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What are those things? What are they for? How do I enable them?enter image description here

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    ...Hover over them and look it up. – Ryan Aug 18 '15 at 21:42
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They are substitution or pre-composed variant that are alternate glyphs and may not be available on all fonts; you will see them only when the font was created to incorporate them in a specific way.

Example from Myriad Pro Bold from the Typekit:

Top example is without using the "Fraction" substitution, bottom example is using it.

example different font substitution

You can't really enable them if the font doesn't have these substitutions included already in their set. They will be accessible only for certain fonts. You'll find them on Open-Type fonts.

If they are available, you can enable or disable them by clicking on the icon.

Example of glyphs

There's also fonts that include these substitutions but they might be part of another font family named differently and won't be available on this small Character menu. They're not as convenient to use as the option above. For example, the Helvetica Fractions.

Helvetica Fractions

  • Could you tell me one font that has this resources? – JohnSmith Aug 18 '15 at 21:45
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    If you look at the image @go-me posted you'll see at least one example of such a font :) – Hanna Aug 18 '15 at 21:59
  • @JohnSmith it's hard to find a font that has all these substitutions available but lot of the fonts from the TypeKit , Apple system fonts or very classical ones have some of them. – go-junta Aug 18 '15 at 22:01
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    House Industries produces some wonderful fonts with these features. You can preview them on their website, here's one I'd like to buy: houseind.com/fonts/eames ---- click "More Options" by the Text to Set panel. – Ryan Aug 18 '15 at 23:57

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