Secret To Add Swashes + Extras to Your Fonts…. Use The Private Use Area in a Font

How to Use Private Use Area Characters in Font. |

Oh. Goodness. Do you ever figure out a little trick that makes you want to seriously leap for joy? Well… friends. This little trick is one of those.

I may be a little late to the game, but I just discovered an amazing trick for using characters in a font like swashes, doodles, extras, etc that are not easily accessible by just hitting traditional keys on the keyboard.  For example, the pretty swashes above that come with my new font Heathrow. Or the swashes in the Fandangle font that come with the Angie Makes Font Bundle of Glory.

The secret is to use fonts that are coded to work with Private Use Areas.

Here’s how you can access any character in a Private Use Area Friendly Font on a Windows machine without any fancy software.


It’s even easier on a Mac of course. We’ll just use the default font manager called Font Book that comes with your Mac.

For Mac

I hope that’s clear as mud. You should have no problem inserting all kinds of extras into your designs now, no matter what application you choose to use your fonts in. Keep in mind, this only works with fonts specifically coded to work with Private Use Areas. Which… mine will forever be in the future.


55 thoughts on “Secret To Add Swashes + Extras to Your Fonts…. Use The Private Use Area in a Font

  1. Pingback: » Heathrow Font
  2. This is sooo good. Thank you for sharing. I’ve always wondered how to get access to all the cute little things that come with fonts and I’ve never been able to get to them. I’m so excited to use these now!

  3. Hi! I’ve done this and when I’m in Font Book and try to copy a glyph it will not let me select anything. Any suggestions or reasons why this is happening?? Thanks!

        1. When trying to copy and paste swishes into Microsoft word on my Mac it is only pasting blank spaces, can you help? thanks!

  4. Once I clicked on “Private Use Characters, ” all of the characters then disappeared from the character map. There are only blank squares left. I’m using Windows. Any suggestions?

  5. I’m interested in buying Hethrow, but I do a lot of designing on my IPad, how would I use the swash on my iPad?

  6. Yes, and an easier way to do it is to open your glyphs panel within the software (i.e. indesign and illustrator), and you can see all this individual elements and then just double click the one you want to use. Easy!

    1. Yes! This tutorial is for many users who don’t have the designer software like the Adobe Creative Suite. It’s a bit trickier to use the swashes in, say, Microsoft Word or other programs that lack a glyphs panel. :)

      1. So you can’t use the special characters in programs like Word or Photoshop, since they don’t have a glyphs panel? I tried, but it doesn’t work for me :(

  7. Does this work in Photoshop since photoshop doesn’t have a glyphs panel? I tried it, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

          1. I’m using Lavanderia. It doesn’t have swashes, but it does have some special characters. This was a free font – I wanted to make sure it would work before I purchased a nicer one.

            It did not work in Photoshop CS5 or MS Word, but it DID work in Lightroom 5 (Print module//Identity Plate). Only problem is that I have no use for it in LR, I want to create a layered logo with a nice font in PS.

          2. Ah. Ok. That explains it. I don’t believe Lavenderia is Private Use Area (PUA) encoded. Make sure you purchase premium fonts that are to use them in this way.

  8. Thank you for this! I have looked at many hints but this is the only one that explained about opening repertoire in Font Book on a MAC. So I can finally use all my fonts with glyphs!!

  9. Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I just bought a new iMac and the way to use the alternate letters totally changed from the OS on my old iMac. I was getting so aggravated that I couldn’t figure out how to use the extensions/alternate letters on all the fonts I had bought. And, then I came across your tutorial while doing a search. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  10. My character map does not display the private use characters :( realy want to use my Samantha font swashes

  11. Hi I purchased your font and it is not pasting the swish, it pastes a letter, any ideas on what to do? Thanks

  12. Hi
    I have been trying to do this method and I used to be able to do it but now I only get a box with question mark. I purchase fonts with commercial licenses so not sure what is wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I cannot find any help on this topic.

  13. Hi there! This is totally awesome info, question though… For the Windows demonstration you used Inkscape, but for the Mac demonstration you used Illustrator. Any idea on how to get this process to work on a Mac in Inkscape? I can get the extras to paste into programs like Word, but Inkscape refuses to paste the extra no matter what I try. Thanks!!

  14. This’s a game changer! I’ve been looking for new fonts since ages not knowing i have it right under my belt! Thank you so much :)

  15. WOMEN FOOTWEAR – PinsStep bring all the collections and trendy design for better Women’s footwear experience. Check women fashion designer shoes collection Buy online in Pakistan. From Big to Small available all Sizes: 35,36 to 42,43,44,45 (Customize – Made to Order)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *