[XeTeX] Follow-up on CJK (Unicode) and XeTeX (xelatex)

Roger Hart rhart at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Feb 24 18:00:58 CET 2005

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you, again, so very much for your expert and most generous 
assistance, and for your very prompt work-around to wrap CJK 
characters.  It does work, at least as a temporary solution. I was so 
amazed by XeTeX's capabilities that I spent the entire rest of the day 
testing various fonts and packages to try to assess how difficult it 
might be to immediately convert all my work to xelatex!

In offering the following observations, I should note that I am not in 
any way an expert but just an end-user very grateful for all the 
incredible work you and others have done:

First, XeTeX is absolutely amazing in how easy it is to set up fonts. 
For CJK, at least to my knowledge, the only font that can be used is 
Bitstream Cyberbit: the larger character sets in CJK are incompatible 
with many of the usual tools for setting up TeX fonts, and setting up 
even Cyberbit requires considerable effort, resulting in a kind of 
Catch-22, where someone wanting to start using LaTeX with CJK must 
already know a considerable amount about LaTeX just to get CJK 
installed. Using XeTex, simply by typing in a font name, it is possible 
to change, for example, to the 60,000+ character font Simsun (Foundry 
Extended), or to any other style of Chinese characters.

All the Truetype fonts work perfectly as far as I can tell. I should 
note that I did have several problems with the Type 1 (MOE Sung 
Regular, MOE Kai Regular) and some of the OpenType (STSong Std Acro 
Light and MSung Std Acro Light) fonts I have installed on my computer. 
I could not identify the cause of the problem, but the results were 
unpredictable, possible relating to memory errors, for example, 3/4 of 
the characters not printing, English printing without font 
characteristics, English without spaces, etc. But these fonts seem to 
me to be inferior, covering too few characters, and not worth worrying 
about. It seems that the OpenType font Hiragino worked fine. I don't 
have a good PostScript or OpenType traditional Chinese font, and was 
wondering if others might have found ones that work?

For bibliographies, I briefly tested natbib and jurabib. natbib seems 
to work perfectly and writes .bbl files in UTF-8; jurabib does *not* 
write files in UTF-8 and thus failed when CJK was included in entries. 
I don't know if there is a way to fix this.

Unfortunately, the wonderful package ps4pdf does not work under 
xelatex.  I assume it would not be hard to fix or find a work-around.

Did I overlook something simple here, but is there a way to make 
xelatex in Computer Modern (no roman font specified) recognize the 
Unicode characters that seem to work under pdflatex, such as m-dashes, 
smart quotes, German and French characters?

Finally, if I might very humbly submit a request -- and I am truly 
humbled by the work you've done on XeTeX -- could you please make 
proper wrapping of CJK a priority for the next release? I think that 
line-wrapping is a very basic capability, it is easy for someone 
installing XeTeX, on finding CJK lines don't wrap, to just assume that 
XeTeX is not compatible with CJK.

Again, many, many thanks,


> One thing on my "to-do" list for XeTeX is to add an option to 
> automatically allow line-breaking within runs of CJK characters, 
> similarly to automatic hyphenation of English (but naturally, not 
> inserting hyphens!) If/when I get this done, it'll be easy to deal 
> with text like this.
> Meanwhile, a possible approach would be to make the CJK ideographs 
> into "active" characters that insert skip and/or penalty items around 
> themselves, to permit line-breaking. This isn't really a good 
> long-term solution, but it may be useful for the time being. See the 
> attached extended version of the CJK example.

Roger Hart
Assistant Professor, Departments of History and Asian Studies
University of Texas at Austin

office: Room 405, Garrison Hall
office phone: 512-475-7258
department fax: 512-475-7222
email: rhart at mail.utexas.edu


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