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Improve your typography with plugins

You can do a lot with plugins to help clean up or even enhance your content. Some just add extra markup to save you from having to and others use complex calculations to do things that would be horribly time consuming to do manually. I’ve been taking a look at four type plugins today that I think are worth a look.

Typogrify

Typogrify is the best known of these plugins. It is a fairly simple set of filters, most of which give you the opportunity to add styling to quotes and ampersands without needing to remember to add the html yourself.

The feature list quoted on WP Extend is:

  • Widon’t (tries to prevent text ‘widows’, where only one word wraps at the end of a line)
  • Run text through SmartyPants
  • Wrap initial quotes (and French style (Guillemets) quotes) in class=’dquo’ or class=’quo’ depending on if they are single or double
  • Wrap ampersands in class=’amp’
  • Wrap multiple adjacent capital letters in class=’caps’
  • Add a thinspace before and after en and em dashes

Drop-Caps

Drop Caps adds a little extra markup around the initial paragraph character so you can style it as a Drop Cap.

It has some sample CSS with it which you can choose to use or not via an admin panel. You can also choose the types of pages that it is applied to, whether to apply it to exceprts and comments, and you can exclude specific posts from using it if you need to.

WP_Hyphenate

WP-Hyphenate is a new plugin, still a beta, but it looked interesting enough to spur me on to try it, and actually to write this post.

WP-Hyphenate is a pretty advance plugin that gives a lot of control over when to hyphenating posts, widow control, and URL wrapping. It lets you exclude specific tags, or types of words from being hypenated, the number of characters before and after hypenation, whether to wrap URLs, which tags to apply widow control to as well as the number of letters to consider a widow and the number of maximum number of letters to pull from the line above.

Font Burner Control Panel

Font Burner is a service that makes it really easy to use use SIFR on your site with a large number of copyright free fonts. The plugin Font Burner Control Panel, automates the process for WordPress and makes it super simple. You just need to install the plugin, decide which font you want to use (each font as a name code on the Font Burner website that you need to type in) then decide which types of header you want to apply it to.

Example

I tried out all four of these plugins on a post using the default theme. I haven’t necessarily used them to their full effect but the examples below show a basic comparison. The new version is on the left:

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with these but I do quite like them. If you have used one or more of these I would be really interested to hear what you think of it and if you used it to do anything daring.