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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/Scheherazade

Scheherazade

Arabic Script Unicode Font

NRSI Team, 2015-08-19

Note

The Scheherazade page has been moved to a new web site. Please  click here for the new site.













Note

The Scheherazade page has been moved to a new web site. Please  click here for the new site.

Overview

Scheherazade is an extended Arabic script font designed by SIL International for modern Unicode-based systems using either OpenType or  Graphite for complex-script rendering. This version of Scheherazade supports virtually all of the Unicode 8.0 Arabic character repertoire (excluding the Arabic Presentation Forms blocks, which are not recommended for normal use). We are pleased to say that Scheherazade is now available in Regular and Bold weights.

Scheherazade, named after the heroine of the classic Arabian Nights tale, is designed in a similar style to traditional typefaces such as Monotype Naskh, extended to cover the Unicode Arabic repertoire through Unicode 8.0.



Scheherazade provides a “simplified” rendering of Arabic script, using basic connecting glyphs but not including a wide variety of additional ligatures or contextual alternates (only the required lam-alef ligatures). This simplified style is often preferred for clarity, especially in non-Arabic languages, but may not be considered appropriate in situations where a more elaborate style of calligraphy is preferred.

Two fonts from this typeface family are included in this release:

  • Scheherazade Regular
  • Scheherazade Bold

Character repertoire

Unicode blockScheherazade
Arabic
Arabic Supplement
Arabic Extended-A
Arabic Presentation Forms-A
Arabic Presentation Forms-B
Codepage 1252 (Western)1

A selection of characters from the General Punctuation block, such as various-sized spaces, are also supported; a utility such as SIL ViewGlyph can be used to examine the exact repertoire of this font.

Software requirements

Arabic script is a complex and difficult script, and this complexity is compounded by the fact that Arabic script is used for  many different languages and cultures with variations in acceptable calligraphic style. From a computer perspective at least, the technologies used to implement Arabic script are not yet fully mature. The result is that while a given font might work for one set of languages on a given software platform, the same font might not work for other languages or on other platforms. This means that it is very difficult to give an accurate answer to the question of software requirements.

Basic rendering

This Arabic font utilizes OpenType and  Graphite technology to provide rendering information needed by application and system software. Usability of the features provided in these fonts will depend on the exact capabilities of your software.

OpenType

The font supports the OpenType shaping features specified by  Microsoft. The result is that the fonts work pretty well in Microsoft Office XP (or later) as well as in most  Uniscribe-based applications such as  Paratext 7+ and  Toolbox. Uniscribe in versions of Windows prior to Windows 8.1 does not include support for Unicode 6.1 and so does not support the Arabic Extended-A characters (U+08A0..U+08FF), nor a few new characters in the 06xx block. Windows 8.1 supports all Arabic script characters through Unicode 6.1 (including the new  Arabic Extended-A characters). Windows 10 adds support through Unicode 7.0. Mozilla's  Firefox and  Thunderbird do provide OpenType support for the new Arabic Extended-A characters.

 International Components for Unicode (ICU) includes a shaping engine for Arabic text and thus applications such as XeTeX that use ICU Layout will be able to render text using SIL's Arabic fonts. The ICU Layout library used in XeTeX (TeXLive 2012) has been updated to support the Arabic Supplement characters added in Unicode 5.1 (but not 6.1).

The rendering engine in Adobe's InDesign CS6 has also been updated to support the Arabic Supplement characters added in Unicode 5.1 (but not 6.0 or 6.1).

If you are aware of specific software environments where these fonts are known to work (or not work), we would like to hear from you.

Graphite

This font supports the Graphite rendering engine. See  here for a list of applications that support Graphite.

Apple Advanced Typography (AAT)

Scheherazade 1.0rc1 supported AAT rendering. The current version does not support AAT.

Advanced features

Scheherazade provides alternate glyphs for a number of characters. These are implemented in 3 different ways (OpenType,  Graphite and SIL TypeTuner Web) for support in different applications and rendering systems. Ideally the selection of these font features is done in application programs, but many applications do not yet support this functionality. In response to this lack of support for features, a program called TypeTuner (command line version: SIL TypeTuner and web-based version: SIL TypeTuner Web) allows users to create derivative fonts with their own feature settings based on the needs of a local project or region.

These features are documented in this document:

Font Features for Scheherazade 2.100
Lorna Evans, 2015-08-19
Download "Scheherazade-features.pdf", Acrobat PDF document, 308KB [931 downloads]

Language-specific features

Language-specific features are generally turned on by selecting text in an application and setting the language. In English, you can select English UK or English US and different spelling rules are applied depending on which one is selected. The same is true for other languages. Besides spelling rules, setting a language can also affect font behavior. Scheherazade has a set of default behaviors. However, it also contains OpenType and Graphite smart font code to change the behavior based on language selection. In Scheherazade there are language-specific features for four languages. These are Kurdish, Rohingya, Sindhi and Urdu.

The language-specific features that are in the font are described in the Font Features for Scheherazade document above and are illustrated in the table below:

Unfortunately, the UI needed to access the language-specific behavior is not yet present in many applications. Microsoft Word 2010 supports language-specific behavior for Sindhi and Urdu (but not Kurdish or Rohingya). LibreOffice supports three of the languages (all but Rohingya) supported by Scheherazade. Some ICU-based apps, e.g., XeTeX, can access language-specific behavior.

Character variants

This font now supports OpenType's character variant feature. There are approximately 16 character variants in the font. Currently, the only applications that supports character variants are  Mozilla Firefox and  Google Chrome.

These character variants are also available with  Graphite rendering and can also be selected as part of a derivative font with SIL TypeTuner Web.

