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Open Font Special Characters in Silhouette Studio V4 (Without Designer Edition)

One of the many benefits of Silhouette Studio Designer Edition - when used with V4 - is the ability to access those font swirls and extra characters right in Silhouette Studio.

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But if you don't have Designer Edition (or higher), you can still access them - it just takes a few lot more steps.

This process works for fonts like the Samantha font, Garlic Butter, Mermaid Tails and others that have alternative characters.

A couple of things you need to keep in mind when working with fonts that have extra characters:
  • Those extra characters will only show up in Silhouette Studio if the font is PUA encoded. A lot of font designers are now making their fonts this way due to the demand by crafters using programs that can only access the extras when the fonts are PUA encoded
  • The default characters will appear when the font is typed - you'll need to manually add the extra characters or replace default characters with the extra glyphs
Alright so lets get to how you do just that.

Start by downloading the font on your computer. Usually the font will download in a zip file that you need to unzip.  On a MAC you can double click or right click to unzip the zip file. On a PC right click to extract the file.

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Once unzipped, you'll need to actually install the font on your computer. Do this by launching thethe .ttf or .otf font file installation - usually by double clicking.

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Follow the on screen prompts to install the font.

Once installed, you'll want to re-start Silhouette Studio and the font will appear in your Text Style list.  If you had Silhouette Studio Designer Edition you'd have a third tab long the top of the Text Style panel to easily access glyphs. But since you don't...follow along :)

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Start by typing out your text in a text box. Select the text and change the Font Style. I'm going to use Garlic Butter for this example.

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Accessing Extra Font Characters on a MAC

Open up Font Book.

Click User to see all the fonts you have downloaded and installed onto your computer.  Navigate to Garlic Butter.

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This is what you'll see right now and you'll probably notice it's missing all the fancy glyphs.

If you go up to the menu bar and click PREVIEW and switch from Sample to Repertoire your view will change and you'll have access to the complete font!

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Find the glyph you want to use > select it > and copy it to your clipboard by using your keyboard shortcuts. COMMAND+C.

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Go back to your Silhouette Studio work area and click in the text box - move the cursor wherever it is that you want the character to be placed.  Hit COMMAND+V on your keyboard for the keyboard shortcut for Paste.

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Repeat this process for as many extra characters as you want to add to your text box.

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Keep in mind, extra characters don't always have to be letters or numbers. So fonts, such as Mermaid Tails use doodles or dingbats as extras!

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Accessing Extra Font Characters on a PC

If you're working on PC it's best to download the TTF or true type font when given the option on a PC.  You'll need to access the extra characters through your Character Map. Search for your Character Map on your computer and then open it up.

Once the Character Map is open, you'll want to select the font you are working with. Then go through the following steps:
  • Check the box for Advanced view  
  • Change the Group by to Unicode Subrange
  • Select Private User Characters
Though small, the extra characters are there. To grab one, click the ones you want to use and they'll be added to the Characters to Copy area.  Once you have them all there, click "Copy" to add them to your clipboard.

Return to Silhouette Studio and click the "Paste" icon from along the top tool bar.  The red boxes are normal. Just select them and from the Text Style tool change the font style to match the font you are working with.

Now that you know how to access the extra font characters even without Silhouette Studio, here are 11 awesome (commercial use) fonts with fun extras!


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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!


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