Poorman's UTF-16 How To?

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Christian's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2005 - 10:57am
Poorman's UTF-16 How To?
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Anyone know how to make a utf-16 font without buying the $2000 Asia Font Studio? I’m doing a Deseret Alphabet font (Unicode 10400-1044F) complete with an OSX keyboard layout for a research project. I’ve played around a little bit with Apple’s command line font tools, dumping out xml, editing, then reincorporating, but it always chokes when I try to change the unicode hex values to anything higher than 8 bit. Letterror’s TTX has the same problem. (I even downloaded and applied their patch—it still chokes with a long integer error) Anyone have any ideas?

Point of interest: OSX comes with a Deseret Alphabet font included—who knew? Hint: it’s in the Symbols font. It’s very ugly, but cool that it’s there. I just need to figure out how to reencode a utf-8 font into a utf-16…

Stephen Coles's picture
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Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am
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Here are some posts on Deseret at Typographica, Christian.

On the Deseret font in OS X: I think once a non-latin script
is added to Unicode it is somehow rolled into the standard
Mac and Windows installs, correct?

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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You can do non-BMP Unicodes in FontLab. You just have to give the glyphs names in the format “u10412” etc. You can’t see the non-BMP Unicode correctly in FontLab, but it should work in the exported font.

Note that the title of your post is a little off; UTF-16 is simply one of the ways of representing Unicode (and requires two code points to represent a non-BMP code). From a font perspective, you don’t use two code points to represent a non-BMP Unicode, but instead use a 32-bit cmap (UTF-32). The font itself will actually have both a 16-bit cmap and a 32-bit cmap.

Cheers,

T

Christian's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2005 - 10:57am
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Thomas: Thanks for the pointers. I didn’t know that about unicode fonts. I guess I need to read up on the unicode standard. I’ve never really worried about it up to this point. I tried your fontlab tip, and it didn’t work. The characters come out mapped differently. Any other ideas?

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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Nope. That was my understanding of how to do it. Maybe I got some key detail wrong. You could try browsing the FontLab user forum on MSN. I know this has been discussed there.

Regards,

T

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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If you have a Windows machine, you can run the fonts through Microsoft’s free VOLT tool. This is a program for adding OpenType Layout features to a font, but it also rewrites cmap tables, so you can use it to map glyphs to non-BMP characters. However, you have to use surrogate pair values, not 32-bit scalar values, so this convertor will be useful.