U+06DD ARABIC END OF AYAH and subtending marks (U+0600..U+0605)

These Arabic characters are intended to enclose or hold one or more digits. Many applications are able to display these properly. Occasionally some applications may require the following hack:

  • precede the entire sequence (subtending mark plus following digits) with
    • U+202D LEFT-TO-RIGHT OVERRIDE OR
    • U+202E RIGHT-TO-LEFT OVERRIDE
  • follow the entire sequence with U+202C POP DIRECTIONAL FORMATTING.

Exactly which of these might work depends on your application. (For typesetting with XeTeX, this can be automated using the “font mapping” feature to insert the directional controls needed.)

Additionally, Scheherazade includes two simplified alternates for U+06DD ARABIC END OF AYAH under the Stylistic Alternates (salt) feature, but at this time we know of no OpenType-based applications that can access these. The two alternates are also available through the Character Variants feature which is supported in Mozilla Firefox.

The subtending marks are also available with  Graphite rendering and the End of ayah variants can be selected as part of a derivative font with SIL TypeTuner Web.

The characters and behavior for the subtending marks are listed below:

BehaviorScheherazade
U+0600 ARABIC NUMBER SIGN 1-3 digits
U+0601 ARABIC SIGN SANAH 1-4 digits
U+0602 ARABIC FOOTNOTE MARKER 1-2 digits
U+0603 ARABIC SIGN SAFHA 1-3 digits
U+0604 ARABIC SIGN SAMVAT 1-4 digits
U+0605 ARABIC NUMBER MARK ABOVE 1-4 digits
U+06DD ARABIC END OF AYAH 1-3 digits; stylistic alternates

License

Scheherazade is released under the SIL Open Font License (OFL), version 1.1. Copyright (c) 2004-2015, SIL International (http://scripts.sil.org/) with Reserved Font Names "Scheherazade" and "SIL".

Font Download

If you agree to the terms of use (described in the license above), then download the fonts from the following links.

Subscribe to SIL Font News announce list

If you wish to receive announcements about updates to Scheherazade, or any of our SIL fonts, please go to this page to subscribe: SIL Font News subscription.

Scheherazade 2.100 release

Scheherazade
Scheherazade Regular and Bold, ver. 2.100 (Graphite and OpenType)
Lorna Evans, 2015-08-20
Download "Scheherazade-2.100.zip", ZIP archive, 1MB [4571 downloads]

If you are uncertain what to do with a .zip file, see Decompression Utilities, Downloading & Font Installation Tips. Within the archive is the font file and documentation plus WOFF fonts and sample web files.

This font can be installed using standard font installation procedures for the given operating-system platform. Note that certain applications may not see the new font immediately. You may have to quit and restart the application for the font to become available.
In case you cannot use Graphite or OpenType features, the Scheherazade font is also available on TypeTuner Web. This will allow you to use the font features with TypeTuned fonts. Make sure Scheherazade is selected, click on Select features and then choose the features you wish to change.
Scheherazade 2.100 developer release
Lorna Evans, 2015-10-05
Download "Scheherazade-2.100-developer.zip", ZIP archive, 2MB [1193 downloads]
This package contains the same files as Scheherazade-2.100.zip plus the FontLab, .otf, VOLT, Graphite and anchor source files.

Ubuntu repository

Ubuntu repository on packages.sil.org Installation Instructions
Ubuntu software repository

This font is available in the SIL software repository for Ubuntu on  http://packages.sil.org.

Ubuntu users can subscribe to this software repository and get current versions and updates automatically. See the  detailed instructions about adding the repository.

List of changes for this version

  • Added Scheherazade Bold font
  • Slight improvements in design of the Regular face:
    • U+060C  ARABIC COMMA
    • U+061B  ARABIC SEMICOLON
    • U+065D  ARABIC REVERSED DAMMA
    • U+0671  ARABIC LETTER ALEF WASLA (improvement in wasla)
    • U+06C1  ARABIC LETTER HEH GOAL
    • U+08AA  ARABIC LETTER REH WITH LOOP
  • Diacritic selection feature of Graphite removed; fixed feature name/value string mismatches
  • Adjusted sidebearings for U+06EF and U+08B2 to be more consistent
  • Fix OT Character variants to work in all language tags
  • Small kerning adjustments
  • Added three Unicode 8.0 characters
    • 08B3 ARABIC LETTER AIN WITH THREE DOTS BELOW
    • 08B4 ARABIC LETTER KAF WITH DOT BELOW
    • 08E3 ARABIC TURNED DAMMA BELOW
  • Added eight characters that are not officially in Unicode. They are in the "pipeline."
    • 08B6 ARABIC LETTER BEH WITH SMALL MEEM ABOVE
    • 08B7 ARABIC LETTER PEH WITH SMALL MEEM ABOVE
    • 08B8 ARABIC LETTER TEH WITH SMALL TEH ABOVE
    • 08B9 ARABIC LETTER REH WITH SMALL NOON ABOVE
    • 08BA ARABIC LETTER YEH WITH TWO DOTS BELOW AND SMALL NOON ABOVE
    • 08BB ARABIC LETTER AFRICAN FEH
    • 08BC ARABIC LETTER AFRICAN QAF
    • 08BD ARABIC LETTER AFRICAN NOON
  • Renamed postscript name of Scheherazade Regular from "Scheherazade" to "Scheherazade-Regular"

Known Issues

No known issues.

Previous versions

Previous versions, including detailed change history, can be found on the Previous Versions page.


1 Inclusion of basic Latin repertoire is provided as a convenience, e.g., for use in menus or for displaying markup in text files; these fonts are not intended for extensive Latin script use.

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