[XeTeX] access to composite characters

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Wed Nov 2 14:48:00 CET 2005

On 2 Nov 2005, at 1:31 pm, Malte Rosenau wrote:

> Bernd schrieb am 02.11.05 13:23:12:
>> if I understand you, you just want to use these characters in your  
>> text
>> but the font you use doesn't have it. Right? Easiest solution is  
>> to use
>> a font capable of that like those on the sil.org website or the Arial
>> unicode font (av. at sf.net). Most of Times has it also (not the  
>> Times
>> New Roman, though) To enter those letters use the Latin extended
>> keyboard available on http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/ 
>> LatinExtended/
>> to get the dot press alt-shift-j and then the letter you want (h for
>> example...) and so on.
>> hope that helps.
> Sure, that would help. I could also easily hack the font and add  
> the missing glyph
> myself, but I consider that cheating.

It's also dependent on the font licensing terms.

> There must be an easy way to declare a fake
> composite character for missing glyphs in XeTeX.

And that wouldn't be "cheating"? :)

Using a font that actually supports the Unicode characters you want  
to use will mean that the PDF you create contains correct Unicode  
data, which you can copy and paste, search, etc.

You can "fake it" by centering a period under the letter, for  
example, using macros such as those Musa has posted -- but the  
results may be less than ideal, unless you're prepared to spend the  
time tinkering with positioning until you get it exactly how you  
want. And although the result may look correct, it's less useful  
because you can hardly expect a PDF reader to successfully search for  
a word containing such a "faked" character, or Spotlight to index it  
properly, etc.

Sorry, up to this point the focus of XeTeX has been on giving you  
access to what's in your fonts, rather than ways to make up for what  
isn't! So working around this is a bit of a pain.


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