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Free, macOS 10.11+

With EditGlyphData you can manage GlyphData XMLs.

GlyphData XMLs define the database Glyphs.app uses for information about its glyphs.

How to use EditGlyphData


Open EditGlyphData > Preferences and enable Automatically check for updates to keep your app installation up to date. The app will periodically compare its version with the one provided on the Glyphs servers. You can force the update check by clicking on Check Now or choosing EditGlyphData > Check for Updates…

Managing GlyphData files

You can open an existing GlyphData.xml with File > Open… (Cmd-O) or create a new file with File > New… (Cmd-N). Choose File > Save to save your XML file.

Instead of XML, Glyphs can also open and save glyph data as tabbed text. This allows editing in spreadsheet apps like Excel or Numbers. To save your glyph data as tabbed text, choose File > Save as… and in the upcoming dialog, pick Tabbed Text from the File Format menu.

To use you data for working in Glyphs, it must be saved as GlyphData.xml in one of the following specific places:

  • To make it available globally (i.e., in all the Glyphs files you are working in), put it in ~/Library/Application Support/Glyphs 3/Info/ and restart Glyphs.
  • If you only need it for a limited number of Glyphs files, you can keep a custom GlyphData.xml in the same folder as your .glyphs file, in an Info subfolder next to your .glyphs file, or in the parent folder above the .glyphs file. This way, multiple .glyphs files can share the same GlyphData.xml. When you pass on the .glyphs file to a third party, make sure the XML file travels along.

Important: a GlyphData file does not need to be comprehensive. The built-in GlyphData file will serve as a fallback for any glyphs not defined in your file.

Managing glyph entries

To add a new glyph entry, press the plus button in the lower left corner, and proceed to enter the respective data in the fields (see below, Entering Data). To remove one ore more glyph entries, select them in the left sidebar, click on the minus button in the lower left corner of the window, and confirm the following dialog.

You can filter available glyph entries by using the search field. The selection of glyphs is narrowed down while you are typing. Click the magnifying lens for additional search options.

Entering data

Fill in all required fields, and as many of the optional entries as possible:

  • Unicode: the optional Unicode value of the glyph, in hexadecimal UTF-16 format. The arrow button next to it opens the Unicode value in UnicodeChecker.
  • Name: the name of the glyph as displayed in the Glyphs UI, should adhere to the glyph naming convention. Required.
  • sortName: Used for sorting in Font view. Mostly interesting if it makes sense to override sorting by Unicode or alphabetical. Optional.
  • Category: the optional category or group of the glyph, e.g., Letter, Symbol or Figure. If you invent your own category, stick to title case in order to follow the convention.
  • Subcategory: the optional Subcategory, such as Lowercase or Currency. Inventing your own subcategory? Stick to title case if you want to follow the convention.
  • Case: Any of N/A (default), Upper, Lower, Small Caps (these three make sense for casefolding scripts only), or Minor (small figures, superiors, inferiors, sub- and superscripts, and the like).
  • Script: the optional script the glyph will be associated with. Lowercase by convention. E.g., latin or arabic.
  • Description: The Unicode-style description of the character the glyph is associated with. Usually all-caps.
  • Decompose: the glyph names of the components, only if the glyph is a composite glyph. For accented letters, enter the base letter first, then all (combining) marks, separated by commas.
  • Anchors: names of all anchors in the glyph, typically as top, bottom, center, topright, topleft, ogonek. Force default positions with a top@Ascender. Optional.
  • Production: production name of the glyph as it appears in the exported OTF, i.e., the name the glyph will be converted to at export time. The update button tries to make a guess, usually in the uniXXXX format (i.e., uni and the 4-digit UTF16 hex code, or u and the 5-digit UTF16 hex code).
  • Alt Names: optional alternate (legacy) names that Glyphs associates with the glyph. Comma-separated. Glyphs will be able to convert these to the supplied name of the glyph when opening a font or when Glyph > Update Glyph Info is invoked by the user.
  • Marks: comma-separated list of glyph names for accents that typically combine with the glyph. Will be used for the display of the mark cloud. Optional.

Batch editing is possible, too: select multiple glyphs in the left sidebar, and proceed to enter values in the respective fields.

Learn more about the structure of a GlyphData.xml file.

Comparing and syncing multiple GlyphData XML files

Open multiple XMLs, then choose Window > Compare. In the window that appears, you will see two columns, each representing a GlyphData XML. At the top of each column, choose any of the currently open XML files from the respective popup menu.

Then, in the top of the window, choose:

  • Missing in Left: view glyph entries missing in the XML file displayed on the left,
  • Missing in Right: view glyph entries missing in the XML file displayed on the right,
  • Different: view glyph entries present in both XMLs, but with different content.

The respective glyphs will be listed in the left side bar. For the listing you can choose to display:

  • Name: the glyph names of the entries,
  • Unicode: the Unicode values associated with the glyph entries,
  • Production: the production names of the glyph entries, i.e., the names as they will be stored in the exported OpenType binary.

Choose a glyph in the left side bar, and a comparison of the two entries will be displayed in the two columns. Clicking the < and > buttons will copy the glyph info from the right side into the left side and vice versa.

Known issues

If a window does not open after choosing the respective menu command or a window becomes unresponsive, try restarting the app. If the issue persists, delete ~/Library/Preferences/com.GeorgSeifert.EditGlyphData.plist and restart the app again. If that does not help, delete the ~/Library/Caches/com.GeorgSeifert.EditGlyphData folder and restart again.

Under some circumstances, checkmarks appear next to certain menu items. The issue appears to be purely cosmetic. The commands works as described.

Installation and requirements

EditGlyphData runs on any Mac with macOS 10.11 or later. To install it, simply download and unzip the app, and move it to the Applications folder.