Photoshop: OpenType Number Features: Proportional, Tabular, Lining, and Oldstyle

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A feature that has been sorely missing from Photoshop since the implementation of its OpenType capabilities is the ability to specify which number features to use. This feature is fully implemented in InDesign and Illustrator so it's puzzling that it would be missing from Photoshop.
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Seth G

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Posted 3 years ago

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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Seth,

Sorry for the delay in responding -- I've been on leave.  But, I'm back now and interested in making all things typographic better.

Can you talk to me more about what precise OT feature you'd like to see and what the workflow / use case for it would be?  Let's see if we can make this happen...!

Thanks,
David
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Seth

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Hi David,

Here's an OpenType feature display for a font I recently added to my library. [http://cdn.myfonts.net/s/aw/original/392/0/200891.png]  @ [http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/rohh/pusia/]

The first lines in the second column represent the OpenType features I would like to see available in Photoshop. The lining (proportional) figures seem to be the default for most fonts, while some opt to use tabular figures.
A workflow that would require tabular figures could be a menu, where you want your price figures to line up.
A workflow where proportional figures are required would likely be any which included numbers in the flow of text, such as a title, or in the body of a large text block where tabular figures would interrupt the natural flow.
The choice of oldstyle figures would likely be an entirely stylistic choice or one made based on textual flow. Oldstyle figures would flow with text better, but if you want the numbers to be visually distinct, without interrupting the flow, proportional lining figures might be a better choice.

The linked page has an OpenType feature breakdown by program [table near the bottom] and while Photoshop has most of the common features covered, like Illustrator and InDesign, the number features are conspicuously absent. [http://ilovetypography.com/OpenType/opentype-features.html]

Your attention to this little corner of Photoshop's Type features is much appreciated, David.

Thanks,
Seth
[guess I used a different account before, oops]
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Seth,

Other than the numerical features, if I'm understanding you correctly, nearly all of these features have been in Photoshop for a long time.  If you look in the Character Panel, you'll see two rows of icons for Open Type features.  Using Lust Script and Tisa Sans Pro for testing (cuz I know they support all our OT options), I'm seeing Small Caps, Superscript, Subscript, Stylistic Alternatives, Fractions, and Ordinals all work fine.  It just depends on getting a font that support these.

You are correct that the numeric features aren't well supported (though the table shows Super- and Sub-script not supported, so, again, either I'm missing something or this table is off) -- which then begs the question: how often do you need this?  I'm not at all asking to be a pain; I'm trying to generate a good argument to devote engineering effort to this, as there are many features being considered.  And, to clarify, you would be interested in seeing PS add support for Tabular Lining, Proportional Lining, and Tabular Oldstyle, right?

If you'd like, we could continue this via email or even over the phone as well.  My email is d + my last name @ adobe DOT com.

Thanks,
David
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Seth

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Hi David,

You are correct and I'm not disputing the presence of the rest of Photoshop's OpenType support. I am specifically requesting the addition of the number glyph features you mentioned in Photoshop's support for OpenType.

To be honest, it's a convenience more than anything. You could hack the same together using kerning/tracking and baseline offsets. It's a matter of your engineers/programmers doing work up front to implement the feature to save designer's time fiddling away at the controls to get just the right look when deadlines loom.

To be honest, I'm not officially a graphics designer, I'm in IT. I do get things dumped on me however when our small company's graphics designer is buried. We have a few annual events that we do quite a bit of work on in addition to our regular workload. Dates and such are usually involved in those graphics, so the numbers play a prominent role in web graphics, letterhead, forms, etc.

I'm kind of taking the de facto lead in growing our company's type library. Our graphic designer seems satisfied with the stuff that comes with his preferred graphics suite from another company—which I won't deign to name because I despise their software. Anyway, I've been enjoying looking through type families, seeing all the cool stuff OpenType can do, and taking advantage of the incredible sales MyFonts holds.

I can't imagine being isolated in the wish to see a complete feature coverage of OpenType in PhotoShop, although I know it doesn't fit the name. It is kind of disproportionately cumbersome to pop open InDesign just to check out a new font family.

Ramble over. Thanks,
Seth
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David, Official Rep

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Right on, Seth.  Thanks.  I appreciate your openness and candor. 

I totally agree that there's a work-around, but it's far from easy and would be damn hard for any marketing department to standardize on.  That alone should be a vote for the feature, IMHO.

If other folks are having the same desire to see these numeric Open Type features added, please weigh in.  The more voices I have in support of this (or any) new feature, the more likely I can make it happen.  

