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Inspection and Copy&Paste for unencoded glyphs (MacOS)

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Typography.Guru's picture
Joined: 8 May 2003 - 2:39pm
Inspection and Copy&Paste for unencoded glyphs (MacOS)

Over at our German type forum people have been complaining about the missing support of unencoded glyphs in the character palette of OS X Lion.
From what I could gather:

In Mac OS 10.6 you can select certain typefaces and the character palette would show you all glyphs of that font, even the ones without a Unicode value. From there you could do copy&paste for these unencoded glyphs, at least to most Apple and Adobe apps.
In Mac OS 10.7 this option seems to be gone. (Couldn't check it myself, since I still wait for the FontLab Studio 5.1 update)

In Linotype’s old FontExplorer version 1.2.3 unencoded glyphs were also shown …

… but they are also missing in the recent version of FEX under the recent version of Mac OS.

So I am wondering:
Are there any good reasons for companies like Apple and Linotype to drop the support for unencoded glyphs? Sure, the GlyphIDs are not as reliable as a Unicode value, but if you know what you are doing and the apps you use support it, that’s a very helpful feature.
Even if it could just be used for inspecting the character set of modern OpenType fonts with all their alternate characters.

And what I am most interested in: Are there alternative character palette tools for Mac OS that support unencoded glyphs?
Of course the Glyph Palettes in InDesign and Illustrator are good at that, but I can't really recommend people to purchase InDesign just to check the glyph support of their fonts)

Tom Gewecke's picture
Joined: 4 May 2008 - 8:54am

Yes, for some reason in Lion Apple deleted the View=Glyph function which has been part of Character Viewer for years now, and that is inconvenient for a lot of people. I have not seen any explanation for it and have recommended everyone file feedback requests to have it put back.


Another previous feature left out is the ability to identify a character selected in a text.

As an alternative you could try PopChar. I have not done so myself and am not sure whether it will show everything in a given font or not.