How to Turn off Ligatures in InDesign

In the early days of printing presses and typeface blocks, letters that would otherwise look strange or take up too much space when placed side-by-side were carved together on the same block. Called ligatures, these interacting letter combinations optimized the rest of the line's spacing and improved the overall readability of the word or the sentence. Adobe InDesign automatically inserts ligatures -- provided the font is designed to support them -- although this setting can be disabled when the feature is unnecessary or unwanted.

ligature in wood type
Several letter combinations make better use of line space as ligatures.
credit: Marek Uliasz/iStock/Getty Images

Character Panel

Step

Expose the Character panel if it isn't already open by clicking the "Window" menu and selecting "Type" followed by "Character."

Step

Use your cursor to highlight the text from which you'd like to remove the ligatures.

Step

Expose the Character panel's "Options" menu. It is a small downward-facing arrow and four horizontal lines located at the top of the panel.

Step

Click "Ligatures" -- which, if enabled, has a check mark beside it -- to disable the feature.

Control Panel

Step

Use your cursor to highlight the text containing the ligatures.

Step

Click on the "Options" menu icon, which is located at the far right of the Control Panel and looks like a small downward-facing arrow and four horizontal lines.

Step

Click "Ligatures" to uncheck and disable the option.