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You are here: Type Design > Resources > Gentium
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/Gentium_basic

Gentium Basic Fonts

Victor Gaultney, 2013-12-11

‘Many thanks. I have an aesthetic dislike of “Times” fonts and a scholar‘s budget. Now I have Gentium and I‘m pleased as punch.’

Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic are font families based on the original Gentium design, but with additional weights. The "Book" family is slightly heavier. Both families come with a complete regular, bold, italic and bold italic set of fonts.

Google Web Fonts

Gentium Basic is now available for use on web pages via the  Google Web Fonts service! This makes it very easy for you to use on your website. For more information on this and other ways to use SIL fonts on web sites see Using SIL Fonts on Web Pages.

Table of Contents for this web page:

Supported character ranges

The supported character set, however, is much smaller than for the main Gentium fonts. These "Basic" fonts support only the Basic Latin and Latin-1 Supplement Unicode ranges, plus a selection of the more commonly used extended Latin characters, with miscellaneous diacritical marks, symbols and punctuation. In particular, these fonts do not support:

  • Full extended Latin IPA
  • Complete support for Central European languages
  • Greek
  • Cyrillic

A much more complete character set will be supported in a future version of the complete Gentium fonts. These "Basic" fonts are intended as a way to provide additional weights for basic font users without waiting until the complete Gentium character set is finished. So please don't request additional glyphs or characters to be supported in the Basic fonts - such support will become available in the main Gentium family in the future.

C0 Controls and Basic Latin U+0020..U+007E
C1 Controls and Latin-1 Supplement U+00A0..U+00FF
Latin Extended-A U+0100..U+0103, U+0106..U+010E, U+011A..U+0121, U+0124..U+0125, U+0128..U+012D, U+0130..U+0133, U+0139..U+013A, U+0141..U+0144, U+0147..U+0148, U+014A..U+0155, U+0158..U+015D, U+0160..U+0161, U+0164, U+0168..U+0171, U+00174..U+017E
Latin Extended-B U+0181, U+0186, U+0189..U+018A, U+018E, U+0190, U+0192, U+0197..U+019A, U+019D, U+019F..U+01A1, U+01A9..U+01AA, U+01AF..U+01B0, U+01B3..U+01B4, U+01B7, U+01CD..U+01E3, U+01E6..U+01E9, U+01EE..U+01EF, U+01F4..U+01F5, U+01F8..U+01FF, U+021E..U+021F, U+0226..U+0233, U+0237, U+023D, U+0241..U+0242, U+0244..U+0245, U+024A..U+024B
IPA Extensions U+0251, U+0253..U+0254, U+0256..U+0257, U+0259, U+025B, U+0263, U+0268..U+0269, U+026B, U+0272, U+0275, U+0283, U+0289..U+028A, U+028C, U+0292, U+0294, U+02A0
Spacing Modifier Letters U+02BC, U+02C0, U+02C6..U+02C7, U+02C9..U+02CB, U+02CD, U+02D7..U+02DD
Combining Diacritical Marks U+0300..U+0304,U+0306..U+030C, U+031B, U+0323, U+0327..U+0328, U+0331, U+033F, U+035F
Greek and Coptic U+03A0, U+03A9, U+03C0
Latin Extended Additional U+1E02..U+1E0F, U+1E14..U+1E17, U+1E1C..U+1E27, U+1E2E..U+1E3B, U+1E3E..U+1E49, U+1E4C..U+1E6F, U+1E78..U+1E99, U+1EA0..U+1EF9
General Punctuation U+2011, U+2013..U+2014, U+2018..U+201A, U+201C..U+201E, U+2020..U+2022, U+2026, U+2030, U+2039..U+203A, U+2044
Currency Symbols U+20AC
Letterlike Symbols U+2122..U+2123, U+2126
Mathematical Operators U+2202, U+2205..U+2206, U+220F, U+2211..U+2212, U+2219..U+221A, U+221E, U+222B, U+2248, U+2260, U+2264..U+2265
Geometric Shapes U+25CA, U+25CC
Latin Extended-C U+2C60..U+2C62
Modifier Tone Letters U+A700..U+A71A
Latin Extended-D U+A789..U+A78C
Alphabetic Presentation Forms U+FB01..U+FB02
SIL PUA U+F130..U+F131, U+F195, U+F197, U+F1C8, U+F1E9..U+F1EA, U+F20E..U+F20F, U+F211..U+F212, U+F218..U+F219, U+F21D..U+F21F, U+F242, U+F26A

Supported character ranges


There are also some other limitations of the Basic fonts:

  • They are not completely metric-compatible with the full Gentium family (some glyphs may have different widths, although changes have been minimal)
  • There is no kerning
  • There are no "Alt" versions, or ones with low-profile diacritics
  • The default stacking style for some diacritic combinations does not match Vietnamese-style conventions (although this is available through a OpenType/Graphite feature)
  • No support for TypeTuner.

