Typically we enter extended characters through the Type > Glyphs. You'll need to find a font that supports the specific character you need. In my example below, Minion Pro has the character for the L, l and t for example.
I can't figure out how to isolate them, but when I Show all Fonts, Minion Pro has a few more tucked in there, including a d.
Well, the glyph I have in mind can be used in combination with just any given character, it seems. I will try to paste an example below. All those pairs should appear as just one character each, to be checked with your cursor and/or select + arrow key.
So in InDesign, you'll have to track down the font that has the characters you need.
I'm not familiar with the usage of this specific set of glyphs—does it relate to a specific language? That may help you to locate the font that will have the characters that you need.
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Here's how to find the font which uses the glyph (IF YOU ARE ON A MAC) and then insert it:
Open up what used to be called the Character Viewer, and is now called Show Emoji & Symbols from the flag menu. The steps are shown in this article:
In the Character Viewer search for the Unicode name and it shows in the Unicode Name section (shown below). The Font Variation shows all the fonts which contain the glyph.
Click on one of the font variations and it shows the font name (the first one is Arial):
Now in InDesign, choose the font which contains the glyph. Open the Glyphs panel and search by Unicode name and it will show up:
Now double-clicking will insert the character.
This appears to be a zero-width character so you may have to use kerning to position it with the character which is to its left.
NOTE: This character is not combined with the character to its left. But a font could use this glyph in such a way. I don't think InDesign has any way of doing the combining. It would have to be done by the font designer.
Well now, look at that! This doesn't satisfy the OPs statement that he wants a single character without finding a font that has it, but it certainly works perfectly as two characters—no kerning in the Safari window obviously. Thank you, Steve. Now when are these used?
which adds an apostrophe to the right of a character in a way that it somehow remains to be just one character
Well, I I don't know about that. You only get that in the case of a precomposed glyph. Something with a Unicode identity of "LOWERCASE L WITH COMMA ABOVE RIGHT" or some such. However, in some cases, the combining characters display as one but are actually two. Like so: if I copy the b-with-comma-above-right from Barb's sample and paste it into ID, and select it, I select one glyph. It's the LOWERCASE B. If I whack Delete, the whole composed glyph is deleted. But if I place my insertion point right after the composed glyph and whack the backspace key, it deletes the combining comma, but leaves the lowercase b behind.
This is essentially because that's how the text-rendering engine in InDesign works. That is not how it works if I'd keyed it into MS Word, because MS Word uses a different text-rendering engine. I know of no font that has that has precomposed glyphs for all such variations of combining characters. So, you either have to make your own font that has every permutation of glyph and accent as a precomposed glyph, or trust a font that has the combining glyphs, and test your text for correct display in every possible context. (Like, if your b-plus-comma-above-right has to work on a web page, you test it with a wide variety of browsers on a wide variety of platforms.)
The obvious question here: How to key the glyph into my text?
Some other options: If you're keying in a language that has people who use this glyph combination (be they scholars of dead languages or speakers of minority languages), then you install an input method that supports it. Keyman is the name to know here; I've never encountered a language that it didn't support, and I encounter pretty much all living, written languages, at some point in the game.
So maybe you're a scholar working in a dead historical language, or a constructed language of your own devising (for a linguistics class, or a novel, or a game or something). If so, you can use a Tavultesoft product to make your own input method, even. As an aside, Steve and Barb, that's my guess: Steve is working on a conlang and devising his own writing system. How'd I do?
So if that's the case, or if you generally have a need to input a wide variety of glyphs, but you don't want to develop your own input method, you can use Peter Kahrel's useful compose.jsx script. That's what I'd do, in your shoes.
Unfortunately my InDesign version (CS6, v 8.1, Win 10) doesn't seem to have a search feature within the glyphs window.
Yes, the search field for the Glyphs panel was added in InDesign CC 2015.2 (November of 2015, by the way).
If you look at the InDesignSecrets article I wrote, it references at the bottom a Windows utility called BabelMap that Joel Cherney recommended for working with glyphs in Windows:
@Joel, I'm not developing my own writing system.
But I've been a font junky since Adobe started distributing PostScript Type 1 fonts in the late 80s. Wonderful to have such access to so many glyphs in so many fonts! And I love finding utilities that let me look at what's inside them.