Type News

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 Introduces Glyphs Panel

June 19, 2015 by
Yves Peters
Yves Peters

The efforts of the #AdobeTypeUI movement and the Adobe Typography Customer Advisory Board are starting to bear fruit. Monday’s announcement of the new Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 release introduces the long-awaited Glyphs panel.

One of the first things we were shown at the initial Adobe Typography Customer Advisory Board meeting in New York was an early prototype for the Glyphs panel in Photoshop. This feature was quickly identified as one of the priorities, as users had been clamouring for it for a long time. Basically it is the same panel users have been accustomed to in Illustrator and InDesign since over a decade.

The Glyphs panel in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 showing the otherwise inaccessible icons and dingbats in [Frank Grießhammer](/designers/frank-griesshammer)'s [FF Quixo](/families/ff-quixo)™ typeface.
The Glyphs panel in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 showing the otherwise inaccessible icons and dingbats in Frank Grießhammer's FF Quixo™ typeface.

The Glyphs panel gives a visual overview of the entire character set in any active font. It is indispensable for contemporary OpenType fonts as they can have several hundreds, some even thousands of characters. Only a fraction can be accessed through the keyboard – even when using the option and shift key in all the possible permutations not even 200 different characters can be input with key strokes.

The fly-out panel allows you to choose between all the available alternatives for the capital Q in [LiebeDoris](/families/liebedoris).
The fly-out panel allows you to choose between all the available alternatives for the capital Q in LiebeDoris.

Thanks to the new Glyphs panel the [LiebeDoris](/families/liebedoris) word images can now be accessed in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.
Thanks to the new Glyphs panel the LiebeDoris word images can now be accessed in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.

All these formerly inaccessible glyphs can now be selected with a simple – well, double – click of the mouse. To facilitate locating specific glyphs a drop-down menu allows the user to only show specific subsets of the available glyphs – for example Discretionary Ligatures, or Superscripts & Subscripts, or Cyrillic, or Math Symbols. Variant shapes of certain characters like small caps, swash characters, contextual alternates and so on (if available) can be found under the little triangular arrow at the bottom right of the relevant glyph box.

Select the desired subset in the drop-down menu to find specific glyphs easier.
Select the desired subset in the drop-down menu to find specific glyphs easier.

Here the Glyphs panel only shows the Standard Ligatures in [DSType](/foundries/dstype)’s [Mafra Display](/families/mafra-display), part of the [Mafra super family](/superfamilies/mafra).
Here the Glyphs panel only shows the Standard Ligatures in DSType’s Mafra Display, part of the Mafra super family.

Sadly the Photoshop development team couldn’t yet include the possibility to arrange the panel by Glyph ID versus Unicode sorting order, nor are there any other options for making custom subsets. To those who argue these options are available in InDesign: one mustn’t forget all Creative Cloud apps originated from different people and code. Achieving consistency throughout all of them is a tad more complicated than simply flipping a switch. Stephen Nielson, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop, confirmed this is on the list; they just didn’t get to it for this release. It will be included with the many other improvements that are coming.

The Glyphs panel in InDesign allows the user to arrange it by Glyph ID versus Unicode sorting order, and also to create custom sets. These capabilities – together with many other improvements to the typographic interface – will be added in upcoming releases of Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.
The Glyphs panel in InDesign allows the user to arrange it by Glyph ID versus Unicode sorting order, and also to create custom sets. These capabilities – together with many other improvements to the typographic interface – will be added in upcoming releases of Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.

Of course the Glyphs panel is but a stopgap solution, the digital equivalent of the type case of old, meaning type users have to adopt the working method of Gutenberg’s time over half a millennium ago. Computers should be able to do better than that and offer a smarter way to wrangle feature-rich OpenType fonts. This is exactly what we are addressing now with the Customer Advisory Board. The Glyphs panel is but the first step. I cannot wait to see the other improvements of the typographic interface being developed and implemented.

Header image | Complete character set of Bookmania
Trademark attribution notice
Quixo is a trademark of Monotype GmbH and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. FF is a trademark of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.