Talk:Small caps

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Small caps on wikipedia[edit]

Small caps can be designated in a Wikipedia article by the template {{Smallcaps|Text to appear in Small Caps}}, e.g.:

Text to appear in Small Caps

moved from main page --DieBuche (talk) 08:51, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


Hand-lettered tombstones and coin designs are not typography, so I'm puzzled how one can say: "The text of a formal monumental inscription or the legend on a coin are often rendered in small caps" if there's no context in which these capitals can be declared small. They are simply "all caps". Hotlorp 14:05, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I think that there is enough tontext on a coin or tombstone. If the first letters in sentences and proper nouns are larger capitalas than the rest of the capitals then you have small caps. Jeltz talk 15:09, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

non-small-cap font[edit]

As the article mentions, small-caps fonts have a different aspect ratio from "normal" fonts' capital letters. Technically, anyone could call anything a "non-small-caps" font, and just claim that it was designed to look funny; but it makes more sense, typographically speaking, IMHO, to call any font that looks like small caps a small-caps font. For example, on the Lincoln penny, the phrases "IN GOD WE TRUST" and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" are set in small caps; the phrase "ONE CENT" is definitely not. ("Liberty" and "United States of America" seem to me like they could go either way.) --Quuxplusone 06:09, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

small cap font[edit]

On my system, the following sentence is not shown with small capitals:

An elementary example is Don QUIXOTE de La Mancha. Similarly, they are used for those languages in which the surname comes first, such as the romanization MAO Zedong.

Isn't it bad to use <small> tags? For example:

An elementary example is Don QUIXOTE de La Mancha. Similarly, they are used for those languages in which the surname comes first, such as the romanization MAO Zedong.

That works fine. - TAKASUGI Shinji 03:51, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

An old version of this article had used <small>, but IMO the current version is better. It's correct, after all, and that's important in an encyclopedia. If you're not seeing small caps, then: (1) I think that's because you have an old browser; and (2) you should be seeing "Don QUIXOTE de La Mancha" (all caps, not small), which is a graceful degradation. I think the proportion of Wikipedia users who regularly use browsers that can display <small> but not <span style> is small enough that it's worth snubbing them in order to present a correct display to the users with up-to-date graphical browsers. (The Lynx users won't care either way.) --Quuxplusone 05:59, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better to use
<span style="font-variant:small-caps;">Lord</span>
instead of
L<span style="font-variant:small-caps;text-transform:lowercase">ORD</span>
? It makes more sense that way. --Ampersand2006 ( & ) 18:00, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes Ampersand, in fact, your coding is the correct CSS coding in this case, and the other is a work-around to work with older browsers.HWSager (talk) 07:38, 29 July 2012 (UTC)HWSager
If you're not seeing small caps, then: (1) I think that's because you have an old browser; and (2) you should be seeing "Don QUIXOTE de La Mancha" (all caps, not small), which is a graceful degradation. --Quuxplusone 01:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC), quoting from Quuxplusone 05:59, 19 April 2006 (UTC)


User:Remember the dot asks: Why don't we remove the image and just write

An example of caps and small caps:
"This text is formatted in small caps," said Jane Doe, who is, incidentally, the mayor of Anytown, USA.

? (Firefox users will at this point be shielding their gaze from the ugliness of that font. See a screenshot here.)

The simple answer: That block of HTML doesn't tell anyone what small caps looks like. Instead, it tells people what their Web browser thinks small caps looks like. Which is a completely different kettle of fish. Also, of course, the HTML "example" will be blatantly lying to Lynx or pre-CSS Netscape users, who will not be seeing small caps at all. The benefits of using a real image are two in number: It is authoritative, and it is widely accessible. Browser-specific CSS tags do not have those advantages.

Hope this helps. --Quuxplusone 04:29, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Answer seems reasonable to me. By the way, the screenshot link seems to be broken. — DIV ( 07:39, 8 July 2007 (UTC))

From the German[edit]

From the German article, paraphrased:

In Anglo-Saxon typography the small capitals are roughly 10% larger than the minuscule.
OpenType has two features relating to small capitals: „Small Caps“ for the enlarged small capitals and „Petite Caps“ for the normal-size small capitals.

