Academico font: problem with "fl" combination

Apologies if this has already been reported.
I first notice this in a tempo mark “16th shuffle”. The second “f” is extended into the following “l”.
I added a few tests to confirm, first in Academico, then in Times New Roman for comparison.

Trying the same thing in Excel, the problem doesn’t show (above Dorico, below Excel):

Finally I tried with other characters, especially tall ones. The problem doesn’t seem to occur.

So it seems like a problem with the"fl" combination in Dorico.

Incidentally, my monthly copy of BBC Music Magazine, which I read on an iPhone 6s, also seems to have problems with this combination of characters.

It’s just a ligature that has been designed into the font. They are pretty common with character combinations such as fl, ffl, fi, fj, etc., and better DTP software usually supports them. In InDesign it’s pretty easy to not use them, if so desired, as in the final fl in each line below. I’m not sure if there’s an easy way for Dorico to ignore the ligatures that are built into the font or not.


I guess adding a tiny little bit of letter spacing there (0.01) will break the ligature if you really want to avoid it. Perhaps there’s a better way, but I’m not sure how else to do it.

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Dorico doesn’t provide a means to disable the use of ligatures.

Thank you very much, @FredGUnn ,
I’ve read the term '“ligature” so many times, but not understood it until now. Thank you!

Your solution of a small space between characters fixes it in paragraph styles. Unfortunately, tempo text seems to be a font style where that option is not available.

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It’s not a problem: it’s a standard way of displaying letters in ‘serif’ typefaces like Garamond, Times, Caslon, Baskerville, etc, etc…

Usually, NOT displaying the ligature is seen as a problem.


I find the f-ligatures in Academico somewhat ungainly and therefore distracting. Thanks to Fred for a very nice comparison graphic. Fortunately there are a million other fonts to choose from.


Ligatures are meant to make the type easier to read, helping it flow off the page and into your mind. Often their job is to make a clearer version of what would be a problem if the letters were separate. Without any other text besides the letter pairs in this graphic, it’s hard to see, but: in the first example, the dot of the i is uncomfortably close to the tip of the f’s curve, a problem eased by the ligature; and in the second, the long reach of the f’s top curve pushes the l too far away, again fixed by combining the two letters. Sometimes ligatures are even there just to decorate the type.

Of course, the existence and purpose of ligatures is no guarantee that they work in every context. I’ve seen some gorgeous ligatures like Æ fall completely flat when they disrupt the letter-to-letter “rhythm” of an otherwise steady line, for example.

Fred Gunn’s solution is clever if you think they look “out,” to use a jazz term.


Many thanks to everyone who contributed.
I will never look at a font in the same way again!

The problem here with Academico is not the fl ligature, but the missing ffl ligature which makes the unwanted separation between the two f characters more obvious. The solution is either to choose a font that contains the ffl ligature, or prevent the fl ligature from happening.

Instead of inserting a small gap, there is the “zero-width-joiner” character which on mac can be copied from the symbol pallette. I have marked this as a favourite to have quick access to it for exactly such cases.

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