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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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You are here: Rendering > Resources > Font FAQ
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/EzraSIL_Issues_v2

Ezra SIL Fonts ver. 2.5 Known Issues

NRSI staff, 2007-06-15

This document contains a list of known technical issues, such as OpenType or type design problems. It also lists changes in type design and OpenType handling for the fonts with version 2.5. If you are a user having trouble with the Ezra SIL fonts, also check the Ezra SIL Frequently Asked Questions for Office 2000/XP — FAQ and Ezra SIL Frequently Asked Questions for Office 2003 — FAQ pages. Keep in mind that in all rendering — displaying of the text — the printed version takes priority. Screen resolution is secondary.

Ezra SIL SR — a Different Style of Marking

The two Ezra SIL fonts are available to provide two different styles of cantillation marks. They were developed together, but there are some differences in how they display markings. This was done intentionally. The Ezra SIL font is supposed to render text identically to the printed BHS. The Ezra SIL SR font has a different style of cantillation marks which may be more familiar to users working with other editions.

  1. Beginning with v2.0, Ezra SIL SR ceased to combine SHIN DOT with a preceding HOLAM.
  2. With v2.0, Ezra SIL SR ceased to center U+0592 HEBREW ACCENT SEGOL above a consonant. SEGOL is placed to the left except in the rare medial instance, when it centers.
  3. Ezra SIL characters and markings follow the printed BHS as much as possible. Ezra SIL SR follows a different style of text.
  4. Ezra SIL differentiates vocalic holam-waw (U+05D5 U+05B9) from consonantal waw-holam (U+05D5 U+05BA) by displaying the holam slightly to the right for the former and slightly to the left for the latter. This is determined by the choice of code point for holam. Ezra SIL SR does not do this.
  5. With v2.0, Ezra SIL SR uses a diamond-shaped mark for the puncta, rather than a round dot.
  6. Ezra SIL shows furtive patah to the bottom right of the consonant, as in the printed BHS. Ezra SIL SR does not do this, but centers it, as for a normal patah.

OpenType Issues

Diacritics do not position properly

Cause 1: The application you are using is not OpenType-aware. In order to work, the application must be able to use the OpenType tables in the font.

Solution: Choose an application that supports OpenType.

Cause 2: Another problem can be that Hebrew is not implemented completely. Microsoft Office 2000 and XP may not correctly and consistently display biblical Hebrew text.

Solution: Upgrade to Office 2003 which has all the necessary code or make sure that earlier versions of Word have access to an updated version of Uniscribe (1.468.4015.0 or above).

Cause 3: Another common cause is formatting issues within the application. In order for diacritic positioning to work correctly, the application must render the complete character sequence in one operation. The most common reason for this condition to fail is if some characters in the sequence have different formatting than the others. If there is any difference at all in the formatting (e.g., in character spacing or color, font names or sizes, etc.) the application may have to break the sequence into separate "runs."

Solution: In order to rule out formatting problems, make absolutely sure that the characters in the sequence are formatted identically. Some applications let you copy the affected text to the clipboard and then use Edit / Paste Special to paste unformatted text back into the document. Another approach, available in Microsoft Word, is to select the text and press  Ctrl - space  to reset all character formatting to the paragraph default. (This assumes your default paragraph style is formatted with Ezra SIL). Note: In Word, even formatting such as Complex Scripts font and Asian Text font settings must match exactly for the entire sequence.

Cause 4: Additionally, the entire run of text must be interpreted as Right-to-Left. If Word does not guess the correct direction, it may mark certain characters as Left-to-Right which shouldn't be. This can sometimes be seen either by words displaying in an incorrect order or by difficulties in selecting text with the mouse so that the highlighting jumps back and forth.

Solution: Directionality can be re-set for any amount of text, including the entire document, by selecting it and running the "Set Run rtl" macro, available in  ABS Macros.

Type Design Issues

There are no current Type Design issues.

Closed Issues

1. There is no justification with wide letters in the font.

If wide letters from the FB section were included in the font as substitutes, this option could not be turned off. It would be better to allow a good typesetting program to handle justification, rather than forcing it to always happen.

2. There are no alternate shapes, such as a long ayin.

U+FB20 is not included in the Unicode canon of Hebrew letters, and Windows doesn't recognise it as right-to-left or allow OpenType instructions to apply to it. In general, the Hebrew characters in the U+FB00 block of Unicode should not be used at all.

Currently, only the  Adobe InDesign program allows users to select which features to turn on or off, similar to Apple's GX or  AAT fonts. We have not implemented alternate forms of glyphs or other features in the Ezra SIL OpenType fonts. They are not AAT-enabled fonts.

3. Various typeface corrections and diacritic placement corrections were made in v2.0 and 2.5. These include spellings of Jerusalem with sheva, various meteg problems, and many other diacritic placement corrections.

4. Some punctuation has been moved to a lower position (question mark, exclam, etc.).

5. HEBREW ACCENT REVIA - U+0597 has been made larger.

6. The HEBREW LIGATURE ALEF LAMED - U+FB4F is now correctly drawn. To access this shape, type Alef-ZWJ-Lamed.

7. To access the shape HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH YOD YOD PATAH, type Yod-ZWJ-Yod-Patah.

8. Do not use any characters defined in the U+FBD0..U+FB4F range of Unicode (Hebrew presentation forms).

9. Earlier versions of the font were not able to move word-medial pashta (U+0599) from its normal left-position to a consonant-medial position to avoid clashes with holam, sin dot and the ascender of lamed. As a result, users had a choice of incorrect display, with the cant to the left, or incorrect encoding (U+05A8). This has been corrected in version 2.5.

10. In earlier versions of Ezra SIL, when the definite article (U+05D4 U+05B7) stood alone, rather than as a bound prefix, the patah was treated as furtive and moved to the right. This has been corrected in version 2.5.

Page History

2007-06-15 LP: updated for Ezra SIL ver. 2.5

2006-02-22 JW: updated

2004-01-21 JW: page creation


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