# Forcing a ligature in “lowercase” small caps

Adobe Garamond Pro has a very nice swash Q ligature, but it only works for uppercase Q. Since "lowercase" small caps are still based on the uppercase letters, I would like to use this Q for all small caps. Is this possible?

Example in XeLaTeX:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{fontspec}

\setmainfont[%
Contextuals=Alternate,
Style=Alternate,
Ligatures=Rare,
SmallCapsFeatures={LetterSpace=7}]%

\begin{document}

\textsc{Quack quack}

\end{document}


• Does the font have a small-caps version of the alternate? You can only use it if it is there. (You don't seem to be faking small-caps, which is good, so I'm not sure why you think they are 'based on' the upper case.) – cfr Oct 15 '16 at 23:19
• No. If you only fake the Q, it will not match the other small caps. If you fake all small caps, it will match, but be much poorer quality than using the optical small caps. Faked small caps are always inferior to optical small caps. Personally, I try extremely hard to avoid them: if I need small caps, I use a font which has them. – cfr Oct 15 '16 at 23:39
• Look at the two Qs in your image. Notice that the smaller one is not simply a scaled down version of the larger one. The thinnest parts of the letter are relatively thicker, for example. This means that the small caps will look as black as the upper case rather than being greyed out. When small caps are faked, you don't make them as small as real small caps to avoid their becoming too grey. But it is still a compromise and not a satisfactory one: the small caps will still be less black than upper case and a little oversized relative to lower case. A fake Q will look obviously terrible. – cfr Oct 15 '16 at 23:45
• @jon In traditional TeX fonts, ligature has a significantly broader meaning and swashes may be implemented as ligatures in some cases, even when no other letter is involved. For example, end-of-word swashes can be implemented in this way (and I know of no other way to implement them). Technically, two characters are involved, but they certainly need not be two letters or even two glyphs - one may be a boundary marker, for example. Of course, traditional fonts aren't relevant here, but it can certainly make sense to say that Q swash is implemented as a ligature in this font. – cfr Oct 16 '16 at 0:31
• If you feel like buying yourself an expensive gift (just think of it as doing your part for the economy), Adobe’s Garamond Premier Pro Opticals has the long-tailed Q in small caps. So does EB Garamond. – Thérèse Oct 16 '16 at 0:38

Since you're using XeLaTeX, is there a reason for not using the free-of-charge EB Garamond font? Its main text features are very similar to Adobe Garamond. Moreover, it does have a very nice "swash-y" "Q" in both (regular) uppercase and small-caps.
Aside: If you use LuaLaTeX instead of XeLaTeX, you'll need to provide the option Contextuals=Alternate to fontspec in order to get the "swash-y" Q.
% !TEX TS-program = xelatex