Greetings fellow netizens!
I should be posting more, I really should. Poor blog. I’ve ignored it for long periods.
Today I’m talking about an interesting bit I just learned. (well, it was interesting to me, so I thought it might be interesting to you as well)
This week I was facilitating an introductory Captivate class. One participant asked me what the difference was with using the Drop-Down selector as opposed to using the icons for making textual elements Bold, Italics or Underlined.
And until I had been asked this question, I have to admit that I was blissfully ignorant. I had never given any thought to the “style” drop-down. At least not until this point.
So I pinged some of my associates to ask if they had better insights. The responses I got back were a bit less than conclusive. One response simply said that “this worked like it does in Microsoft Word” and another talked about the three generic T buttons being like “faux” formatting.
What was interesting to me was that of all the folks I asked, there seemed to be no definitive answer. So I went digging for more in order to offer a reasonably coherent answer to the class participant that asked.
So keying off my first response, I opened Microsoft Word. And I was stymied at first because I have Word 2010. It doesn’t seem to offer dialogs like older versions did. It has the infamous “Ribbon”. But fortunately, if you look in the lower right corner of the section and click, voila! A dialog!
See, when someone designs a font for our operating system, they design all the different characters that compose the font. But not only may they design the characters, they may create different sets of characters.
And therein lies the key to explaining this. What the Font style drop-down does is to allow us to select the set of characters within the installed font.
To contrast this, I headed for the Fonts area of Windows. I looked at a font named Milky Way that I had installed. When double clicking the font, Windows only opens a single window to present the single set of fonts. And likewise, if I select this font in Captivate, the drop-down only lists a single item.
I’m a software nut so I tend to install lots of software. Many packages also install additional fonts. So I looked at another font that is installed on my PC. It is named Myriad Pro. And if I try to double-click that particular font when viewing fonts in Windows, I see that several different sets are included as shown below:
So the bottom line on this appears to be that if you select from the drop-down, you are choosing a specific character set inside the font. And that will apply to all the text in the element you have selected. And if you make a selection and use the generic letter Ts (I hate the generic representation and long for the good old and more familiar B I and U) you are advising Captivate to apply its own formatting to make the selected text appear as desired.
And as my class participants stated, you can get some bizarre behavior by mixing the two elements.
Until next time… Rick :)