Find Glyphs and Advanced Type Features in Sketch

Yes they’re there and no you wont be happy about it because its still not that great— just be prepared

Brant Day
Feb 19, 2018 · 4 min read
Just look at those glyphs on that sentence! No they dont need to be there but its a process yall…calm down.

We all know that designer. Yes that designer that is working through a sweet new design in Sketch and then they come upon something so terrible its hard to talk about. It is the thing that shall not be named for those that use the Sketch app. Yes, you’ve got it. I’m talking about the “g” word. The dreaded “glyphs”. “OH NO NOT GLYPHS!!” you scream in dismay. “Yes————glyphs,” I cackle incoherently as the word slowly reverberates through your headphones, diminishing ever so quietly as the seconds strain to move forward. This is hell.

Not just glyphs though, there are other open type features that you may be interested in accessing and lets be honest, maybe we should say it all together.

Sketch is not that great with type

There, thats better.

Lets find those glyphs

I’ll stop all of my lollygagging and just show you where to find them in a series of screenshots!

  1. Open up your favorite Sketch project
Here we have a standard sketch project
This is what we are looking to add onto any space that we can

2. Once you have that project find a space to enter your text. In this instance I have a sybmol that I’ve created in Sketch for large “Ad” space and/or space that the business can use to announce or highlight important features to their brand and allow users to request a quote.

If you can't tell, I’ve selected the appropriate text box in the right hand side to add my glyphs.

This is the box that I’ve selected to add glyphs. Dont worry about the ones already there…I did that previously.

3. Open up the “view menu” and select the “show fonts” option

4. This is the Mac OS fonts menu—its probably the worst thing they’ve ever designed

5. Go to the “gear” icon and select the “character” section as the pictures below show.

6. The menu can show up in two different ways. Regardless you will need to navigate to the appropriate section. I have included instructions under the images themselves.

(Left) Select letterlike symbols and double click to add (Right) You will need to use the dual arrows on the bottom to move your tab over and access the letterlike symbols tab.

7. Looking for other advanced features or the color wheel? Well you can open up both right here and find all sorts of other goodies. Remember, make sure your font is selected in Sketch and wait a bit if you try these other OT features. The system does not do a good job of telling you whats available. It mostly sucks.

Good luck…you’re probably going to get mad.

Remember, its not great

Good. You have them now. You can at least add the typical stuff like tm, R, and c etc. Unfortunately its just not that great and can be buggy. Be careful about overriding sketch styles with the system font selector as things will be overriden when you least expect it.

Also, I find that its easier to use these when you have type styles or symbols applied. That way you dont have to worry what font is selected Sketch will add the element overtop of whatever you select.

Best of luck out there everyone! I hope this was helpful. If you have anything else to add please do so in the comments below!

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Brant Day

Written by

Brant Day

Experience Designer @slalom. Founder, designer, and Illustrator @wattle_n_daub. Boring people to death with UX, illustration, typography, and identity design.

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