Ubuntu InkScape Selecting Alternate Glyphs

Updated 24 March 2024

Problem: How to pick a glyph from a font. In my use case, from Googles "Material Icons" font.

First, I do a lot of documentation involving web site controls and buttons. My clients appear to really like Google's font "Material Icons" in their site, which means I have to constantly pull characters out of the font in Inkscape. For running text, LibreOffice (and Microsoft Word) can access the font directly, and have tools to make selecting a particular glyph easy.

Inkscape (as of version 1.3.2, the version I'm using in Ubuntu as I write this) has a character, or "special symbol", picker built in. To access this facility, pull down the Text menu and select Unicode Characters... from the list. This will open a tool on the right hand side (or a tear-off panel). Select your font. For Script: select all; for Range: also select all.

First, you can't mix and match fonts in a single text object. If you need the special character, start a new text object. Yes, this is a pain, but...unless the special character is in the same font. For example, in Arial, there are a number of useful symbols, that may indeed do the trick for your project.

The presentation of the glyphs are, frankly, very small. Being Ubuntu, there is a better way to pick the glyph you want. Install and call up Font Manager. Use the "Search Families" control to zoom in on the font. Select the Characters tab to view the glyphs; the slider at the bottom of the window will let you zoom the presentation to make identification of the glyph easier.

Find it? The Font Manager tells you the Unicode value for that glyph. Right-click to see a further enlarged view; you can press the Copy button to copy the Unicode value onto the clipboard. Back to Inkscape, and paste the code as the "keystroke" to insert the Unicode for the glyph in your Text object.

Comments, suggestions, and error reports are welcome.
Send them to: spamfilter (at) satchell (dot) net)
Copyright © 2024 Stephen Satchell, Reno NV