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SIL’s Private Use Area (PUA)
Approximately 248 characters, supporting orthographies in many minority languages, have been approved for
assignment to the SIL corporate PUA. Many technical
linguistic characters have also been approved. Many of these characters are already supported in current
versions of the Encore fonts (SIL fonts) although the Doulos SIL
font is the first to contain these in a Unicode encoded font. Future versions will include additional
SIL Corporate PUA Documentation
SIL Corporate PUA
Reference information on Unicode private-use character assignments used within SIL International. Revised for
A strategy for deprecating SIL
A strategy for deprecating SIL PUA character assignments once characters have been accepted into
Requesting Additions to SIL’s Private Use Area
SIL Private Use Area Registration
The Private Use Areas in the Unicode encoding are a limited resource which needs to be managed carefully. SIL
International has chosen to maintain a central information repository to ensure consistency of field data and
the ability to share and archive data within SIL and cooperating agencies. This page allows for SIL Entities
and FOBAI member organizations (requests from persons outside these parameters will not be accepted) to make
requests to add characters that are not in the Unicode standard to the SIL Corporate
Procedure for Registration of SIL
Entity Private Use Area Assignments
This document describes what the SIL Entity PUA character registration process
consists of and provides a description of procedures for SIL entities to follow in submitting to the NRSI
registrations of the Entity portion of the PUA.
About the PUA and SIL
The Private Use Area (PUA) is a range of codepoints that are
reserved in the Unicode for private-use by software developers and end users who need a special set of
characters for their own purposes. There are 6400 PUA code points available in the Basic Multilingual Plane. Unicode also reserves the so-called “supplementary planes” 15 and 16 for private use. The supplementary
planes consist of an additional 128K codepoints, but require twice as many bits of information to access
them. Click here to go to the SIL PUA Fact Page for additional
Although 6400 codepoints may seem like a lot of “code space,” delegates to the 1998 Computer Technical
Conference (CTC) realized that this area needs to be managed so that BMP codepoints do not run out in the long term. CTC requested The
Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI) to develop a plan for entities to follow. The NRSI’s draft recommendation presented at that conference allows entities to make
free use of the lower portion of the PUA range, while the NRSI manages the upper portion for corporation-wide
use. The goal of this strategy is to maximize the freedom of SIL field entities to implement needed
characters while maintaining a central information repository to ensure consistency of field data and the
ability to share and archive data within SIL.
Because of the far-reaching effects of its decisions, the NRSI requested that a committee be set up to
provide input from other SIL domains. The PUA Committee was chartered in 2004 to be that advisory body to the
NRSI. The committee is made up of members representing various academic domains within SIL. The committee is
also the point of contact for SIL members and entities, and other organizations regarding the PUA. The PUA
Committee’s goals and responsibilities are officially detailed in the Terms of Reference for the SIL Private Use Area Committee, is operating
within the guidelines of the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) and aims to work in tandem
with the UTC.
Contact the PUA committee at: .
Fonts which support the characters in the PUA
Andika is a sans serif, Unicode-compliant font designed especially for literacy use, taking into account the
needs of beginning readers. The focus is on clear, easy-to-perceive letterforms that will not be readily
confused with one another.
Charis SIL is a Unicode-encoded serif font. Besides having a comprehensive inventory of glyphs needed for
almost any Roman- or Cyrillic-based writing system, it also contains the entire inventory of the
International Phonetic Alphabet. It has built-in “smart-font” capabilities, so diacritics are properly
Charis is similar to Bitstream Charter, one of the first fonts designed specifically for laser printers. It
is highly readable and holds up well in less-than-ideal reproduction environments. It also has a full set of
styles - regular, italic, bold, bold italic - and so is more useful in general publishing than Doulos SIL. Charis is a serif, proportionally-spaced font optimized for
readability in long printed documents.
28 Oct 2014 — New Update!
Doulos SIL is a Unicode-encoded serif font similar to Times New Roman. Besides having a comprehensive
inventory of glyphs needed for almost any Roman- or Cyrillic-based writing system, it also contains the
entire inventory of the International Phonetic Alphabet. It has built-in “smart-font” capabilities, so
diacritics are properly placed.
Doulos is very similar to Times/Times New Roman, but only has a single face - regular. It is intended for use
alongside other Times-like fonts where a range of styles (italic, bold) are not needed.
Gentium — a typeface for the
Home page for the Gentium, Gentium Basic and Gentium Plus fonts.
Gentium is a typeface family designed to enable the diverse ethnic groups around the world who use the Latin
script to produce readable, high-quality publications. It supports a wide range of Latin-based alphabets and
includes glyphs that correspond to all the Latin ranges of Unicode.
Industry and the PUA
Handling of PUA Characters in
This article discusses certain issues regarding handling of PUA characters in Microsoft products that users
should be aware of.
Use of the Unicode Private Use
Areas by Others
Information regarding the use of the Unicode private use area by commercial software vendors.
PUA Use in the Adobe Glyph
This page documents PUA code points associated with Postscript Glyph Names in the Adobe Glyph List
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