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Unicode Transition Tutorial Links
Because of special character needs, SIL teams have long used custom encoded fonts. This was often the only
solution and worked fairly well until newer software began "breaking" our solutions. Unicode obviates the
need for most custom encoded fonts. The tutorials in this section were developed for helping people in their
transition to Unicode. You will find tools for helping you figure out what the Unicode encoding should be,
tutorials and tools for actually converting legacy encoded documents to Unicode encoded documents and
tutorials to help you with keyboarding issues. The numbers in parentheses below refer to the folder names
used in the Tutorials directory (part of Setting up
Contents of this webpage:
Smart Font Tutorials
SIL ViewGlyph: Introductory
These are notes for showing how to use the SIL ViewGlyph
utility. The SIL ViewGlyph utility is a font browser — it lets you see what is in a font.
This is a short walkthrough on using the Unibook Character browser. The Unibook Character browser is a small
utility for offline viewing of the character charts and character properties for The Unicode Standard.
Unicode Character Properties
Excel Workbook UnicodeChecker
Various files from the Unicode Character Database (6.1) compiled into an Excel workbook.
— UnicodeChecker for Mac OS X is an application that displays information for every
code point from the Unicode Standard 5.0.
- Setting up your computer There are a number
of applications you need to have installed on your computer in order to follow the tutorials. These
instructions will take you through the complete process.
- (1/2) Intro and Encoding Forms The object of this tutorial is to
introduce you to the tools we'll be using for conversion of data encoded in legacy fonts to Unicode. We'll
use a trivial example to see an overview of the steps in the process.
- TECkit is a toolkit for encoding conversions. It offers a
simple format for describing the mapping between legacy 8-bit encodings and Unicode, and a set of utilities
based on such descriptions for converting text between 8-bit and Unicode encodings. TECkit supports both
Windows and Mac OS platforms. Two different "languages" can be used for writing TECkit mapping tables.
These tutorials use the "TECkit mapping language" rather than the "XML mapping language".
- (3) TECkit mapping language conversion The object of
this tutorial is to go through the process of creating and using a conversion mapping in the TECkit
mapping language. The SIL IPA93 legacy font will be used in this example. The example files are worked
using the TECkit language approach.
- (5a/5b) Structured data conversion (SFM and
Word) Although character encoding conversion is key to transitioning to Unicode, there is also a vital
need to convert structured data. SIL has a proprietary format called "standard format markers" (SFM), and
it is possible (and even probable) that sfms in a single document have different character encodings. These
must be converted with different mapping files to one encoding (Unicode).
- Shoebox to XML (SIL:Shoe) — The laying out and typesetting of interlinear text is one of the
more problematic aspects of linguistics. This program is designed to aid with that task by automating the
process of converting interlinear text, held in Shoebox, into RTF for inclusion in a Word document. There
are actually two programs as part of this system. The first converts the interlinear text into an
intermediate form of standard format and the second is an enhanced Shoebox Standard Format to RTF
converter. A short tutorial is included in the documentation.
- (6) Keyboard Installation and Use In this
overview we give details of how to use Microsoft and Keyman keyboards. Microsoft keyboards are probably
preferable to use if you wish to input text in one of the languages for which they have supplied a
keyboard. If you need a keyboard for some other language, or you do not like Microsoft's layout, you may
want to use a keyboard manager like Tavultesoft's Keyman. Keyman allows you to create your own customized
keyboard, or if you choose, you may use a Keyman keyboard someone else has created.
- (7) Converting Keyman 3.2 keyboards to Keyman 6
Getting your old Keyman 3.2 keyboards to work in Keyman5 or 6 is not difficult. There are just a few
modifications needed, as discussed in the tutorial. Whether you should convert your
keyboards so that they can be used in Windows 2000 and higher is a question that should also be considered. It may be better to encourage users to move to new Unicode keyboards,
rather than continue producing texts which must be converted.
- (8) Keyman 5/6 Tutorial We will be creating a keyboard
which will allow us to type IPA text. Our goal will be to learn how to develop a Keyman keyboard, not to
create a complete keyboard. In this tutorial we are going to begin creating a mnemonic keyboard for
Smart Font Tutorials
Microsoft VOLT UI Overview
This document is to provide an overview and understanding of the VOLT menus and UI.
Microsoft VOLT Tutorial (VOLT –
Visual OpenType Layout Tool)
VOLT is Microsoft’s tool for adding OpenType tables to fonts. It provides a graphical UI that enables a
person to visualize what is going to happen with the substitutions and positioning lookups when they are
created. VOLT also includes a proofing tool that permits the functionality of the font to be tested without
having to install the font in the system.
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