How to access OpenType features in Photoshop

How to Access OpenType Features in Photoshop

Photoshop has solid OpenType support, if not quite as extensive as Illustrator or Indesign. Accessing it is pretty simple.

First, open your character panel, head to type>panels>character panel. From there you can make your selection. We’ll be going through them in order.

Standard ligatures - These are seen in most fonts, like ff ligatures.

Contextual alternates - used to connect letters together, like “in.”

Discretionary ligatures - less used ligatures, more for added style rather than overall coherence, like st ligatures shown in the example, commonly seen in old-school serif fonts. They’re also used to connect characters, especially in script fonts.

Swashes - These are flourishes used to add some spice to letterforms, often at the beginning or end of words, especially in script fonts.

Stylistic Alts - for changing the form of an entire font, often with a double to a single story “a”, or switching out the overall look of most vowels in scripts. They can be expanded out into multiple stylistic sets, but those aren’t supported in Photoshop currently.

Titling Alts - These add big swashes to a character or a change its x-height, making it stand out for titles.  You have a couple options for numerals, like ordinals for styling “1st” or “2nd” with superscript, and fractions which stack fractions properly.

That gets you through the basics of OpenType.  there’s also a “Smallcaps” button on the first row which will use OpenType characters when available or fake them if not.

For a look at what those changes do to a font, make sure you view our video above.


Updated on October 11, 2018