NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems
Charis SIL Pages
‘You’ve got some nice font features in there: specifically the literacy variants, and toggle between tone numbers and graphs.’
‘Thank you, SIL Folks, for creating this font and making it available!’
Table of Contents for this web page:
Introduction to the Charis SIL Font Package
Welcome to the Charis SIL font package. 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.
The goal for this product was to provide a single Unicode-based font family that would contain a comprehensive inventory of glyphs needed for almost any Roman- or Cyrillic-based writing system, whether used for phonetic or orthographic needs. In addition, there is provision for other characters and symbols useful to linguists. This font makes use of state-of-the-art font technologies to support complex typographic issues, such as the need to position arbitrary combinations of base glyphs and diacritics optimally.
Four fonts from this typeface family are included in this release:
New!!!! (25 August 2011)
New official release available. This is a minor update that includes official Unicode codepoints for all PUA characters which were added to Unicode 5.2 and 6.0. No new characters were added.
Overview of the Charis SIL Font
This Charis SIL font is essentially the same design as the SIL Charis font first released by SIL in 1997. It has almost the same glyph repertoire as the Doulos SIL font (with the exception of some additions for the italic faces).
We reserve the right to alter metrics in future releases. Future versions of the font may result in different lines, line spacing, or paragraph lengths. Do not expect that a document laid out in one version will always have the same page breaks, etc., in future fonts.
Differences from legacy fonts
The Charis SIL font differs significantly from SIL Charis in the following ways:
The design of the basic character set of Charis SIL is similar (but not identical) to Bitstream Charter, designed by Matthew Carter. The following notice accompanied the Charter fonts:
(c) Copyright 1989-1992, Bitstream Inc., Cambridge, MA.
You are hereby granted permission under all Bitstream propriety rights to use, copy, modify, sublicense, sell, and redistribute the 4 Bitstream Charter (r) Type 1 outline fonts and the 4 Courier Type 1 outline fonts for any purpose and without restriction; provided, that this notice is left intact on all copies of such fonts and that Bitstream's trademark is acknowledged as shown below on all unmodified copies of the 4 Charter Type 1 fonts.
BITSTREAM CHARTER is a registered trademark of Bitstream Inc.
SIL International is the creator of the Charis SIL fonts, and is the owner of all proprietary rights therein.
For a complete list of characters included in Charis SIL, see Supported character ranges.
Type samples showing some of the unusual inventory of glyphs and features can be downloaded here. A sample from one page is shown below.
Charis SIL Sample - Precomposed Latin Diacritics
The "font features" document shows all the alternate glyphs that are available in Charis SIL Regular.
The Graphite features in this font are not currently handled by the CSS support in Firefox 11. There is now, however, a "maintenance" release of the font which can be used in conjunction with Firefox and CSS to access the Graphite features of the font.