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So I have these two glyphs in FontLab:

enter image description here

Notice that the 3 shape is slightly squished in the second glyph. This is because the size of the whole second glyph is wider than the first glyph (before I did any squishing/resizing/transforming which you're seeing in this image). Ideally, the 3 shape would be the exact same shape and size in both glyphs (though in the font, they might have slightly different positions within the glyph bounding box).

The problem I am facing is how do I make sure the 3 shape in each stays the same vertical position and same size/dimensions as the other? That is, first I think I need to create a reference glyph (say the first glyph). Then I want to say "here, second glyph, I want the top of your TT to match the top of the T in glyph 1, and I want the top of the 3 to always match the top of the 3 in glyph 1, and I want the width and height of the 3 in glyph 2 to be exactly matched to glyph 1.

That is, I want to bind some parameters of glyph 2 to the values of glyph 1. I am a programmer so this is something we do all the time: Map the size and vertical position of glyph 2 to glyph 1, relative to its bounding box.

But how can I do this in Illustrator? Anything like this, anything at all.

First, just to tell you what I am currently doing to show how bad it is. What I am currently doing is cut/paste glyph 2 over glyph 1. Then transform glyph 2 so it visibly overlays exactly on glyph 1. This is super error prone because my eyeballs can't see that small and there is no grid snapping at this small of resolution for whatever reason. So I get it as a "close enough match" during this overlay transform process. Then I inch the vertical position up and down with the arrows until it seems close enough (though still probably not pixel perfect). Then I cut/paste glyph 2 away from glyph 1 and put it back into its glyph 2 area.

Phew!

Oh but wait! Now I want to slightly resize glyph 1's 3. So resize it.... Now cut/paste glyph 2 again, overlay on glyph 1, transform to pixel-perfect overlay match, inch until it's exact if necessary, then cut/paste back. Every time I make a change.

Now imagine I had 10 of these glyphs with the 3 symbol, that I want all to be bound to the property values of glyph 1. It would be unruly to manage.

So my question is how to do this like a programmer would? How do I simply bind some constraints on glyph 2 to the property values of glyph 1?

Also, do I need to be creating nested Symbols of some sort or something? Assume for the moment that each glyph is 1 complete shape, not multiple composite shapes. That means I can't have nested symbols I would think? Or perhaps there is a trick where I could select a few points to treat as "anchor symbols" so-to-speak, and then "bind" those to glyph 2 by clicking the equivalent points on glyph 2 that match the points on glyph 1. I don't know.

Basically, how can I create these constraints on the size, shape, and position of a part of a glyph, in such a way that if I change any of the glyphs' size/shape/position, all will glyphs with the 3 will act like symbols and reflect the changes. Can I somehow subdivide (temporarily perhaps) this single shape into subshapes and so sub-symbols? I ask because I am inheriting these glyphs fully formed from an existing font, and so don't have the luxury of treating them as composite shapes.

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