Tag Archives: picking scripts

Buyer’s Guide: Picking script fonts for non-design programs

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A couple weeks ago, we talked about picking scripts for design programs. This week, we’ll discuss picking the right swashy font for those who will be using them in programs like Microsoft Office or iWorks applications.

Picking scripts for non-design programs gets a little bit tricky. Microsoft Office does not handle OpenType features well — these OpenType features include the beautiful stylistic or contextual alternates available in some script typefaces that you might want to use and are discussed in our Using Type: Contextual Alternates, Ligatures post. Don’t worry: there are script fonts that are made to work in Word or Pages, if that’s what you’ll be designing your invitations or printing your envelopes from.

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For example, let’s take Feel Script and Mahogany Script. Feel Script is beautiful and a quite popular typeface for wedding collateral. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well in Microsoft Office or Pages. If you take a look at the Character Set for Feel Script, you’ll see that this one font alone has over 1,000 glyphs:

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On the product page for Feel Script, you can view all the glyphs in the character set as well as see how many glyphs total there are. If a script font has over 1,000 glyphs, it’s safe to say that it won’t work as well in Microsoft Office or Pages. Many of the basic glyphs (such as the default uppercase and lowercase letters and default numeral set) would work in non-design programs, but if you had your eye on a beautiful curve in the Stylistic or Contextual Alternates, you’re likely to be disappointed that you can’t use or access them. Pages may be able to access some Stylistic Alternates, but it’s not guaranteed. Instead, Mahogany Script is a good alternative solution.

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Bickham Script Pro is another popular wedding typeface that does not work well in Microsoft Office programs. Fortunately, there are a lot of alternatives to use, like Helinda Rook. Let’s take a look at Helinda’s character set:

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Compared to a more complex font like Feel Script, you’ll notice that there are no Stylistic or Contextual Alternates listed and the total number of glyphs is pretty small. It’s safe to assume that a script font that has about 200 to 300 total glyphs will work just fine in Word or Pages, especially if there are no Alternates listed. You might also find that some of these fonts with smaller character sets are listed as “PC TrueType” format fonts — do note that PC TrueType fonts do work on Macs!

Also, some fonts that are usable on Word or Pages do have Alternates, but the Alternates are treated differently:

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For example, here’s Sloop. If you do want to use a font with Stylistic Alternates, some fonts are divided into separate font files. Here, you’ll see “Sloop Script One”, “Two”, and “Three”. At a glance, they all look similar, but you’ll notice that some letters have more swashes to them. Instead of treating these swashy alternates as OpenType features, they are offered as separate font files for those who use programs that can’t access OpenType features — you’ll need to install all three font files to access the alternates.

Stay tuned this week for our Using Type post on Thursday which will address accessing OpenType features in programs such as Pages or Word.

If you’re still having trouble choosing a font or something similar to a font you can’t use in Word or Pages, don’t hesitate to contact our Sales & Support team — we’ll help you find the right font for your needs!

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