New Features (v1.1)

There are, however, some wonderful new features that are still missing from the main Gentium family:

  • Bold!
  • Bold Italic!
  • The slightly-heavier Book family!
  • OpenType and Graphite smart code for diacritic placement!
  • A few useful OpenType and Graphite features
  • Support for a few more recent additions to Unicode and the SIL PUA
  • Character assignments are updated to conform to Unicode 5.1

In particular, the Basic fonts support a subset of the smart font features that the Doulos SIL font supports. Those features are:

  • Capital Eng alternates
  • Literacy alternates
  • Capital Y-hook alternate
  • Capital N-left-hook alternate
  • Modifier apostrophe alternate
  • Modifier colon alternate
  • Open o alternate
  • Vietnamese-style diacritics

More detail on the features can be seen in the Doulos SIL Technical Documentation.

Known Problems

We know of the following problems. Please report any other problems you encounter.

  • logicalnot (U+00AC) appears distorted in Bold Italic and Book Italic.
  • Opening the fonts with FontLab 5.0.x, then closing them, crashes FontLab. We are working to get this bug fixed in the next version of FontLab. A workaround is to open the font, save as a .vfb file, close (which still causes a crash). Then restart FontLab and open the .vfb file.


Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic are released under the SIL Open Font License - please read it carefully and do not download the fonts unless you agree to the terms of the license:

Copyright (c) 2003-2008 SIL International ( http://www.sil.org/), with Reserved Font Names "Gentium" and "SIL".


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

Gentium Basic/Gentium Book Basic 1.102 (maintenance release)


The only changes to this version of the font is a minor bug fix to OpenType coverage tables as well as setting the PUA Unicode Range bit. No other changes have been made. The OpenType coverage table fix was done in order to better support Google Web fonts. If the fonts are already working for you, there is no need to update to this version.

Gentium Basic 1.102 (fonts only) - Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux
Victor Gaultney, 2013-12-11
Download "GentiumBasic_1102.zip", ZIP archive, 793KB [11450 downloads]

This is the standard user distribution, including fonts that can be installed on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It does not include source files.

Gentium Basic/Gentium Book Basic 1.1 (official release)

Gentium Basic 1.1 (fonts only) - Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux
Victor Gaultney, 2008-04-03
Download "GentiumBasic_110.zip", ZIP archive, 848KB [139397 downloads]

This is the standard user distribution, including fonts that can be installed on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It does not include source files.

Gentium Basic 1.1 (fonts & sources) - Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux
Victor Gaultney, 2008-04-03
Download "GentiumBasic_110_source.zip", ZIP archive, 1MB [29825 downloads]

This is the standard source distribution, including both the fonts and source files.

Gentium Basic 1.1 (fonts only) - Debian/Ubuntu package (GNU/Linux)
Victor Gaultney, 2008-04-21
Download "ttf-sil-gentium-basic_1.1-1_all.deb", Debian Linux Package, 851KB [8989 downloads]

This is a Debian/Ubuntu/GNU/Linux package, including only the fonts. For more details, including further installation advice and a complete source package, see the Gentium GNU/Linux page.

Gentium Basic 1.1 (fonts only) - Windows installer
Victor Gaultney, 2008-04-16
Download "GentiumBasic_110.exe", Windows application, 711KB [24562 downloads]

This is a Windows installer package containing only the fonts.

We are not preparing a Mac OS 9-specific distribution. Let us know if this is a problem for you.

Installation and Use

Detailed hints for downloading, expanding and installing can be found here.

Note that these packages only include the fonts themselves. If you want to use the fonts to type languages that use special non-European letters, then you may need a separate keyboard manager. More information on this can be found on this page: Some tools and resources for character input.

Information for Developers/Contributors

The source release contains FontLab source files for the eight fonts, but those files do not include the OpenType and Graphite code, as those are inserted after the fonts are generated from FontLab. These files included as a source for the PostScript-style cubic curves. You are welcome, however, to open the font files themselves to gain access to the smart font code, although most editors will not let you edit that code directly. We will provide a richer set of sources for the full Gentium fonts at a later time.

SIL will remain as maintainers of this font project, but we do not intend any further major releases. Our primary efforts will be going into the full Gentium package. Any contributions should be directed toward that project.

© 2003-2017 SIL International, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted elsewhere on this page.
Provided by SIL's Non-Roman Script Initiative. Contact us here.