Alternating Glyph Shapes with Multiple Axes

  • by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
  • Tutorial
  • – Modified on

If you have multiple axes, or if you prefer to keep your oversight in the Font tab and find the Bracket Trick too confusing, then it’s a good idea to create separate glyphs for alternative glyph shapes. For example, for the glyphs dollar and cent, you create alternate glyphs named dollar.bold and cent.bold. In order to make Glyphs switch to the bold version for certain weights, follow these steps:

  1. Create dollar.boldand cent.bold as non-exporting glyphs: after creation, select them in the Font tab, and uncheck its Exports option. You can find this option either in the context menu (right click), or in the glyph info displayed in the bottom left of the window.
  2. Open File > Font Info (Cmd-I), and go to Instances.
  3. On the left side, select one instance you want the bold shape to appear in. (We will take care of other instances in a minute.)
  4. Add a Custom Parameter by clicking on the Plus button on top of the Custom Parameters field. As Property, pick Rename Glyphs.
  5. Double click on the Value, and on each line you put a replacement pattern of the structure backupglyphname=targetglyphname, i.e., in our case: dollar.bold=dollar and cent.bold=cent. Click OK when you are finished.
  6. To copy the parameter to other instances, first select the Custom Parameter line you just created, and press Cmd-C to copy it to the clipboard. Then, in the left sidebar, select all instances that should have the same parameter (either by Shift- or Cmd-clicking), which, in our case, are all bold weights. Then, click inside the now empty Custom Parameters area, and paste (Cmd-V). To check if everything worked, only one instance must be selected.

Now export your font family. Glyphs will automatically replace the shapes in the bolder weights. Hurrah!

Tip: Do not add a Remove Glyphs parameter, because this will disable the glyph, and no dollar or cent will be in your final font file at all.


Sample Font: Henriette, courtesy of Typejockeys.

Update 2015-04-28: Updated the tutorial. No more need to Remove Glyphs.