How to Work with Typefaces

CYBER MONDAY EXTENDED!   Save up to $100 + 5 BONUS items!  See offers

How to Work with Typefaces

By Marc Bech

Text is an important element in the design and layout of designs. Choosing the right typeface is an important design consideration because it can set the tone of the project. In CorelDRAW, you can choose the typeface that is best suited to your project. You can also specify the font size and style. In addition, you can use an OpenType® font to achieve a unique and distinctive style, but not all OpenType fonts have advanced OpenType features.

In this tutorial you will learn about:

  • font vs. typeface
  • choosing a typeface
  • OpenType support in CorelDRAW X7
  • working with OpenType fonts
  • saving to a previous version of CorelDRAW

This tutorial has been written for CorelDRAW® X7. While similar features might be available in previous releases, this tutorial is fully applicable to CorelDRAW X7 only.

Fonts vs. typefaces

“Font” and “typeface” are two typography terms that are often used interchangeably, but they do not have the same meaning. A font is a collection of characters that includes letters, numbers, and symbols of one variation of a typeface, such as bold or italic. A typeface, which is also known as a font family, can be made up of several fonts that share similar design characteristics. In other words, a font is the mechanism that allows you to render the characters, or glyphs, onscreen or in print, whereas the typeface embodies the style and visual distinctiveness of the characters in a group of fonts.

The following table lists a few examples of typefaces and fonts. Just as in type, a font is the delivery mechanism and a typeface is the creative work.

Typeface (Font family)
Helvetica Neue
Times New Roman
Helvetica Neue Bold-Italic
Times New Roman Normal
Verdana Bold-Italic

Choosing a typeface

Typefaces come in different shapes and sizes, and have unique characteristics and expressive qualities. Choosing the right typeface is an important design consideration because it can set the tone of the project. Moreover, it can help or hinder effective communication. For example, if you design a poster with a typeface that is difficult to read, or sets the wrong tone, your message may not effectively reach your intended audience. In Fig. 1, the elegant typeface applied to the word “Menu” on the left is more suitable for an upscale restaurant menu, while the casual typeface on the right is more suitable for a children’s menu.


Figure 1

Figure 1

Here are a few considerations for choosing the right typeface:

  • Choose a typeface that best suits the tone of your design. Is it intended to be playful or professional? Is there a particular age group that you’re trying to reach?
  • Choose a typeface that is appropriate for the final output of your design (e.g., large sign, website, or printed newsletter or brochure).
  • Use fewer rather than more typefaces in your document. The general rule is not to exceed three or four typefaces in a document.
  • Make sure the typeface characters are easy to read and recognize.
  • Make sure the typeface of headings stands out and looks good when displayed at larger sizes.
  • Make sure the typeface of body text enhances readability.
  • Choose a typeface that supports multiple languages if you’re working on multilingual documents.


OpenType support in CorelDRAW X7

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7 lets you take advantage of OpenType fonts, which can store a vast array of typography features, such as contextual and stylistic alternates, fractions, ligatures, ordinals, ornaments, small caps, swashes, and more (see the end of this tutorial for short definitions of some of these terms). Many of the features can be applied en masse by using style sets in CorelDRAW. OpenType fonts are based on Unicode, which is flexible and offers the outstanding benefit of multi-language support.

Accessible from the Object Properties docker, the OpenType features let you choose alternative appearances for characters, or glyphs, to suit your stylistic preference (provided that the font supports these features). For example, you can apply a different number, fraction, or ligature to achieve a certain look for your text. In addition, with the Interactive OpenType feature, CorelDRAW will suggest eligible OpenType features that you can apply to selected text.
Working with OpenType fonts

Let’s try out a few of the OpenType typography features in CorelDRAW.

  1. Open a new file. Set up the page in landscape (horizontal) mode. The default page size is fine.
  2. Using Fig. 2 as reference, do the following:
  • Using the Arial font with a font size of 36, type “This is a NOT an Advanced [press Enter] OpenType Font [press Enter press Enter] 99/100, 7th.” Center the text near the top of the page.
  • Using the Gabriola font (included with Windows® 7) with a font size of 60, type a second line of text below the first line: “This IS an Advanced OpenType Font, [press Enter] 99/100, 7th.”
  • Using the OpenType font Corbel or Calibri with a font size of 72, type “7th” at the bottom of the page.


Figure 2

Figure 2

Note: If you do not have the Gabriola, Corbel, or Calibri typeface, you can choose another OpenType font, but it may or may not have the advanced OpenType features explained here. CorelDRAW X7 ships with several OpenType fonts that include many advanced OpenType features. In CorelDRAW X7, OpenType fonts are identified in the Font list box on the property bar by the “O” to the left of each typeface name (Fig. 3).


