Which Are The OpenType Fonts Features in Microsoft Word?

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Definition of Ligature: a printed or written character (such as æ or ff) consisting of two or more letters or characters joined together.

Word contains many Font families and Font Styles. Apart from the basic Font Styles, it also includes some advanced Font Styles in Ligature Category. Ligatures contain different stylistic sets, number formats, number spacing styles that makes our Document look more artistic. In this post I will describe the OpenType Features that are available in Microsoft Word so we can experiment with.

Open Type Font Features in Microsoft Word

At the bottom right corner of the Font area of the ribbon, we select the arrow as shown in the image below. Here we are notified that we can Customize Out Text Using Advanced Font and Character Options To Give It The Exact Look We Want.

Font Area in Word

Once selected, the Font dialog box appears as shown in the image below. This dialog box is separated in two Tabs, the Font tab and the Advanced tab which we must select.

Advanced tab

In the image below, I have selected the Advanced tab. The Advanced tab is separated in the following three main areas: The Character Spacing, the OpenType Features and the Preview area. For this post, I will describe the OpenType Features.

Advanced tab

Ligatures: Is a nice way of describing letter combinations. They are coded into main Fonts and are usually a great feature to turn on. Almost every Font comes with standard Ligatures and they most have Ligatures built in. We can choose from the following Ligatures:

  • None
  • Standard Only
  • Standard and Contextual
  • Historical and Discretionary
  • All

OpenType Features - Ligatures

Number Spacing: If we work with a lot of numbers in a chart or a table, we should choose Tabular Number Spacing. Tabular numbers have the exact same width as one another so that they are lined up perfectly in a vertical column. Proportional Number Spacing are more visually pleasing, and we usually use them for phone numbers or dates. The Number Spacings that we can choose from are the following:

  • Default
  • Proportional
  • Tabular

OpenType Features - Number Spacing

Number Forms: Lining and Old-Style are two different ways of arranging numbers on a baseline. When we select Lining, our numbers will appear in a straight row, with the tops & bottoms of each number lining up exactly. When we select Old-Style, the numbers look a little more irregular. Some letters are below others and others even change shape. The Number Forms available that we can choose from are the following:

  • Default
  • Lining
  • Old-Style

OpenType Features - Number Forms

Stylistic Sets: Stylistic Sets contain more functions and are used sometimes as a way to get around certain limitations and the way it handles OpenType Code. Stylistic sets offer flourishes to the letter forms. From the drop-down menu we can select from the Default and the numbers between 1 and 20.

OpenType Featurs - Stylistics Sets

Use Contextual Alternates: When we activate the Use Contextual Alternates command, this feature tells the program to look for and to change combinations of specific letters. For example, when we will see identical letters in a pair the second letter will automatically change into an alternate form.

At the bottom of the Advanced tab, we have the Preview area, where we can see the results and how our Text will be displayed in our Document. Once we have finished, we just press the Ok button which is located at the bottom right corner of the Fonts dialog box.

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