The song[ and the answer] remains the same

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/18 17:01 -04:00, original URI:

The question Asaf asked via the Contact link:

Hello Michael,

I was going over your blog, and I'm very impressed at the amount of information and depth that you have posted. Saying that, from reading some of the material, I was trying to figure out if it is possible to change the default Fallback fonts in Uniscribe, or if there's a way to override it.

My problem particularly is that I can't stand the default Hebrew font that is embedded in Microsoft Sans Serif. I'm looking for a way to change it to Aharoni Bold instead.

I'd be very thankful if you could point me to where I can read about it. or if you told me that it's not possible (well, I would be thankful then, but not happy:)

And forgive me if I'm emailing out of order here.


This is indeed a question that has asked before, even here. I talked about it in When a font looks like crap.... when Ravi asked kind of the same question about Uniscribe's pick for Telugu, Gautami.

Which is not to say that the reasons that Ravi thought the Telugu Gautami looked like crap are the same reasons that Asaf can't stand the Hebrew in Microsoft Sans Serif -- in fact they are probably very different (the objection that people usually have to the Indic fonts has more to do with the simplification "liberties" taken for Indic UI fonts), but the reasons don't really affect how easy or hard it would be to override the Uniscribe font fallback list. It would only influence the amount of sympathy people might have for the request. :-)

The same complaint (with various underlying reasons for the complaint and differences inspiring the problem) came up in

and so on.

Now actually what Uniscribe does is provide a higher level set of functions that will do everything by its own sense of rules. If you don't like those rules, then you are free to do what applications such as the various pieces of Microsoft Office do -- call the lower level Uniscribe functions and do all of the fallback yourself.

Unfortunately what people want when they ask this question is the best of both worlds -- a completely configurable font fallback list used by the higher level Uniscribe functions whose functionality gets picked up by the rest of the OS automatically -- for the ease of a "change a registry key and make a language beautiful" kind of thing.

But the answer is still the same.

You can't do it.

Sorry about that. but no matter how many ways people ask or how many languages they ask about, the answer ain't gonna change.

This blog brought to you by ת (U+05ea, aka HEBREW LETTER TAV)

Mihai on 19 May 2008 1:34 PM:

"You can't do it."

Ok, we got it.

But what about a feature request? :-)

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referenced by

2008/05/22 "Fall over" is not the same thing as "fall back"

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