Typing Unicode

Fraser Gordon fraser.gordon at runrev.com
Wed Apr 9 08:36:24 EDT 2014

On 9 Apr 2014, at 13:27, Graham Samuel <livfoss at mac.com> wrote:

> At the moment, since my own required set of Unicode-only (non-normal keyboard) characters is quite limited, I'm going for a little window (stack) with a grid of characters that can be picked by the mouse (or if there is a mobile version, your finger). This is fine I reckon up to a grid of say 4 x 4 characters, which is in fact more than I currently need, and which would be entirely cross-platform since the glyphs can be represented as images and don't have to be capable of being displayed natively. Pretty much like a simplified colour picker. But it wouldn't do for a complete alphabet in a foreign language - I guess that just has to be a soft keyboard, no?

Most platforms offer the ability to switch keyboard layouts and can make use of on-screen keyboards and other input method editors (IMEs). As a matter of personal preference, I think a palette works quite well for mathematical symbols that aren't likely to be found on keyboards (most equation editors I've used take this route). Saying that, I do also like the convenience of LaTeX-style \commands when entering long equations ;)

> Incidentally, if Unicode 'just works', what actually is the capability of say Mavericks and Windows 8 of displaying 'specialised' glyphs (like maths and logic symbols) or for that matter, Sanskrit? Anyone know?

It all depends on the font. I believe most common fonts have fairly complete support for the "mathematical symbols" part of Unicode. Fallback fonts mean that they should continue to display even if an incomplete font is selected. There are also some free fonts available that have the goal of covering the entire Unicode repertoire but their quality is variable.


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