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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - UnicodeFonts

Unicode fonts / Polices Unicode

The computer world has been moving to use of Unicode-encoded fonts. These "Unicode fonts" may include any subset of the Unicode / ISO-10646 standard; no single font has everything in Unicode.

Here is a list of some "Unicode fonts" that may be of particular use for African languages written with Latin extended character sets ("special characters") or non-Latin scripts.

Latin Script fonts with African extensions / Polices latines avec les extensions africaines

Open Source fonts / Polices libres

Freely downloadable fonts / Polices téléchargeables gratuitement

Fonts bundled with software / Polices vendues avec des logiciels

Fonts for sale / Polices vendues

Latin font features

Most African languages using Latin Script can do with Unicode 2.1, but Unicode 4.1 is better. Unicode 5.0 adds uppercase letters and some diacritics required by a few languages. Proper support for combining diacritics? is hard to find.

  • positioning: Single combining diacritics? are properly positioned around base characters. Example: éɛ́ÉƐ́ vs. éÉ
  • stacking: Combining diacritics? can be stacked? properly. This also includes combination of below and above diacritics. Example: ḗĀ́ẹ́
  • soft i: When followed by a combining diacritics above, the 'i' loses its dot. Example: íɨ́
  • cedilla: The combining cedilla is properly placed when combined with other diacritics. Example: í̧
  • Normalisation Form Decomposite (NFD) = Normalisation Form Composite (NFC): Composed and Decomposed equivalent strings have the exact same shape. Example: D:éḗÁĀ́í̧ẹ́ C:éḗÁĀ́í̧ẹ́
FontCoverageDiacriticsStyles
AfRomanSerif?Unicode 4.1positioning, stacking, soft i, NFD = NFCRegular, Bold
AndikaUnicode 4.1presentRegular
Arial?Unicode 4.1positioning, stacking, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
Arial Unicode MSUnicode 2.1presentRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
Charis SILUnicode 5.0positioning, stacking, soft i, cedilla, NFD = NFCRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
DejaVu SansUnicode 5.0positioning, stacking, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics, Condensed (Regular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics), ExtraLight
DejaVu Sans MonoUnicode 4.1some positioning, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
DejaVu SerifUnicode 4.1positioning, stackingRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics, Condensed (Regular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics)
Doulos SILUnicode 5.0positioning, stacking, soft i, cedilla, NFD = NFCRegular
GentiumUnicode 3.0presentRegular, Italics, Alternative (Regular, Italics)
FreeMonoUnicode 4.1presentRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
FreeSansUnicode 4.1positioning, stacking, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
FreeSerifUnicode 4.1positioning, stacking, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
JunicodeUnicode 4.1positioning, stacking, soft iRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
Linux LibertineUnicode 4.1positioningRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics, Smallcaps (Regular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics)
Lucida GrandeUnicode 4.1presentRegular, Bold
Lucida Sans UnicodeUnicode 4.1presentRegular
Segoe UI?Unicode 4.1positioning, stackingRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
TahomaUnicode 4.1positioning, stackingRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics
Times New RomanUnicode 4.1positioning, stackingRegular, Italics, Bold, Bold Italics

Unicode fonts & "special fonts"

Unicode fonts should be used in preference over 8-bit "special fonts" developed in many countries. The advantage of Unicode over 8-bit special fonts (also called "legacy fonts") is that the Unicode fonts are intercompatible on any computer.

References

AlanWood.net, "Unicode fonts for Windows computers" (includes links to fonts for Mac) http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/fonts.html

Bisharat.net, "A12N: Resources on fonts & keyboards / Ressources sur des polices et claviers," http://www.bisharat.net/A12N/#font

Wikipedia, "Unicode typefaces," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_typefaces

Gallery of Unicode fonts, http://www.wazu.jp/index.html