Accented Characters

Alec McAllister ecl6tam at
Thu Sep 12 16:46:27 EDT 1996

On 12 Sep 96 at 15:25, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

>On Thu, 12 Sep 1996, Alec McAllister wrote:
>> >>I'm currently working on TrueType fonts which code accents and 
>> >>characters separately, so any accent(s) can be used with any 
>> >>character.
>> >>
>May I ask how the accents are floated to the appropriate positions over
>the characters, when using applications like MS Word?  Is there some trick
>I don't know?

There are two basic techniques:

a) use WFW's equation editor feature (badly documented and clumsy,
but still there and still useful, especially if you create macros for 
easy use) to overstrike two or more symbols to create accented 
characters; and

b) create fonts in which the accents have zero advance-width (i.e.
the cursor doesn't move when you type them) and which are actually
situated to the left of the cursor, so they appear above, below or
through the previous letter.

One of my fonts uses the latter technique, and produces quite 
reasonable results on its own, i.e. you simply type the character, 
then the accent, and the result is pretty good and perfectly legible. 
It's adequate for first drafts, notes and student work, where the 
occasional off-centre accent over a particularly wide or narrow 
letter doesn't matter much.

However, for really accurate results (i.e. camera-ready copy), it is 
necessary to use overstriking, which enable the writer to centre the 
accents exactly over the characters, regardless of their variable 
width. I've created variants of the basic font to make that easier.

>Secondly, are you aware of the modified Bistream and Utopia fonts
>available via the INDOLOGY web site?  These fonts contain extra accented
>characters (accent+char = single glyph) for work with Indian languages. 

Yes. They are excellent fonts.

My LeedsBit package was also based on Bitstream Charter, which is a
good font, and all the better for being public domain.

My fonts are not in competition with those on the INDOLOGY site. I'm 
trying to do something different. I'm trying to create a very small 
number of fonts which can handle a large number of different 
languages, so they are not tailor-made for transliterating Indian 

My latest fonts also look different. Bitstream Charter is slightly 
"blocky", so I'm trying to modify it into something which looks 
rather more like Times New Roman ... but not so similar that I breach 
Monotype's copyright!  :-)

Best wishes,


Alec McAllister
Arts Computing Development Officer
Computing Service
University of Leeds
United Kingdom
tel 0113 233 3573
email: T.A.McAllister at Leeds.AC.UK

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