I have around 800 fonts on my computer, I’m not sure how I got that many but like other fontaholics I have downloaded many free fonts over the years as well as purchased various font bundles and before you know it……well there’s 800!
Updated: Just adding that this applies to Windows. For Macs please see my reply to a reader comment below.
When I design with text in Silhouette Studio, I like to use a free program called Nexus Font. I know you’re probably saying “ho hum” I’ve heard of that! You may even have it installed already. It’s really handy to compare the look of the different fonts – you just type in a phrase and it shows a preview in each font installed on your computer. It’s quick and easy to scroll through them to compare and choose the one you like best for your project.
But it’s actually another feature that I recently discovered in Nexus Font that I want to share today. The Character map option within Nexus. It’s specifically helpful for the fonts that have extras with them, such as swashes or glyphs, ligatures or additional decorative letters – you know them – they’re the one’s with the curly bits at the beginning or end of a word.
The usual way of accessing Extras in Character Map
In the bad old days these extra features of a font were only accessible via a high end program like Illustrator or Photoshop. More recently, many font designers are making extras available via the Character Map program. To access them: the steps are:
Open Character Map (do a search if you can’t find it on your computer) > Advanced View > Character Set: Unicode > Group by: Unicode Subrange > In the pop up box: Unicode Subrange: scroll down and select Private Use Character. > Click on a character for preview and Copy and paste into your project. (In Silhouette Studio ensure the Text tool is set to the appropriate font for it to show up properly) Here’s an example in Mulberry Script.
Notice above that when you click on the preview it magnifies it ….but not very much at all.
The better way of accessing Extras in Character Map
If you have Nexus font installed you can access a character map within the program instead – here’s how:
Click the Private Use Area and the characters will show. Select a character and a preview will come up on the right. Big enough to see and nice and clear.
Then it’s a matter of highlighting and copying and pasting into the program you are using to create your Text masterpieces. Once in the program you may have to change the characters to the appropriate font to get them to show correctly.
Here’s a comparison of the two Character Maps previews side by side. I know which one I prefer to use 😉
See the difference below that private use Characters can make to your Text Designs.
Note that not all fonts have extra characters available in the Private Use area of the Character map but this is an easy way to check in case they do!
I’ve use the Font Mulberry Script in this “How to” and the examples. While it is a paid font, you can download a free personal use demo version too.
I hope you’ve found this Character Map Tip useful. If so, I’d love if you shared this 🙂