Word 2010: Style Sets and Ligatures

Let’s profile two of Word’s newer design features: Stylistic Sets and Ligatures. These features, introduced in Word 2010 and available to documents saved in .DOCX format, leverage the newer OpenType font standard. Using these features, you can enhance and embellish select text.

Stylistic Sets

Certain OpenType fonts (e.g., Calibri, Gabriola, Cambria, etc.) have additional embedded appearance options, called Stylistic Sets. These sets enable subtle (and not so subtle) appearance changes, based on Stylistic Set selection, character spacing and letter combination.

Gabriola font with differnt Stylistic Sets applied
Gabriola font with different Stylistic Sets applied

To apply a Stylistic Set

  1. Select text.
  2. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Font group, click the Text Effects and Typography button. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + D to launch the Font dialog box, and then click the Advanced tab.
  3. Point to Stylistic Sets and select desired set.

Ligatures

metalligatures

A Ligature consists of two or more letters commonly joined together in written text. Back in the days of movable type, these characters where forged one a single printing press block, also known as ‘glyph’, to save time and space. Some common examples include  Æ, Œ , ƒƒ, and my personal favorite, Qu.

In Word, ligatures are categorized as:

  • Standard,  contains the ligatures that most typographers and font designers agree are appropriate for that language.
  • Contextual, ligatures that the font designer believed appropriate for use with that font.
  • Historical, ligatures for language that was once standard but is no longer commonly used (e.g., ‘ye olde theatre’)
  • Discretionary, ligatures that the font designer included for specific purposes.

Here’s a sentence using Calibri, with all ligature categories applied.

Calibri font 'All' Ligatures formatted
Calibri font with different ligature types selelcted

To apply a Ligature

  1. Select text.
  2. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Font group, click the Text Effects and Typography button. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + D to launch the Font dialog box, and then click the Advanced tab.
  3. Point to Ligatures and select desired format.

Cheers!
hɔuᴉnb

Comments and questions are always welcome!