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VOLT and InDesign Tutorial
Step 3 - Adding small caps

For features that process sets of multiple glyphs (such as small caps), VOLT provides the ability to create "glyph groups." Once glyph groups are constructed, they allow the VOLT user to perform certain tasks with more ease and speed. If a font designer is creating features to add to multiple fonts, glyph groups can be exported from one font to another, making it easier to add layout support to similar fonts. The same glyph groups can also be used by different layout features within a font another time saver.

Creating glyph groups

For a small caps substitution, we'll want to create two groups: one containing the lowercase letters (which will be substituted when small caps are turned on) and one containing the small capital letters (to be substituted in). To create the first group, click the 'Add Glyph Group' button in the bottom right-hand corner of the main VOLT window. Though the name need not be anything in particular, it helps to give the group a descriptive name. We'll call this group 'latin_lower_case_group'. Hit ENTER and then double-click on the new group you've created.

We can now specify the glyphs we'd like to include in the group in the editing window. Click in the first row of the 'Names' column and type the name of the first glyph to add in this case, lowercase 'a'. Hitting ENTER should make the 'a' appear in the adjacent 'Shapes' column. Continue in sequence, adding each lowercase letter (giving each glyph its own row in the group) until you've reached 'z'. Scrolling to the bottom, your window should look something like this:

Lowercase glyph group

Now that we've done the lowercase, we need to create the small caps glyph group. Repeat the steps above, but instead of adding lowercase letters, add your font's small caps in sequence (from 'A' to 'Z'). Call this group something like "small_caps_group".

Adding the 'smcp' feature and associated lookup

With our glyph groups in place, we now must create the small caps lookup feature (smcp) in VOLT. In the script/language pane, highlight the 'Default' language and click the 'Add Feature' button at the bottom of the VOLT window. Type in <smcp> and hit ENTER. VOLT should then label the feature 'Small Capitals'.

Next, in the 'Lookups' pane to the right, we add a new substitution feature by clicking the 'Add Substitution' button at the bottom of the window. Give this lookup a name like 'small_caps' and hit ENTER. Double-clicking on the new group will then bring up the editing window; this is where we tell VOLT to substitute the small caps group for the lowercase group. This is similar to how we did the 'fi' ligature substitution, with one important difference: glyph groups are named using angle brackets (< and >). So, in the 'From Glyphs -> To Glyphs' column, we type:

<latin_lower_case_group> -> <small_caps_group>

and hit ENTER. Your window should then look like this:

Small caps substitution

Now that the lookup is done, return to the main VOLT window. Highlight the 'small_caps' lookup we've created and drag it to the 'Small Capitals' feature in the scripts/languages pane. It should then appear as a branch under the 'Small Capitals' feature (see graphic below). The small caps substitution is now in place.

Linking the lookup to the feature

Lookup orderingNOTE: The vertical ordering of lookups in VOLT's 'Lookups' pane does affect the way the lookups execute in programs like InDesign. If a given lookup is higher up in the list than another, it will take precedence (you can change the order by clicking on a lookup and dragging it either up or down). This is important in fonts that have features that perform layout operations on the same glyphs. An example of this in our font is the small caps feature and the 'fi' ligature we'e created: both affect the lowercase letters 'f' and 'i'. So, it is important that the small caps feature we've created is above the ligature feature this way, InDesign will know that the small caps should supercede the ligatures and the 'fi' ligature will not appear in the small caps word with 'f' and 'i' next to each other.

Next section:Step 4 - Adding old style numerals

intro | start | ligatures | small caps | numerals | case | compiling | InDesign

Last updated 19 August 2000.

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