Does your font lie? Its dishonety may come home to roost....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2009/01/06 10:01 -05:00, original URI:

Regular reader Pavanaja U B asked over in the Suggestion Box:

In Word 2003 and prior, there was an option "not to display the font name in that font". This was very useful while using hacked non-English TTF fonts which were using the ASCII codes meant for English for chars/glyphs other than English. This featture is not found in Word 2007. Is there some way to do that in Word 2007?



In case you aren't sure what option he is referring to, I'll show it in Word 2003.

If you look at the font list, each font uses the actual font to display the name:

You can go to the Tools menu:

and choose Tools | Customize....

From there go to the Options tab:

If you unclick the List font names in their font checkbox.

Once you do that, the font list shows up with just one font used:

Ok, cool.

Now for most people this is just a performance optimization (slower machines with a huge number of fonts found this option to be pretty important).

If you are in the situation Pavanaja is talking about where you have a font that puts characters on top of the ASCII letters, this feature becomes much more important though -- since the font name will look like gibberish (possibly semi-readable gibberish if the font's mappings are phonetic, but pretty much gibberish nevertheless.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes more than a feature to be useful to keep it from getting taken out of the product.

And this feature has been removed from Word 2007.

As a workaround, you can launch the large Choose Font dialog provided by Word 2007 by hitting CTRL+D.

The font list in this dialog does not use the fonts themselves like the list in the ribbon does.

This is obviously less than ideal since it ignores the ribbon and all, but we do what we must.

This whole issue, and this feature (which has become the only way to do stuff in Word 2007), puts a whole new spin on the issue I mentioned in 'But there's no Latins in our Divehi font, Duckman.' 'Well, they don't *speak* Latin in the Maldives, do they?', since clearly the only thing worse than not including Latins in a font is including something else masquerading as Latins. Some features just get too confused....


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# Adam Twardoch on 6 Jan 2009 12:44 PM:

If an OpenType TT (.ttf) has a "Windows Symbol" character-to-glyph mapping table (i.e. so-called cmap 3.0 table), then Word 2007 will always use a standard UI font rather than the actual font to display the font name.

For OpenType PS (.otf) fonts, things look different. One can put a 3.0 cmap into such a font but the font won't work. There is in fact to "proper" (i.e. specification-conforming) way to create a "Symbol" OpenType PS font.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jan 2009 4:12 PM:

Of course the request was about how to make the existing fonts work by re-enabling a feature, not about how to design fonts to work around what they broke. :-)

# Pavanaja U B on 7 Jan 2009 1:25 AM:

@Adam Twardoch

I was referring to (hacked) TTF and not OTF.

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