New Features in Glyphs 2.0

by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer

19 April 2015

Glyphs 2.0 is out in the wild and available for purchase. Here are some of the hundreds of improvements and new features.

Watch the Video

First, if you haven’t done so yet, take a look at the revamped Get Started page and watch the three-minute What’s New video.

Color Fonts

No need to stay monochromatic! Color your fonts in three possible ways, and they are all documented in tutorials: So go ahead, and make your Apple-style Emoji font, Microsoft-style COLR/CPAL font, or a classic Layer Font for DTP apps like Adobe InDesign.


Exporting webfonts in Glyphs 2.0

No more uploading your fonts to a third-party webservice: Now, you can export webfonts directly from Glyphs! In the Export Dialog, simply pick Webfonts and choose the options you want. Glyphs currently supports WOFF, WOFF2 and EOT. For the WOFF formats, you can choose if you prefer PostScript CFF curves or make the conversion to TrueType curves. And you can add autohinting as well, even for TT-based webfonts.


TT hinting a lowercase e

Speaking of which, TTF Autohint is built into Glyphs. You can access its options through a custom parameter in your instances.

And if autohinting does not cut it for you, you can use the new TrueType tool (shortcut I) to manually TT-hint your glyphs. It allows you to embed TrueType instructions directly on the PS curves you draw, even on nodes in overlaps. On overlap removal and vector conversion, the instructions are intelligently moved to the nearest node.

In the custom parameters, you will find many more options for fine-tuning your TrueType export. In the instances, you can set and edit the GASP table, define your maximum curve deviance for the conversion. In the masters, you can define your TTF stems.

Better Diacritics

Glyph Info window showing combing marks in diacritics compositions

Glyphs 2.0 has received many updates to the built-in default glyph database. It sports many improved decompositions, such as the Polish lslash, which is now composed of a lowercase l and a slashshortoverlaycomb, connected via center anchors. On the other hand, we removed suggestive decompositions, like A and E components for AE. Thus, you can now safely build components, and avoid accidental overwrites.

Now, top and bottom anchors are added in all Latin base letters by default. Plus, combining (non-spacing) marks are now the default for composing Latin diacritics, i.e., eacute is composed of e and acutecomb. These two improvements together enable mark-to-mark (mkmk) and mark-to-base (mark) attachment out of the box. Read more about it in this tutorial about Mark Attachment.

Oh, and the Glyph Info window has been reworked. You can select and add multiple glyphs at once. Even non-contiguous selections are possible by Cmd-clicking several entries.

Third Axis and Brace Layers

Brace Layer: intermediate master for the lowercase e.

The Multiple Master functionality has been greatly improved. For one thing, you can now have a third interpolation axis, and unleash your wildest Multiple Master constructions! Many thanks to Tim Ahrens for contributing code for that new feature.

Then, you can have Glyphs display all interpolations of the current glyph in the Preview area at the bottom f the Edit View. So now, you can immediately see the effect of a vector manipulation in all fonts of your family.

And thirdly, you can now insert an intermediate master for individual glyphs with a so-called Brace Layer. There already is a tutorial about this Brace Trick.

Smart Components

Smart Components in Noto Sans Tibetan by Toshi Omagari, commissioned by Google, Inc.

One of the coolest new features are Smart Components. You can set up a Smart Glyph with a couple of interpolatable layers, define properties, assign them to the various layers. If you place such a Smart Glyph as component in another glyph, you interpolate that component between the variations you have set up. This is a godsend for CJK and Brahmic fonts. You will find detailed step-by-step instructions in the Smart Components tutorial.

Corner and Cap Components

Cap Components in Felix Ebneter’s upcoming Draft19 New Roman.

You can inject a partial outline, like a serif, into a path corner by selecting a corner node, and choosing Add Corner Component from the contextual menu. Corner components must be called _corner, followed by a dot suffix, be drawn around the origin point, have open path ends, and the same path direction as the receiving paths. Then you can select a corner node in an outline, and select Add Corner Component… from its context menu. In the following dialog, you simply select which of the _corner glyphs in your font you want to inject into the path at the corner.

Similarly, Cap Components require _cap glyphs with an open path at the origin point, its ends sticking over the baseline. This time, though, you add it on two adjacent on-curve nodes. For best results, this works best with fixed widths of stems. Tutorials will follow.

Improved Non-Latin Support

Many small and big improvements have been made in Non-Latin support. Thanks to our user feedback, we were able to implement a lot of significant improvements to the built-in XML glyph database. Especially Arabic and Brahmic scripts profit from this.

To name just one example, Glyphs can auto-produce most OpenType features for Devanagari, including the complex pre-base feature (pres). That includes the iMatra substitutions, if you have many iMatra-deva length variants with numbered dot suffixes in your font. This saves days of work for designers who want to make an Indic font.

iMatra variations in Vesper by Mota Italic

And as you know, the Latin-centric metric display does not make sense for all other scripts. So, we have introduced a shoulderHeight custom parameter for your masters that replaces the x-height in Arabic and Indic scripts. And for CJK, Glyphs now displays insets instead of metric lines. You can control them with CJK Guide master parameters. And CJK glyphs are now generated with the UPM as their default width.

Many Subtle Improvements

But what really will make a difference in your daily work routine, are the many little details that changed. They may not be as sensational and headline-worthy as the things discussed above, but they will make your type design work more fun, we are sure.

New path display in Glyphs 2.0

There is much better vector display. Open paths now indicate their direction, which is important for Corner Components. And, the difference between corner and curve points is now marked by their shape as well, not only their color.

The Palette is now a sidebar that slides in whenever you need it. Toggle its display with the button in the top right of the window, or with its familiar shortcut, Cmd-Opt-P. Ooh, and while we are at it: Have you noticed the Boolean operations buttons in the Transform Palette?

A nice side effect of installing Glyphs on your machine: there is QuickLook for EOT, WOFF and WOFF2 available throughout the OS. So you can take a quick peek into your webfonts right in Finder.

Many improvements with glyph handling: Have you seen how the Add Glyphs dialog adapts to your content? You can add glyph ranges by entering something like glyphname1:glyphname2 or even character1:character2, i.e., two glyph names or characters separated by a colon, and Glyphs will generate the whole Unicode range between them. And: The Add Glyphs command now only adds glyphs that are not in the font yet. What’s more, new glyphs that start with an underscore are set to not export by default. And renaming glyphs now also renames their mentions in Metric Keys.

We have talked a lot about TT hinting, but there is a significant improvement in CFF (PostScript) hinting as well: Glyphs now supports Hint Replacement! And the best thing is, it is completely automatic. Whenever it finds overlapping PS hints, it will automatically insert the correct Hint Replacements. It’s that easy.

More Documentation Coming

As you can imagine, updating a software is a big undertaking. Updating all its documentation is another big undertaking. Not all tutorials are up to par yet, but they are being updated one by one in the coming weeks. So, keep an eye on the Tutorials section of the website.

Likewise, the updated handbook should be out soon, too. We will announce it in this blog here, as well as via Twitter and Facebook.

In the meantime, feel free to explore the change log of the 2.0 release.

But now, have fun exploring the new features and UI of Glyphs 2.0!