30 Jan Ultra Character Map

This chapter is part of a series on workflow applications that help build, design and create new things. The importance is not always in finding apps that fit your workflow — I define mine through the chapters and who how you can organize the applications you use to make it function.
In this chapter, we look at Ultra Character Map, useful for writers and editorial designers of every kind. Pair it with design apps such as InDesign, Photoshop and Sketch; with word processing apps such as Microsoft Word and Apple Pages; with Markdown and simple text editors like Ulysses and Sublime Text.

Adobe InDesign CC


Ahh, the Glyphs panel from InDesign. Wonderful. Shows you all the possible characters you can use with the font you’re using, without knowing the obscure keyboard shortcut to insert them. You can find a similar panel in word processing apps such as Microsoft Word with the Insert > Special characters or Apple Pages with the Insert >

But sometimes, launching InDesign to open your Glyphs panel is a bit overkill, especially if your system is starting to show its age. And Word always seems to find new ways to make mistakes in handling your activated fonts.

Ultra Character Map


Finally, there’s a more efficient and stable solution : an app called Ultra Character Map from X04 studios (www.x04studios.com). It’s essentially a character map : select one of your fonts, and it will show you a grid of every glyph the font contains. Their other apps look… dated, and perhaps audience-specific. But Ultra Character Map is incredibly useful for any type of print or web publications that involve text.

You can also use Ultra Character Map to compare fonts, perhaps at the same level of efficiency than Apple’s own FontBook. However, for a more powerful solution, consider using the app alongside Suitcase Fusion (www.extensis.com).