We are happy to announce today that we’ve rolled out Phase One of our enhanced custom sample text toolbar. The toolbar has been rebuilt from the ground up, and now includes some new user-friendly features to enhance your font browsing experience. Phase Two is
coming soon now live, which introduces OpenType feature support. Scroll down for more info.
Updated sample text and size menus
As always, you can enter your own custom sample text, and our font samples will quickly update with your specified text. We’ve also added the option to select one of a number of preset samples, including text set in German, Central European (in this case Polish), Cyrillic, and Greek.
Note: If a font does not contain support for these languages, placeholder glyphs from the font (or, in some cases, empty space) will instead appear. We’re working on making this clearer and prettier.
We’ve also updated our point size selection menu, which will now allow you to input a custom point size value in addition to selecting from predetermined sizes.
We’ve also added a color selector to the toolbar. When you click the icon, you are presented with two color wheels and hex inputs: one for foreground color, one for background color. To use the color wheel, first click in the square color selector to specify hue, saturation and lightness, then use the color wheel to fine-tune the hue. When colors have been selected, the toolbar icon will reflect the chosen fore- and background colors, respectively, just as you may be familiar with from other applications. You can collapse the color selectors by again clicking the icon in the toolbar, or
the Hide Colors button (this has been replaced by a Hide Controls bar below the expanded controls, which will collapse the expanded area) — your chosen colors will still persist from page to page after you’ve closed the menu.
After specifying custom text, point size, and/or colors, your samples will update automatically after a moment. We’ve beefed up our rendering service, so samples should update lightning-quick.
In the sample text toolbar on any page displaying font renders, you’ll now see a new gear icon. Upon clicking the gear, a control panel will be expanded, as seen above. This panel includes a predefined list of OpenType features most commonly included in OT fonts, as well as a few dropdown menus containing additional features that are grouped by relevancy. Note that on single font pages, like that of FF Chambers Sans OT Regular, features that are not included in the font will be grayed out and unselectable.
To view your sample text with an OpenType feature applied, simply select a checkbox or menu item. The rendered image will automatically update with your OT feature applied, if any applicable characters are present in the sample string. FF Chambers Sans OT Regular, for example, contains Swash caps alternates:
Please note that not every selectable OpenType feature will affect your rendered sample. Most OT features only affect a subset of characters within a font, and if they are not present in your sample string, no glyph replacement will take place. You can view which glyphs are included in each OpenType feature by clicking the Character Set tab on a single font page and selecting a feature from the list. You can also learn about each feature by hovering over the feature name.
Just as with the color selector, the OT feature controls can be collapsed using the Hide Controls button. Unlike the color selector, your selections will not be persistent when navigating through to other font pages, as each font will have differing available OT features.
Try out the new sample toolbar on any page you find samples. And stay tuned for future enhancements.