Small Caps

I’m a law student, and I’d love to start using Scrivener for some of my larger legal writing projects. There is one thing that might hold me back, however, and that’s the ability to use small caps. I have to comply with the Bluebook ( system of citation, which means I need the ability to use small caps in footnotes in my writing. Is there a way to use small caps in Scrivener? If so, will they survive export to Word?

Any help that you could offer would be much appreciated. I’d love to get to work with this app!


I don’t have an answer for you, but surely someone does.

Yeah, I was hoping somebody would grab this because my answer would be to examine the behaviour of the other font variants in the OS X text engine, and I don’t know if that is the right thing to look at.

Ruminations to myself aside, I would be inclined to say that “Small caps” fall under the domain of font variants. OS X is pretty strict about only applying variants where there is full font support for it. A common example that many come across is the popular default Lucida Grande not shipping with an italic variant. This causes many people to think that something is broken with italics in X application, when in fact it is simply due to Apple not providing an italic variant for the font. Since there is no variant, you cannot make italic text in any OS X engine based application using that font.

I would imagine that small caps are a similar problem. The font would need to have a proper small cap implementation installed on the system. I could be, however, completely wrong about this. It might be that small caps are never a font variant and this is purely a function of the word processor. Either way, Scrivener is going to be a bit tied down by the fact that the underlying OS X text engine doesn’t support it.

I think small caps was traditionally a font variant, and as such, true small caps were usually only available in certain fonts. With the advent of UTF8 and UTF16, font designers have been able to include them in the equivalent font variant as they have different code-points from their full-size equivalent non-upper-case glyphs. Fonts which I’m pretty sure have small caps included are the Adobe X-Pro fonts, like Adobe Caslon/Garamond/Jenson-Pro, as do Minion-Pro and I think Myriad-Pro.
On the other hand, some word-processors, of which Nisus Writer Pro is a good example, can create them on the fly. In fact the Nisus guys have hacked into this same Apple Text Engine to such an extent that they give you two options under different menus, “Convert to …” and “Display as …”. Someone on the Nisus forum was getting caught on one of the latter options, because their text, to which they had applied “Display as Capitalised”, was right when looked at in Nisus but lost its upper cases when opened in another app; they hadn’t found the “Convert to …” options under the other menu.
All of that said, I’m not sure how you would apply small caps in a font that has them from within Scrivener, as they are no longer a separate font variant and so don’t appear on the fonts listing.
I could spend some time with Linotype Font-Explorer X checking out all my fonts, but as I don’t really have a need for small caps in Scrivener, and where I do need them occasionally, I’m using one of those fonts in NWP or InDesign …
[Edited out howlers!]

The OS X Text System can’t fake small caps like Word or Pages, but if your font is of the OpenType or AAT variant that has true small caps in it, you can select them in Apple’s font dialog (CMD-T):

There are two caveats – the whole procedure is totally impractical to use and, once you leave the OS X Text System, your small caps are gone (Pages, Textedit and Nisus Writer Pro should work, but Mellel and Word are a no-no). :cry:

Yes, small caps are usually font variants and unfortunately OS X doesn’t provide them out of the box. Word provides its own font variants (I believe), and as Mark says, the Nisus guys have done an amazing job and pretty much building their own text engine over the top of the existing OS X one, adding almost everything missing for a fully-fledged word processor. I’m slowly adding to the text engine myself (although I’ll certainly never reach the lofty heights of Nisus!), but I’m afraid there is no way to do small caps for all fonts at the moment.

What you can do is just use a font that supports small caps. For instance, these fonts do:
• Arno Pro
• Big Caslon
• Bodoni (one of them anyway)
• Calibri (a font that comes with Word 2008)
• Cambria (another font that comes with Word 2008)
• Candara
• Chaparral Pro
• Constantia
• Corbel
• Didot
• Garamond Premier Pro
• Hoefler Text
• Meiryo
• Minion Pro

In all cases, to turn on small caps, you have to bring up the Font panel (cmd-T), then click on the gear button at the bottom of the font panel and select “Typography…”. That brings up the Typography panel. For fonts that support small caps (such as those above), there will be a section in the Typography panel for “Letter Case”, which when opened allows you to check a “Small caps” button.

All the best,

P.S. And as I’ve written all of that, signinstranger has beaten me to it. :slight_smile:

If the ultimate aim is to produce text with small caps in Word, it would be best to use bold or underlined text (i.e. some font variation that you don’t otherwise use) in Scrivener and then convert that in Word with Find and Replace or a macro.
Word doesn’t do proper OpenType small caps, and doesn’t recognise them on import, so, nice as they may be, there’s no point in messing with the advanced typography options in the OS X text system if you are going to have to use Word’s faked small caps in the end.