How to access alternate characters on the iPad

There’s no doubt there’s a lot of potential for inspiration and creativity when working with type. But that is taken to a whole new level when you know how to unlock ‘alternate character’ sets using OpenType fonts. Today I want to share a trick professional designers use, that isn’t exactly common knowledge, but it’s super easy once you know how and will likely excite a whole new obsession with letters (if you don’t have one already that is)!

So what are alternate characters? It’s like having a secret stash of letters hidden away. Once you know how to access them, you reveal several variations to choose from, giving more control over how the individual letters interact with each other. The alternate characters are often the ‘fancy-pants’ version. In most cases they include decorative flourishes, allowing you edit the letters that best suit embellishments (such as the start or end of a word).

Access OpenType alternate characters on the iPad

Maybe you’ve heard of alternate characters before. If so, you’ve most likely used them in Adobe software on a computer. But did you know it’s possible to do this on the iPad too? The video below will show how you can access these special alternative characters without leaving the iPad!

Learn Calligraphy
on the iPad
from Scratch!

Create stunning calligraphy in Procreate with no experience or special tech skills (even if you have messy handwriting and don’t think you’re creative enough)


If you’re a regular, you’ll know Procreate is the app of choice around here. However, we’re going to need to move to our 2nd favorite app for this project, Affinity Designer. While Procreate does now enable text creation, we do not have access to alternate characters as yet unfortunately. But never fear! Make sure to stay until the end of the video, where I’ll show how you can easily export your type from Affinity straight into Procreate!

Please Note: I mention in the video that Affinity Designer is also great for working with CMYK. This was filmed before Procreate’s color profile update. You can now work in CMYK within Procreate! ????

It’s important to note, not all fonts include alternate character sets. They will be an ‘Open Type’ format and you need to check the product description if they are included. Most fonts will display the full character set, so you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Font featured in this tutorial : Mozart Script by Blessed Print

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Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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