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There’s an exciting development in the type design world and that is that a few designers are starting to fully map their OTF fonts to Unicode so that they are more accessible to those without Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and expensive design software that has been required in the past.
Laura Worthington is not only one of our favorite type designers as diecutters, but she has taken the lead on this. Her information on accessing all the special characters in her fonts with Windows is here. I took this a step further with a video on how to use her fonts in Silhouette Studio for Windows.
Update: I already made this video twice, but I keep finding mistakes and things I should have added as I explore this topic more and answer your questions. Please note the following
The prerequisites (shown and discussed at the beginning and end of the video) should be:
-Any Windows version of Silhouette Studio (even V2 standard, contrary to what I say in the video)
-Fonts coded for Character Map (or fully mapped to Unicode)
-Desktop font purchased, OTF version installed
Update: For those of you having trouble seeing the characters in Windows Character Map, the free utility Nexus Font also has a Character Map that makes viewing easier. Written tutorial from Paper Moon Snippets here.
On the Mac side, some of my earlier techniques are no longer working because the necessary web app has been discontinued. The method Laura recommends does work with Silhouette Studio but, like mine referenced above, is also quite contorted. My research has led me to believe that the best solution for MacOS 10.8 (or 10.9 with Silh Studio basic) is a $9.95 app called Ultra Character Map, but since it only runs on Mac OS 10.8 or better, I haven’t been able to test it myself yet.
If you run MacOS 10.9, I’ve just discovered a new free solution.
Another Mac option is Inkscape. In Inkscape you can enter Unicode values into a text cox directly by typing Cntr-U first then the code. So you would use Font Book Repertoire view and hover over the character you want to determine the Unicode value, then type it into Inkscape. When you are done, convert text to path (Path>Object to Path) and then save as SVG for import into SSDE or as DXF for import into SS basic edition.
So far the only other fonts I have found that are fully mapped are from Yellow Design Studio. You may know them from the beautiful Melany Lane font. (They also designed Thirsty Script but as far as I know it is not fully mapped). Here’s a freebie of theirs you can try out: Gist Upright
Update: Fonts by Debi Sementelli are also fully mapped. Debi is the designer of the fabulous Cantoni font!
Be sure to thank these designers for mapping their fonts and tell them that CleverSomeday sent you.