1 April 2004

Greek and Hebrew Fonts - Unicode and older

Significant advances in Unicode makes this a good time to switch
to these future-proofed fonts. But some people should wait. This
email is mostly about Hebrew, but it also tells you how to install
Greek fonts. Most of the fonts I discuss are free and easy to use,
and this email includes a 20% discount on Linguist fonts.

1) What is Unicode and OpenType, and why is it important to me?
2) New Hebrew Unicode fonts
3) How to install Unicode Hebrew and Greek fonts in Win'XP
4) Compatibility with Macs and older computers
5) Should I upgrade? And how do I send a document with fonts?

1) What is Unicode and OpenType, and why is it important to me?
In the bad old days, we used to swap golfballs on our typewriters to
create different fonts. When computers came along, Macintosh was the
first to show us real screen fonts using the revolutionary PostScript
format which Microsoft & Apple brought to the masses as TrueType fonts.
These are now understood by all computers (including Palms - see 4 below).
Unicode is the new kid on the block. One Unicode font can replace all
your foreign language fonts, being able to contain coding for Greek,
Hebrew, Chinese etc etc, because it has room for thousands of characters.
You can write a Hebrew and English text with one font (such as Times New
Roman), then print it out in a another (such as Arial), and your foreign
characters have been preserved perfectly.
Well, that's the theory. In practice not all Unicode fonts are the
same. Most of them don't contain all the language sets, and in the case of
Biblical Hebrew there are extra problems, because not every Masoretic
mark is coded for. Font creators can put extra characters in the "Private
Use Area", but this means that each Hebrew font is potentially different.
For 'normal' pointed Hebrew this is no problem, but for cantillation marks
and other special pointing there may be differences between one font and another.
OpenType is a newer technology to enable precise placement of characters.
In Hebrew, the placement of pointing makes all the difference between
an ugly text and a beautiful one.
Ever since Windows 98 and Word 97 all PCs can read and write Unicode.
OpenType is well developed in Windows XP or Windows 2000, and the latest
Uniscribe coding (for exact placement of characters) is only fully developed
in Office 2003.
Macs have almost no Unicode and no OpenType support yet (see 4 below),
but this will surely change. This means that Unicode is the future.
Should you be changing to Unicode fonts?
If you want to future-proof the texts you are writing, yes.
If you want your texts to be read by all computers, not yet.

For more information:
Good overviews about Unicode in general
at http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/
Good overviews about Unicode fonts for Biblical Studies at
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/c/c.htm - good screenshots of various fonts
http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/unicode.htm - esp re Mac and Linux
http://www.scholarsfonts.net/ - esp re Cardo Hebrew & Greek

2) New Hebrew Unicode fonts
January 2004 saw the introduction of two new Hebrew Unicode fonts,
to add to the two main ones which already existed. These four are:

Cardo - a free, general purpose biblical Hebrew & Greek font
The font and keyboard description is written and donated by David Perry
Download it from http://www.scholarsfonts.net/cardofnt.html
This works well with Word 97 or newer versions, and Win'2000 or XP.
(see the instructions for installing it in section 2 below)
An upgrade is coming out soon which will include all the TLG
rarer Greek symbols and the Hebrew cantillation marks.

LaserHebrew in Unicode - costs, but everything is included. 20% off.
See www.linguistsoftware.com/lhebu.htm for examples and details.
These fonts are used to produce the Biblia Hebraica Quinta,
the Oxford Hebrew Bible, Nestle-Aland & UBS NTs. For 20% discount,
paste "Tyndale Tech referral" into the Special Instructions window at https://www.linguistsoftware.com/orders/orders.htm to get LaserHebrew
in Unicode for Windows for $79.96, the BHS in Unicode Word for $47.96
or any other Linguist's Software-manufactured product at 20% off.

SIL Ezra Unicode v.2 using OpenType(tm) - free for individuals
This is based on their older Ezra font. It employs OpenType for
sophisticated placements of accents and other marks.
Uses the KeyMan keyboard (like Cardo).
They don't have rights to the BHS text but give you instructions for
making a text from a public domain version, at

SBL font from Tiro Typeworks, using OpenType(tm) - free for non-profit use
This font employs many new sophisticated capabilities in Windows.
They report there is a small bug with Word which will not be fixed till
Word 2005, but I'm not sure if the same problem also exists with other fonts.
They also plan to include Greek and a BHS text. Look out for these.

