Word 2010: Spiffy ligatures and stylistic sets

August 9, 2011

Here’s something that moves Word 2010 from being ‘just a Word processor’ into a different typographic realm — ligatures and stylistic sets for fonts.

At the moment, not many of the Open Type fonts have stylistic sets associated with them, but now that they can be displayed in Word 2010 (NOT the earlier versions), I expect the number of font sets with these extra features will increase.

So what am I taking about?

Well, ligatures are the little bits that connect letters such as ‘f’ and ‘i’ in a word like ‘fill’, and stylistic sets offer flourishes to the letter forms. Take a look at the screen shot below:

How did I achieve this? In word 2010, I set the font of the line to Gabriola (Gabriola is one of the few Open Type fonts provided by Microsoft that comes with various stylistic sets at this stage). Then I changed the setting on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog to apply ligatures (All) and stylistic set number 6 (try other sets — you’ll see what each looks like in the little Preview window):

Then I started typing…

As you can see from the screen shots below, the letter flourishes change depending on the position of the letter in relation to the letters either side of it. And they change dynamically — this can be a little disconcerting at first as you’re not used to things moving on the screen as you type!

So, what use does this feature have? Well, for technical communicators, perhaps not a lot. But for anyone using Word to create personal communications (such as wedding/party invitations), menus, certificates, artistic communications etc. this may be a feature they use every so often (you wouldn’t want to use it everywhere!).

Add some color to the font and other formatting, and you could end up with something quite spectacular (or really awful!) — and all from Word 2010.


For an explanation about all the settings on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog, see:

More how to’s with this Word 2010 feature:

[Links last checked August 2011]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: