"Size matters, and at 8.25, yours simply isn't big enough," she said....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2009/05/28 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2009/05/28/9646177.aspx

I am going straight to hell for the title on this one, I know it....

The question, asked on a discussion list primarily concerned with WinForms, went something like this:

I am facing some issue regarding showing right Japanese chars. It get truncated from bottom for few chars. Our Application wide font is Segoe UI 8.25 pt.

This is one of those questions that leaves me momentarily stunned; I simply don't know what to say.

An 8pt font is truncating some Japanese characters?

By Design.

By De-freaking-sign, in fact.

Japanese Kanji may not not have as many ideographs in it as the bulk of Chinese Han in use but there are quite a few complex ones in there.

I mean even just for example ones like

(U+4e80) that clearly need a certain minimum number of lines that 8pt won't give -- you can go head and count the minimum number of lines it needs quite easily! -- or 

(U+9f7d) which shows the problem even better -- squeezed down into 8pt seems ridiculous.

Hell, some will look pretty awful squeezed down into 9pt!

If there are areas where Kanji or Han or Hanja need to be displayed, there ,might need to be a bigger size. Perhaps if nothing else a way for users to tweak that application wide font, or at least the controls that can have that text in them.

And that is even before getting into the languages of Southeast and South Asia, that make the East Asian requirements seem positively puny. I mean, any size that truncates a bit of some Kanji will make Tibetan look at best like a decorative monitor smudge....


This blog brought to you by every character in Unicode that does not look so good at 8 pt....

htd on 28 May 2009 4:15 PM:

kanji means han zi 汉字 chinese character

from my past experience, 10pt would be challenging for some commonly used chinese character, 12pt seems fine with truetype resize, 10pt needs some manual adjustment, most time it's readable in the context htough.

Azarien on 1 Jun 2009 4:56 AM:

The 8 pt kanji seem intelligible for me. But I'm using 120 dpi display mode. Remember that there's no fixed point-to-pixel ratio: even Vista exposes some UI distortions when using non-default dpi setting.

And printed on paper with a good printer, 8 pt kanji would look perfectly fine.

htd: kanji is actually 漢字, the 漢 isn't simplified to 汉 in Japanese.

Mark S. on 2 Jun 2009 10:45 AM:

Yes, those tiny sizes are ridiculous.

I sometimes see it claimed that texts in so-called simplified Chinese characters can be printed smaller than those in traditional characters, which is of course generally not true for the reasons you note: either everything is brought up to the size needed for the weakest link (i.e., character with the strokes most likely to blur together) or sins against typography must be committed.

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