Have a great one,
David
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Seth

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Likewise, David. I look forward to the outcome.
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Joey Katzen

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+1 for wanting this. It appears to be highly desired by many designers (going back many years) from a Google search.

Increasingly, a lot of "Pro" typefaces (even distributed by TypeKit) are having their numerical figures defaulted to the "OldStyle" format, where the numbers aren't consistently in a line. Some go below the baseline, some only rise to the X-height, etc.

It's crazy to think that I can't just get a simple row of consistent "tabular" or "lining" numerals in Photoshop.

For instance, I'm laying out a web site now, and I want to list the phone number. But I want it to use numerals that don't dance up and down along the baseline. For me to do this, I have to layout the numbers in Illustrator and then import them as a Smart Object. This is ridiculous.

This is becoming more of a problem, I think, because until recently, tabular/lining figures were the default, and the OldStyle numerals were left for an occasional manual selection.
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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I've gone ahead and logged this as a feature request.  If others would also like to see this capability added to Photoshop, please add a comment.  The more heat this topic can generate, the more likely it will be addressed.

Thanks,
David
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River Brandon

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+1

I need this as well. We use some faces that default to old style numerals, but we need lining numerals in many instances, especially for designing screens. When mocking up options I need an easy way to switch. The more support for OT features, the better.
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Xiang-Ming Chow

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I'd appreciate this feature too - I'm generating some mobile assets where having tabular figures would be helpful. Thanks for your receptiveness, David.
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Joey Katzen

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@David, thanks for logging it. Part of the problem, BTW, is that traditionally, most of the typefaces had lining figures as the default. It's rare that someone *needs* Photoshop to show old-style figures. Most anyone can get by with lining figures if need be.

But in the past few years, it seems an increasingly large number of typefaces are defaulting to lining figures. This makes doing web/app mockups very difficult in Photoshop, since we can't switch out of them now.
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Josh Gordon

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+1 for this. It's amazing to me that this feature hasn't already been implemented.
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Julie-Anne Hughes

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+1 for this. I need this feature!
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michaelgolus

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+ 1. I've run into this countless times when working on web and interface mockups.
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Hamid B

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+1
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Marcel Münchow

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+1000
Illustrator does support these OTF features. Why can ́t Photoshop do so?

(Edited)
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Gustavo Cardoso

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No idea why this feature still missing.

My workaround has been using illustrator to stylize the figure I want to use and paste on photoshop, creating a vector shape.

Anyway, it's been years since I still can't figure the lack of respect on font control and opentype features in photoshop.
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Marcel Münchow

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Here is a small photoshop script (tested with CC2017) for setting the figure style:
function setStyle()
{
    var docRef = app.activeDocument;
    var actLay = docRef.activeLayer;

    if(actLay.kind == LayerKind.TEXT){
      var textItem =  actLay.textItem;

      var idsetd = charIDToTypeID( "setd" );
          var desc79 = new ActionDescriptor();
          var idnull = charIDToTypeID( "null" );
              var ref8 = new ActionReference();
              var idPrpr = charIDToTypeID( "Prpr" );
              var idTxtS = charIDToTypeID( "TxtS" );
              ref8.putProperty( idPrpr, idTxtS );
              var idTxLr = charIDToTypeID( "TxLr" );
              var idOrdn = charIDToTypeID( "Ordn" );
              var idTrgt = charIDToTypeID( "Trgt" );
              ref8.putEnumerated( idTxLr, idOrdn, idTrgt );
          desc79.putReference( idnull, ref8 );
          var idT = charIDToTypeID( "T   " );
              var desc80 = new ActionDescriptor();
              var idfigureStyle = stringIDToTypeID( "figureStyle" );

              //Tabular
              var idStyle = stringIDToTypeID( "tabularLining" );

              //Normal
              //var idStyle = stringIDToTypeID( "Nrml" );

              //proportionalOldStyle
              //var idStyle = stringIDToTypeID( "proportionalOldStyle" );
              desc80.putEnumerated( idfigureStyle, idfigureStyle, idStyle );
          var idTxtS = charIDToTypeID( "TxtS" );
          desc79.putObject( idT, idTxtS, desc80 );
      executeAction( idsetd, desc79, DialogModes.NO );
      textItem = null;
    }
    docRef = null;
    actLay = null;
}
setStyle();

Just comment/uncomment the figure style you need (Tabular, Normal, proportionalOldStyle). It is not comfortable, but usable.
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Gustavo Cardoso

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Marcel!

Huge thanks for the script. It works just fine for me, and yet the best solution i've seen! :)
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Sye Robertson

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I'm looking for this feature as well, it seems 2 years on it has still not been implemented. 
(Edited)