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Create accents, symbols & punctuation
Create accents, symbols & punctuation

Extending the character set of your fonts

Franz avatar
Written by Franz
Updated over a week ago

With Fontself you can associate any shape to any Unicode character:

  • Accented characters like à È ñ å

  • Additional characters like ø ß ş

  • Non-Latin characters like Ω β Д б 

  • Symbols like € √ ☞

  • Bullets & Arrows like ☑︎ • ⇒ ➽

  • Punctuation like ¡ ¿ or ❡

  • Quotation marks like " “ ”

  • Pictograms like ♛ ☯

  • Private Use Area (PUA) characters (i.e. for icon fonts)

  • Custom space character (read at the bottom for details)

Whether you want to make custom bullet points or an alien language, you're covered.

NOTE: while Fontself supports any Unicode character, it is optimized for Latin & Cyrillic, but not yet for non-Latin alphabets or left-to-right scripts (like modern Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, etc.) We hope to support these scripts in future updates.

Finding a specific character

When you don't know how to type a character that you'd like to create, use a tool like, Apple's Character Viewer (which does unfortunately not work from Adobe's apps), Windows' Character Map or any other (like UniCodeChecker) to search for characters by their name.

Making a single character

a) Use the Create Glyph button

  • Select your character's object in Illustrator, type (or copy/paste) the character you want in the text field Type any character and press Create Glyph

  • You're done.

b) Drag & drop

You can alternatively simply drag & drop your shape into Fontself and rename it by editing the text box below your glyph:

Making multiple characters 

There are 3 different ways to quickly create new glyphs:

1. Drag many shapes all at once

  • Align all the shapes you want to import on a single line.

  • Select them all and press the Batch button (or drag & drop them).

2. Smart Create 

You can import & automatically assign the name of many glyphs on one click. Just select them and enter the same amount of characters, separated by a comma, like: A,a,B,b  or $,€,¥ ‎ or Б,Д,Ж,И  or " “ ” or more sophisticated ffi.liga, f.alt2  to create ligatures and alternates):

3. Smart Batch

In Fontself v2.0 you can rely on the Smart Batch feature to automatically assign a character to each object you import. Simply rename each object in the Layers panel with the exact character key you want. Then import them, and boom, you're done!

Making characters from a Unicode value

To create a specific character, you can either enter its actual character - like ✔︎ - or its Unicode value with the prefix U+ - like U+FE0E  

Extra characters

By default, Fontself Maker automatically generates 7 extra Control glyphs for you:

  • .notdef 

  • NULL U+0000 

  • New Line U+000A 

  • Carriage Return U+000D 

  • Space U+0020

  • Non Breaking Space U+00A0 

  • Soft Hyphen U+00AD 

The Space character is the only one of these specific characters that is visible in the glyphs list and it has editable metrics, while all others are hidden and cannot be edited.

Custom space character

You can replace the ❝cruel emptiness❞ of the space glyph with your own custom shape by typing a space key   or naming the related object U+0020 in your Layers panel.

⚠️ This feature works fine in many apps and browsers but could not run properly in various apps. 

🐛 Also, Illustrator CC currently has a bug that prevents custom space glyphs to be rendered as expected when they are used within an OpenType-SVG color font. So please join us to ask Adobe to fix this bug (you can upvote in just 1 click :) 

Default characters & PUA

When you drop arbitrary shapes on the Fontself panel, they are automatically assigned with a unique character key that you can later change (they look like empty squares over an orange background). This ensures that you can access to any glyph you made from the Glyphs panel, as these characters are actually individual Unicodes from the Private Use Areas (PUA). 

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