3) How to install Unicode Hebrew and Greek in Win'XP
None of the Unicode fonts are difficult to install. If you install one,
you should be able to read the same pointed Hebrew or accented Greek
with other Unicode fonts containg Greek & Hebrew (though there may be
problems with some cantillation and other Masoretic marks).
As well as a font, you need a keyboard program, which tells the
font which of the thousands of characters you want to type.
SBL and Linguist Software both supply their own keyboards.
SIL and Cardo both use the KeyMan keyboard from Tavultesoft.

Cardo Cardo Unicode Hebrew & Greek font
This font is free and works with older PCs as well as new ones.
It includes Greek as well as Hebrew. This, like all Unicode,
only works easily with PCs at present - esp. Win'2000 or XP.
1. Download http://www.scholarsfonts.net/kbdsfnt.exe
Save it on your desktop, from where you can delete it later.
Double-click on it and let it unzip the KeyMan program into a
folder in Program Files (make a mental note of the folder name).
2. Download http://www.scholarsfonts.net/hukbd.exe
Save it on your desktop, from where you can delete it later.
Double-click on it and tell it to expand the files into the
same folder as the KeyMan program.
3. Download http://www.scholarsfonts.net/CARDO71.ZIP
Save it on your desktop, from where you can delete it later.
Expand this into c:\windows\fonts,
or just copy Cardo71s.ttf into c:\windows\fonts
4. Run the KeyMan program and right-click on the KeyMan icon
(in the bottom right corner of the screen).
Click on 'KeyMan Configuration', 'Install keyboard', then
double-click on the Hebrew4.kmx file to install it
- highlight each font in turn (ie Greek, Latin,
Hebrew) and set a key-combination to start them
eg ctrl-alt-g for Greek, ctrl-alt-h for Hebrew
- click on the Options tab and set a key-combination
to reset the normal font (eg ctrl-alt-n)
- tick the "Start language indicator"
5. To type in Hebrew or Greek, click on the KeyMan icon and select
the language (or use the key combination you assigned it).
Consonantal Hebrew works with the windows Unicode fonts, eg Arial or
Times New Roman, but for pointed Hebrew and accented Greek, select
Cardo or another biblical Hebrew font.
If right-to-left is not working with Hebrew, click on 'Start', then
'Control Panels', 'Regional and Language', 'Languages', and tick
'Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages'.
6. The manuals and keyboard layouts are in the Keyman folders.
For Greek see kbdman54.pdf. For Hebrew see Heb-kbd1.doc
Hebrew consonants are fairly straightforward. Dagesh is on
shift, and final forms are automatic (and on Ctrl-Alt).
For short vowels type vowels and precede with "/" for long vowels
or with ";" for shewa combinations.
Note: Keyman 5 is free for all non-commercial use, but Keyman 6
is only free for individual non-commercial use, so if you upgrade,
educational establishments should pay for it.
See http://www.tavultesoft.com/

SBL Hebrew Unicode font
1. Download http://www.sbl-site.org/Fonts/SBLHebrew-Distributionv107.zip
Save it on your desktop, from where you can delete it later.
Double-click on it to open it.
Double-click on BHebSIL.exe and XP offers to unzip the files - let it.
Put the folder in a safe place (eg in Program Files) because you will
need the contents if you ever uninstall the keyboard.
2. Double-click on the unzipped BHebSIL.exe to expand BHebSIL.msi
(or on BHebTiro.exe if you want the Israeli keyboard layout)
Double-click on BHebSIL.msi to install SIL Hebrew
3. Copy the font file (SBL_Hbrw.ttf) into c:\Windows\Fonts
- to do this, click on the file and press Ctrl-C to copy it,
then double-click on the folder c:\Windows\Fonts, select any of the
files and press Ctrl-V to paste the font among them.
4. Activate the keyboard by clicking on Start: Control Panel: Regional
and Language Options, then click on the Languages tab and on Details.
When the "Text Services" box opens, click on Add.
Set the Input Language to 'Hebrew'
Set the Keyboard Layout to 'Biblical Hebrew (SIL)' then click OK
Click on Apply then click on Language Bar and tick 'Show the Language Bar'.
This will put a small blue box on the bottom right of the screen by which
you can switch languages between En[lish] and He[brew].
5. Study the keyboard layout at the end of BiblicalHebrew(SIL)Manual.pdf
Most consonants are easy to find, with final forms in Shift.
Vowels are mapped to English vowesl with 'stronger' vowels in Shift
and shewa combinations in Ctrl-Alt-Shift.
All this looks daunting, but follow the steps. It works.
Installing a Unicode font won't stop your other fonts from working.
SBL and Cardo fonts work well together on the same machine, so try both.

