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Friday, March 10, 2006

Fonts in IE

I wonder if I am the only one left who uses Internet Explorer. Possibly. However, I often sneak a peak at a few blogs on my lunchbreak at work. Here the computers are frozen and I have what I have. IE.

If Polytonic Greek fonts are viewed in IE on a WinXP OS, then accented vowels are going to display as the missing glyph box. As you may know, I love Unicode. So I wonder if I could mention this little detail. span style="font-family:tahoma;" Put this little piece of code inside <> and place in front of your Polytonic Greek text and and there you are.

If what is posted is using combining diacritics it may still look a little wonky but at least it will be all there. More about combining diacritics here and here. If you are happy to have your Greek text display in Mozilla but not IE, then please ignore this post.

Update: Now that it is evident that I am not the only one that dislikes certain limitations in the Tahoma Polytonic Greek range, I wonder if this would work instead. Here is the Greek text in Palatino Linotype from in precomposed text. I hope this is the UBS text. The site does not specify. This text has span style="font-family:palatino linotype;" in angle brackets at the beginning and /span in angle brackets at the end. And large size so you can see those nice little accents.
    καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς [ἐν] ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς, ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ κυρίῳ, εὐχαριστοῦντες πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ. Αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ, Ephesians 5:18-22

Those missing glyph boxes are like a dropped stitch in knitting. I have to go back and pick them up every time. :-)


At Fri Mar 10, 02:21:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...


You are not alone. I don't read greek well, but I read it well enough to hate the missing glyph box. Thanks.

At Fri Mar 10, 03:19:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Thanks, Suzanne. I had forgotten about Tahoma. I now remember that we went through this before. Everything looked fine in Firefox. I do still use IE for many things, but seldom for this blog. I should have checked IE before assuming the Greek in my posted displayed OK. I'm glad you're a font person. We used to live in Fontana, I mean, Montana!


At Fri Mar 10, 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thanks for the tip, Suzanne. I will try to remember it. But you do need to end the Greek with </span> (i.e. "/span" within angle brackets, in case this doesn't come out correctly) or else all the rest of the posting will be in Tahoma, or will be rejected as badly formed.

At Fri Mar 10, 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Looking at the Tahoma in Wayne's corrected Paragraphing Ephesians 5, I must say I much preferred the old look. The Tahoma Greek looks ugly in the context of the rest of the posting. Also it perpetuates a quite recent font design error in using a vertical mark for acute accents, which looks especially bad alongside the sloping grave accents.

In practice this may be the best font which we all have. But a better alternative would be to specify SIL Galatia (a much nicer Greek font) as first priority. For this I think you need to put the Greek inside <span style="font-family:SIL Galatia;tahoma;"> ... </span>. But I haven't checked this. But none of this works in comments, only in postings.

By the way, in this comment I insert a left angle bracket with ampersand then "lt;" and a right angle bracket with ampersand then "gt;"; I just checked that this works in comments, and it probably also works in postings.

At Fri Mar 10, 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Peter lamented:

I must say I much preferred the old look

Me too, Peter. I hope that one of these days Microsoft will distribute a free unicode font with its O/S that has that old look (similar to Times New Roman)for the Greek characters.

For now, though, I'd rather not use a font on this blog which some people don't have.

At Fri Mar 10, 07:24:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

The problem is that Wayne's original text was in combining diacritics. If it had been in precomposed text, that is, accented vowels as all one character, then Palatino Linotype would be fine. But as it is, with combining diacritics PL will not cover the full range. That means for Polytonic Greek text, there are two distinct Unicode encodings. So if the original is precomposed you can use Palatino Linotype, but if it uses combining diacritics, then Tahoma is the only one that I know of.

Yes, it is one of those many messy things. I always input Greek text on a WinXP keyboard and that is always precomposed text so PL is fine for that.

This is clear as mud, right?

What is wanted is a Greek Unicode Polytonic online text of the UBS NT that is in precomposed characters. It must exist somewhere.

The other option is to use no markings at all, but then you have to keyboard that in as well. I prefer it because IMHO the breathings were useful to show word boundaries. However, with spaces between words the breathings are redundant. We know they don't sound any different nowadays anyway. So IMO the breathings are not God breathed and the accents are not either.

At Fri Mar 10, 08:50:00 PM, Blogger son of abraham said...

I agree with Suzanne. It is best to specifiy Palatino Linotype in your coding. Palatino Linotype is a very attractive and clear unicode font, and it is already on the computers of the vast majority of Windows users. It comes with Windows XP. So more than 90% of visitors will see the Greek correctly on their screens if you specify Palatino Linotype. But the other fonts that have been mentioned will be on very few computers.

At Fri Mar 10, 09:02:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

I agree with Suzanne. It is best to specifiy Palatino Linotype in your coding.

Thanks, Michael. It was easy to make the change in the HTML code for my blog post from earlier today. I do like Palatino Linotype better than Tahoma. And now that I'm on the blog itself, I note that Suzanne has updated her post about it also. (I get email notices of blog post comments via RSS feed so I spotted your comments first.)

At Fri Mar 10, 09:48:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Michael and Wayne,

Palatino Linotype is definitely preferable but only if you are starting with precomposed Unicode text. For combining diacritics, which Wayne's post was, only Tahoma is complete. So Wayne's text still has a few glyphs missing when displayed in IE. The original text has to be copied from a precomposed encoding. I know they both look the same when you copy them but they are not the same in their Unicode codepoints.

I think that the supplies a good original.

At Fri Mar 10, 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

So Wayne's text still has a few glyphs missing when displayed in IE.

Well, bummer, dudes and dudettes! Well, fortunately, I can copy and paste yet again. I shouldn't miss too much of my sleep!


At Fri Mar 10, 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

There, those changes took maybe three minutes. The hook us missing from under the word-final omicron, but it's the best I can do for now. Live and learn!

Thanks for your fontabulous help today, Suzanne.

At Sat Mar 11, 07:01:00 AM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

For what it's worth, it wasn't just IE. When I first looked at the post a couple of days ago, I had the "missing glyph box," too. I'm using Safari, of course, as a Mac user.

Thanks for changing the font, Wayne.

At Sat Mar 11, 08:52:00 AM, Blogger DavidR said...

For more nifty Greek in an interesting blog (run your cursor over the forms and hey presto! :) have a peek here at the "kai euthus" blog.

Btw, my favourite (unicode) Greek font by a long way just now is Gentium, now among the SIL family of fonts. Beautiful.

At Sat Mar 11, 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Palatino Linotype is a definite improvement on Tahoma. Thank you. (Some older versions of this font had the breathing marks on rho swapped round, but this problem now seems to have been fixed.) Yes, David, Gentium would be even better, but not many blog readers will have it installed.

There is a UBS Greek NT in precomposed Unicode included with the Paratext package which Wayne and I have, which is available from UBS or SIL from those working in recognised Bible translation projects only. Wayne, you should copy from there as I do. Unfortunately this text is not available to non-translators.

For an alternative, try the Westcott and Hort text from Perseus, and use the "Configure display" link to set your Greek display preference to "Unicode (UTF-8) with pre-combined accents". Or this text from Zack Hubert, which is the Nestle-Aland 26th edition text, and uses Palatino Linotype precomposed Unicode. (Links selected from this site.)

At Sat Mar 11, 03:01:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


The Hubert text is great but the Perseus text does not display properly in IE. However, that does not mean that it can't be used because it is precombined and can be used with a defined font.


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