MS Shell Dlg is __________?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/10/16 10:16 -04:00, original URI:

Today I am going to try to clear out some Contact link questions.... 

The next Contact link question that came in was:

a frined an i are making msn logs on ms word. the txt msn uses is ms shell dlg and we cant find out how ot write in that text can u help us with this problem?

This is a topic I discussed back in March of last year in What about logical fonts?, though it was kind of buried in a bunch of other text. Basically, the font maps as follows:

On Windows NT 4.0/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista, both map to Unicode-based TrueType fonts. MS Shell Dlg uses Microsoft Sans Serif (which is distinct from MS Sans Serif) for Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Thai characters; MS UI Gothic for Japanese; Gulim for Korean; SimSun for Simplified Chinese; PMingliu for Traditional Chinese; etc.

There is one additional point in there -- in the case of Japanese, MS UI Gothic will be preferred instead of Microsoft Sans Serif even for the Latin characters, due to the overall preference for this font over Microsoft Sans Serif.

But if one is trying to create that effect in a web page, it may well be that there is no direct way to do it since language specific font settings in web pages can be a challenge. Can MS Shell Dlg be specified directly for the font face name?

And if so then what happen for non-Microsoft platforms that may have no idea what to do with that font face name?

That post has other relevant information about this font and how it works.


This post brought to you by (U+1200, a.k,a. ETHIOPIC SYLLABLE HA)

# Ben Cooke on 16 Oct 2007 12:57 PM:

The HTML/CSS/etc specs assume, I think, that browsers will make a sensible decision when it comes to the selection of a font family.

Most (all?) graphical browsers allow the user to choose a font to use for each supported script. In theory, the browser is supposed to try the web page's selected font and then fall back on a suitable font of its own choosing if characters are unavailable.

One presumes (!) that browsers will first try all of the fonts listed in font-family first before falling back on a preset font.

A side-effect of this is that Wingdings doesn't work as most people expect in some browsers. Since Wingdings doesn't actually contain any latin characters browsers tend to fall back on their configured font for latin text. I'm told that Internet Explorer has some sort of special case to make Wingdings work there.

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