Figure 3

Figure 3


  1. If the Object Properties docker is not open, click Window > Dockers > Object Properties. Make sure the Character button is enabled (Fig. 4). This will display the text characteristics available for the selected text. Because design options vary between OpenType fonts, only the options available for the selected typeface will appear.
Figure 4

Figure 4


  1. Click the Text tool, and enable the Interactive OpenType button on the property bar (Fig. 5). CorelDRAW lets you access many of the OpenType design choices from the text itself.


Figure 5

Figure 5


  1. With the Text tool, highlight the word “OpenType” in the second string of text (Fig 6). You’ll notice a small downward-facing arrow at the bottom of the selection (1).
  2. Click the downward-facing arrow to open the Interactive OpenType suggestion list that shows which OpenType features are available for this selection. Hover with your mouse over any of the suggestions to see a real-time preview on your selected text (2). Note that this interactive feature works only on a single line of text at a time.


Figure 6

Figure 6


  1. Select the bottom line of text (“7th”). In the Objects Properties docker, hover over the various type options (Fig. 7). The darker icons in the list mean that the feature is available. The grayed-out icons mean that the feature is not available for the selected font. As you pause over each one, a pop-up will appear stating whether or not that choice is available for the highlighted text.


Figure 7

Figure 7


  1. Highlight the fraction in your text, and click the downward-facing arrow. Notice that the options for the fraction are different from the options for the letters (Fig. 8).


Figure 8

Figure 8


  • Alternatively, you can choose an option from the Object Properties docker (Fig. 9). The highlighted options are the ones that are available for this set of fractions in this OpenType font..


Figure 9

Figure 9


  1. Lastly, select any part of the text at the top of your page (the text in Arial font). Notice that a choice to view style options appears neither under the text, nor in the Object Properties docker. This is because Arial, although it’s an OpenType font, does not contain any of the features we’ve been showing. The word “OpenType” does contain a couple of legacy options, but that’s it. Not all OpenType fonts have advanced OpenType features.


Saving to a previous version of CorelDRAW

You can save your file to a previous version of CorelDRAW even though these OpenType features may not be supported in older versions. Click File > Save As, and choose a version from the Version list box (Fig. 10).

Figure 10

Figure 10


When you click Save, a dialog box appears (Fig. 11). You can then choose to save the document in either an editable or a non-editable version. If you choose the Keep editable option, CorelDRAW will remove the OpenType features and replace them with available fonts so that the text remains editable. If you choose the Keep appearance option, CorelDRAW will convert the OpenType text to curves. The text will no longer be editable as text, only as vector shapes.


Figure 11

Figure 11



Fractions: Mathematical fractions. Most fonts know how to create fractions when you type, for example, 1/4, ½, 3/8th, etc., but they either can’t do it or require special combinations of keyboard commands for less common numbers. Many OpenType fonts are built to accept less common choices and allow for designs of multiple fractions.

Ligatures: A character consisting of two or more letters joined together.

Ordinals: Examples of ordinals are First, Second, Seventh, etc. Fonts that support this feature will type them as 1st, 2nd, 7th, etc.

Ornaments: These are very ornamental fonts, such as you might see in the Dingbat typeface. These aren’t even letters, but decorations that can be applied as a typeface.

Swash: A swash is an exaggerated serif. It often extends or protrudes into adjacent letters or lines of text.

Style set: A collection of styles that helps you define the appearance of text.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful and we would love to hear your feedback in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to visit our social media pages and show us what you’ve learned by sharing your photos, videos and creative projects with us.

See what's new in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021!

Download your FREE 15-day trial for Windows or Mac and fuel your creative fire with the new perspective tools, flexible design space, progressive photo editing tools, and much more.

Related Tutorials

Tools You Need

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021

Fuel your creative fire with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021: a complete suite of graphic design software for professional vector illustration, layout, photo editing and more.

Christmas Clipart

New for 2021! Create greeting cards and invitations or decorate photos and videos with this collection of 400+ holiday-themed images in PNG and vector format.

CorelDRAW Standard 2021

Dream it then design it with CorelDRAW Standard 2021, the go-to graphic design suite for hobbyists and home businesses.

Wacom One Creative Tablet

The Wacom One creative pen tablet offers a natural pen experience on a 13” screen, perfect for creatives seeking great value for their money.

Related Images

Share this post

Leave a Reply

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