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How to use special characters on Illustrator

Learn all the secrets of PUA encoded fonts.

how to use special characters on Illustrator

 

Some fonts include a set of special characters that you can use to improve your designs. In today’s post, we’ll explain how to display and use these characters on Adobe Illustrator.

If you’d like to learn more about Adobe Illustrator, check our Ultimate Graphic Design Guide. 

Let’s get started!

 

On this article:

What are PUA encoded fonts?
How to access the special characters of a font?
How to access the special characters of a font on Illustrator?

 

What are PUA encoded fonts?

 

The term PUA stands for “Private Use Areas.” When a font is PUA encoded, it gives you access to some unique shapes, flourishes, and swirls that you can include in your text.

You can find these characters through Windows and Mac. Bear in mind that PUA encoded fonts won’t display the special characters when you type. Look at the images below to appreciate the difference.

 

 

To be able to use a particular character, you’ll have to display all the glyphs of the font and select the one that you want.

 

How to access the special characters of a font?

 

To be able to access the special characters of a font, you have to install that font on your device. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry! Check our guides about installing fonts on Windows and installing fonts on Mac.

 

how to use PUA encoded fonts on Illustrator
The font that we’ve used for this article is called Gratefully. Find it here.

 

On Windows, you can access the special characters of your fonts through a feature called Character Map. You can find this tool by typing its name in the search bar.

 

how to use special characters on Illustrator

 

On Mac, you can display these special characters through a feature called Font Book. You can find Font Book on the applications folder.

 

how to use special characters on Illustrator

 

If you’d like to read more about displaying special characters on Windows and Mac, check this article from the Ultimate Font Guide.

 

How to access the special characters of a font on Illustrator?

 

We’ve already explained how to use fonts on Adobe Illustrator. For today’s post, we’re going to focus on the use of Special Characters.

 

How to use special characters on Illustrator

 

Illustrator works on any Open Type font, even if it is not PUA encoded.

To display the Special Characters of a font on Illustrator, hit Window > Type > Glyphs.

 

How to use special characters on Illustrator

 

Illustrator will display the Glyphs Panel. The glyphs are all the characters that a font includes.

 

How to use special characters on Illustrator

 

To add a glyph to your text, just double click on it. That’s it!

 

how to use special characters on Illustrator

 

Now you can start creating with special characters. We hope you’ve found this tutorial useful.

Have fun!

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