Developing fonts > Tools & SDKs > VOLT
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:
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
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:
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.
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 numeralsintro | start | ligatures | small caps | numerals | case | compiling | InDesign
Last updated 19 August 2000.
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