Some Unicode texts to copy and paste:
Greek NT at http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~hancock/nt.zip
LXX at http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~hancock/sept.zip
Syriac NT at http://www.universalist.worldonline.co.uk/syriac/
- plus an offer of a free Syriac Lexicon & parser for Windows
Hebrew OT - buy it from Linguist or wait for the one promised by SBL.
There are instructions for making your own at:

4) Compatibility with Macs and other computers
Unicode is not yet universal and only works easily with
Windows 2000 or XP, though it can be made to work with Win'98SE
and some other systems. The saddest omission is the Mac.

Macintosh problems
Although Mac OS X is compatible with Unicode, no version of
Word on the Mac can write Unicode, though sometimes it can
be persuaded to display it. OpenType (which is used by SIL and
SBL Unicode fonts) is not supported in OS X, and perhaps never
will because Macs use their own font layout technology
(AAT - Apple Advanced Typography). Although Apple may eventually
support OpenType nothing has been announced to say they will.
For more about Unicode on Mac:
- esp re limitations of Mac implementation of Unicode
- tells you how to use Unicode on Mac, ie use another word processor:
TextEdit (free with Mac, but limited formatting capabilities)
Mellel (http://www.redlers.com/mellel.html) (which has superb font control
and does CJK and Arabic/Hebrew, plus characters beyond Plane 0), $30
Nisus Writer Express (http://www.nisus.com/Products/NisusWriter/Express/) $60
ThinkFree Write (http://www.thinkfree.com/index.jsp) $50
**UPDATE** Word 2004 on the Mac now understands Unicode
BUT it has some problems with older fonts such as SPAtlantis!
- see more at http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07849

Some PC problems
Some PC setups which apparently should work, don't. I have found
problems especially with combinations of shewa with long vowels.
Shewa tends to overwrite qamats and produce corruption with tsere.
The corruption is due to the Combining Graphern Joiner (CGJ) which
sometimes produces a circle of dots overlaying the character.
On some systems this fixes itself if you save the document and open
it again, but the fundamental problem is a Word bug which won't be
fixed till Word 2005.
Some systems also dont position Hebrew pointing properly. This is
fixed with the newer version of the Windows Uniscribe Script Processor
(which is in the file USP10.DLL). The version installed with Word 2003
works well, but unfortunately Microsoft does not supply upgrades of
this file and does not allow it to be distributed.
Linguist fonts do not need this upgrade.

5) Should I upgrade? And how do I send a document with fonts?

Sending someone a document with Hebrew fonts
If the other person has a PC which displays Unicode (Win'98SE & Word'97
onwards), there should be no problem, though you may still wish to send them
a copy of your font, just in case. But remember that you may not send a copy
of a commercial font, and that Unicode fonts are typically 300K (Arial Unicode
is 24MB!), instead of 30K for older TrueType fonts.
Or you can send the document with your fonts embedded. To do this:
1. Click on File: Save As...
2. Click on Options and tick 'Embed TrueType fonts.
To make the file size smaller, click "Embed characters in use only".
Or you can send a PDF version of the document.

To upgrade or not to upgrade?
Non-Unicode TrueType fonts are still very useful, because they
can be read (and edited) by Word or any other word processor
on any Mac or PC, and even on a Palm (get the free WordSmith TrueType
reader from http://www.bluenomad.com/ws/prod_wordsmith_details.html).
The Tyndale FontKit (see http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/Fonts.htm)
provides pointed Hebrew and accented Greek with a keyboard which is
intelligent enough to correctly place breathings over diphthongs and
automatically turn letters into their final forms when needed.
BUT the Right-to-Left keyboard does not work with Win'XP or Win'2000.
If you use Win'2000 or XP and don't need to talk to Macs, I encourage you
to install a Unicode font. I think you will be amazed by how easy it is.
You'll still be able to use your old fonts, but you probably won't want to.
If you use a Mac, I encourage you to investigate the word processors
which already employ Unicode (see above).
Personally, I am sticking with Left-to-Right and TrueType fonts using
Word'97 on Win'98 for two more years. In two years, Word will have fixed
their OpenType problem and the Unicode will probably become standard
for Biblical Studies. And Word on the Mac might be using Unicode.

1 comment:

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