Using XeTeX 3.14159265-2.6-0.99996 (TeX Live 2016), I'm trying to compile a document in Adobe Garamond Premier Pro but the ligatures are non-searchable in the output pdf.

Looking around it seems that the problem is common in XeTeX in different fonts, and they suggest that the problem is in the font because the ligatures glyphs are in the private use area (PUA) of the font.

I did the exercise with Adobe Garamond Pro (another font, don't confuse with Garamond Premier) and the ligatures are searchable.

Adobe Garamond Pro ligatures are searchable:


Adobe Garamond Premiere Pro ligatures are non-searchable:

Garamond Premier

But both fonts have the ligatures in the same Unicode range, "Alphabetic Presentation Forms", which is the right place to put roman ligatures according to the standard.

Adobe Garamond Pro (With searchable ligatures):

Adobe Garamond Pro ffi

Adobe Garamond Premier Pro (With non-searchable ligatures):

Adobe Garamond Premiere Pro ffi

What is the status of this problem in XeTeX, is there any solution yet?


Two examples:

Below is the code to generate two files (each with a font):

\setmainfont{Adobe Garamond Pro}

The sufficient soufflè.

Adobe Garamond Pro

  • 1
    I know how this works in LuaLaTeX with Adobe Garamond Pro. It works because the ligatures have "searchable" ligature names such as f_i and f_f_i, regardless of whether or not they are in the PUA. I don't have the premier font. Are the ligature character names what I just wrote? If not, the issue is with the font (and there may be a TeX solution). But if they are, then the issue is with XeTeX. – user103221 Mar 25 '17 at 23:14
  • How do you find the ligature names in a font? – Victor Mar 25 '17 at 23:23
  • FontForge (fontforge.github.io/en-US) is useful for inspecting fonts, and for more than that. In Adobe Garamond Premier Pro Opticals, the glyph is named f_f_i. – Thérèse Mar 25 '17 at 23:41
  • We need a minimal example, because I can’t reproduce the problem: with both luatex and xetex, the ligature is searchable. – Thérèse Mar 25 '17 at 23:48
  • 2
    Try another PDF reader, before you pin the problem on XeTeX or the font. Different PDF readers do different things. If you pick any PDF reader, and search for issues, you will find them. For example: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/217532/… – user103221 Mar 26 '17 at 0:15

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