Using Small Caps in OpenType

Since the OpenType font format allows more than 65,000 characters to reside within a single font file, there is now no need to have separate fonts for small capitals when using an OpenType-savvy application such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator or PhotoShop. Instead of selecting a different font, the user needs only to activate the Small Caps feature.

In Adobe applications, for example, select the text, then go to the Character menu and select Small Caps, or use the keyboard shortcut Command+Shift+H. This option replaces only lowercase letters and the minus symbol. Note that there is a second option, which is Character > OpenType > All Small Caps. This replaces both lowercase and uppercase letters, and also activates punctuation modified to match the small capsʼ height.

Small Capitals in Adobe applications

In Apple software such as TextEdit or the iWork suite, OpenType features can be accessed from the Advanced popup menu in the Fonts floating window. Go to Format > Font > Show Fonts, click on the font name, then click on the gear icon at the bottom of the floating window and select Typography… to display the features available for the selected font.

In Mellel, OpenType features can be accessed from the popup menu in the Character Appearance palette.

The small caps feature and other advanced OpenType features donʼt work in older software such as QuarkXPress 6, FreeHand or Word 2008 and older.