OpenType Fonts an oldstyle figures

I’m thinking of buying an OpenType font package. I want to have “my” font to use it in all writing programs. More of a a flaw for beauty than a corporate design thing. One might call it plain crazy if one looks at my bank account.

But that aside, what I want most and don’t have it with the fonts that are on my machine (mostly PostScript and TrueType) are oldstyle figures (the direct translation from the German term would be “mediaval figures”, is that a typography term in English too?).

Now here’s my question: In a program like Mellel (and no doubt in applications like InDesign) you can set for OpenType fonts if you want to use oldstyle or standard (modern?) figures.

But what about other programs, like the ones that use the Apple TextEngine? If the OpenType font contains oldstyle figures, are they displayed as a default? And if not, is there a way to alter the setting for the figures, permanently and OS wide?

It would be really terrible if I spent some money on new fonts and didn’t get out of them what I want.

Any font expert in here?

Tiger and Leopard have partial support for OpenType features, and yes I am pretty sure oldstyle numerals are supported (yes, just verified with the font Big Caslon). You can get to those features using the gear menu at the bottom of the font selection palette. Also, potentially in the Text>Font>Character Shape menu.

This typography palette adjusts the font in use—not system wide or permanently. But, you might try playing with Styles and see if typography options are saved with styles. If so, then you could save it as “Default” and that would at least make it permanent in Scrivener.

I’ve had trouble in Tiger setting proportional oldstyle figures using the Cocoa text engine. It would let me choose proportional lining figures or monospaced oldstyle figures but not proportional and oldstyle at the same time. I just tried in on Leopard TextEdit with Minion Pro, and it seems to work fine, and I don’t know if it’s a general problem with Tiger or just something I was doing wrong, but something to watch out for.

Thanks for your postings.

Indeed Big Caslon has oldstyle figures (as has Georgia). But it has always oldstyle figures, not matter if the oldstyle figures box in the font setting is ticked or not. Maybe Big Caslon contains only oldstyle figures?

Then it would not be verified yet that an OpenType font that might contain both types of figures could be set to one of them just like that. It should be possible of course, if not, the option in the font palette would be meaningless.

The optimal solution would be that I could use both: oldstyle figures everywhere except for the note numbers. Well …

But the really weird part about my little oldstyle figure problem is this:

As we all know from numerous serial killer movies you crave for what you see. If a woman is missing and her mangled body is found later, at first check out the odd next door neighbour.

In my case no living being is missing or died – whether you consider that I am an odd guy is up to you :open_mouth:. I’m just looking at “my” font all the time (like that neighbour at his soon-to-be victim) because I own it in PostScript format.

Beside the four standard fonts I have additionally Italic Oldstyle Figures, Bold Oldstyle Figures, Bold Italic Oldstyle Figures, and the same even with Semibold and Extrabold. Much more fonts than I could afford in OpenType.

But one is missing – there is no Regular Oldstyle Figures. Instead of that there is one Regular All Caps & Old Style Figures font. When you’re just making a logo or something similar in a graphics program, this is all you need. But normal typing does not work with it.

I got the font package second hand and my first guess was that my font family was incomplete. I checked out the Linotype store and found a lot of PostScript font families with no Regular Oldstyle figures font. I don’t understand why that is. Anyway it means the cheapest way to get “my” font by buying just the one missing is a dead end.

It’s because few typefaces have bold or italic small caps. So they put the roman small caps and oldstyle figures in a single font, but for the italics and other weights, they just have an oldstyle variant.

When I used to use LaTeX, the software would automatically assemble the font I wanted, but I don’t think there’s any other software that can do that.

So yes, you need to buy an OpenType font. However, I just played around with it a bit, and Scrivener doesn’t seem to remember the default settings for figures (they keep popping back to No Change). Nor does TextEdit, so I expect it’s a Cocoa issue.

If you can find someone with FontLab or like, it’s fairly trivial to create a new unified face that would have old style numerals in place of the standard. There may be some free or shareware font editing tools out there that would do the same. Then you could actually name it MyFont. :slight_smile:

I had exactly the same idea about two years ago. Opentype, in fact, has not only old style figures, but also true small caps (which are not the fake smaller upper caps most programs render), and other extensions. Tiger and Leopard support Opentype’s extended sets, and, Scrivener has no problems at all with true small caps, old style figures and demi-bold attributes. The only program that has trouble with Opentype extended set is Pages (go figure).

Here is a link to a typography forum page which ends with an entry explaining how you can get both titling and old-style figures in Pages.

Thank you. Yes, I have been using that panel since Pages 1.0 was released, and it used to work very well. But in Pages 3.0 something got broken, and the behavior of the text rendering engine is erratic–sometimes you get old numerals and true small caps, other times you don’t. I haven’t figured out the logic, or the lack of, quite yet.

I’m about to buy the OpenType fonts mentioned above.

But now there is a new problem at the horizon – or maybe I just think there is.

At the moment I’m writing most of my texts in Bembo, PostScript versions.

I want to replace them by Bembo OpenType version.

What will happen if I install OpenType fonts with the same name as the PostScript fonts? Is that possible?

And if it isn’t, what will happen if I de-install the PostScript fonts at first and then install the OpenType fonts? Will all programs take them as the same and replace the PS ones just like that? Or will the old fonts be detected as missing and because of that be replaced by some other font (most common would be Lucida Grande)?

And if so, will italics and bold get flattened? This is my biggest fear – to get flattened fonts.

What is the right way to correctly replace font families in many, many documents generated by different programs?

Any ideas?

Confirmed. Sigh.

A few bits that may or may not help…
I have a wide range of fonts, mostly Adobe, installed, most Type 1 PostScript, but probably over 100 OpenType fonts as well. None have the same name. For example, I have Minion as a Type 1, but there’s Minion Pro in OpenType.
Of course, there are almost surely some fonts out there with the same OpenType and PostScript Type 1 names. While I haven’t had to deal with such things in years, I think the operating system handles fonts by resource IDs that change even when the file or font name is the same.
If you change the font in a whole document, ya, you’d probably flatten the lot to your selected face, ie. Regular or Semibold Oblique or whatever. Best way around this would be, before making the change, use Search/Replace to change the specific instances of Bold, or Italic, or whatever to a unique Character Style in a program that allows that, then simply rework the styles to your new face.