Is Vista Leaving on a Jet Plane [1]?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/09/03 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

During one of the breaks at the last Unicode Technical Committee meeting, Deborah Anderson wanted to ask me a few questions about Vista and Office 2007.

Now Deborah is one of those cool linguists that I enjoy having conversations with when I have the chance, and she is also the Project Leader of the Script Encoding Initiative. She is also one of nicest people in the world, so of course I encouraged her to ask her questions. :-)

What she wanted to know (for both herself and some of her colleagues at the Berkeley Linguistics Department:

This is of course the point where I wish that Deborah was not as nice of a person as she is; were she some evil mean rude person then I wouldn't feel bad giving her bad news for some of these questions....

To take the questions slightly out of order:

Windows Character Map will not support anything off of the Basic Multilingual Plane, in either current versions of Windows or in Vista; there is also no update to the character ranges in charmap, a topic about which I have several amusing stories that I will tell another day. :-)

The Word Insert Symbol dialog, limited in current versions to the BMP, will support Plane 1 and Plane 2 in the Office 2007 version. So you can look at Cambria Math:

(note that it does not have character names or subsets for any of these characters -- this looks like a very minimalist version of support to me!)

Now like I said, Microsoft is not shipping any other Plane 1 fonts, though it is shipping several Plane 2 fonts, such as MingLiU-ExtB, MingLiU_HKSCS-ExtB, and SimSun-ExtB. And although charmap won't show any of the characters in these fonts or any Plane 1 fonts you happen to install, Word's Insert Symbol dialog will do just fine, for either Plane 1:

or Plane 2:

(notice how I am using Code2001 and Code2002 from James Kass for the above samples to show that the tools will work with fonts other than the ones Microsoft ships).

Now Code2001 happens to include support for Old Persian Cuneiform, Tengwar, and Cirth, in the Plane 0 and Plane 15 Private Use Areas, and this gives us the chance to see that the Insert Symbol dialog does not support other supplemental planes:

There is obviously room for some additional improvment here in the future -- like character names for supplementary characters, additional block names, additional planes. But it looks like the immediate needs involving Plane 1 should all be handled adequately for the time being. :-)


This post brought to you by 𐎓 (U+10393, a.k.a. UGARITIC LETTER AIN)

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referenced by

2008/06/16 I Didn't Start Something

2008/05/01 The font folder, like the party, never seems to get smaller

2008/02/27 I thought that font had a lot of supplementary characters? (aka The highest number of tangents I could fit into a single blog)

2006/09/21 Aim higher if you are trying to hit Plane 2!

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