=two.tf
… and so on. This example will create
zero.tf and inserts a
zero component into it. Same thing with
one, etc., you get the idea. Keep going until you have four styles, one of them being the default:
All you need to do now, is go into File > Font Info > Features and click the Update button in the lower left corner of the window. And Boom! Based on the heuristics described above, Glyphs can auto-generate the numeral features,
Now your user can choose between different figure styles. Cool!
SAMPLE FONT: MARTHA, COURTESY OF LISA SCHULTZ.
Update 2020-03-25: changed title.
Update 2020-03-30: changed the name of the button Refresh to Update.
Update 2022-07-29: updated title, related articles, minor formatting.