Presumably the "enlarged" and "normal-size" are written from the German point of view.
I suggest that this could be added. Also suggest that a Petite Caps article or section be added (even if only redirect?). — DIV ( 07:51, 8 July 2007 (UTC)) {Amended 08:02, 8 July 2007 (UTC)}

Authentic (digital) small caps[edit]

We read that most modern digital fonts do not have a small-caps case. The reader might be interested to read of exceptions. Well [cough] I for one would be interested to read of exceptions that are good and also [legally] either free or inexpensive. -- Hoary 23:23, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

I can't think of any that are notable for purposes of the encyclopedia article (although there may be such). We shouldn't be adding them in here as a practical aid for designers, since Wikipedia is not a directory or a guidebook. Michael Z. 2007-07-14 15:27 Z

All caps is not small caps[edit]

The text of a formal monumental inscription or the legend on a coin are often rendered in small caps: "Sir Christopher Wren's tomb in St Paul's Cathedral reads, in Latin, simply SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE" (approximately meaning "If you are looking for his monument, look around" – referring to the cathedral itself, which he designed).

Here's a photo. An inscription in Roman square capitals is not in small capitals, even if it includes letters of various heights. Small caps are capitals which are the same size but of distinctive appearance from surrounding minuscule letters. As you can see by the last line which includes capital and small letters, these are plain capitals. Michael Z. 2008-05-21 19:48 z

True small caps and unicode[edit]

There are two separate sections on this article, one describing "true" small caps the other unicode. Are these the same? If so, Super/subscript letters have the same issue of looking thin when not unicode. --Squidonius (talk) 04:09, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

True Small Caps[edit]

In traditional typesetting, which includes Mergenthaler Linotype and the early computerized typesetting systems like the RCA VideoComp that were intended to mimic and replace traditional systems, small cap letters were the same horizontal weight as either the capital letters (caps) or lowercase letters of the font, but reduced in height and proportionally slightly broader than caps of the reduced height.

I must agree modern typesetting methods that simply reduce the size (and weight) of caps to produce small caps look horrible to traditionalists. Especially when capital letters in reduced pointsize are glaringly lighter than lowercase letters. I was hired into the computerised typesetting department at Kingsport Press in 1969 (computer IBM 1130, output device Mergenthaler linecaster; 1970-1987 output device RCA (later III) VideoComp (Hell Digiset). Our in-house style manuals were written by compositors and proofreaders with 1923-1969 experience in traditional styles. Many Mergenthaler Linotype fonts (molds for casting molten metal) and the VideoComp VideoFonts (digital CRT stroking data) had a seperate font subset option for Small Caps and Old Style figures: small caps were (obviously) smaller in height than capital letters but were the same weight or thickness as the caps and lowercase. 1987 marked the switch over to Linotron 202 and later to Postscript, and most modern composition packages simple used caps reduced in pointsize. The difference is glaring to one used to details of typesetting. To produce patches (eg updated copyright pages for reprints) to match the style of the rest of the book, we often set the caps from the regular face of the font and the small caps from the bold face reduced pointsize and slightly broadened setwidth. Naaman Brown (talk) 14:01, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

"simply reduce the size" is not a modern typesetting method, but a bad one. Nearly all professional fonts have proper small caps. --DieBuche (talk) 10:16, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Missing Caps[edit]

It says that the only missing small caps are Q and X, but I've seen ǫ and x? --Gabo M.C. 200 (talk) 04:08, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

That's not a "q"; it's U+01EB ǫ LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH OGONEK. And that's not a small caps "x"; it's just lowercase which happens to look similar to petite caps version. -- Beland (talk) 15:20, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Don't all of the characters in that section just happen to look similar to petite caps versions? DenisMoskowitz (talk) 18:25, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Petite caps[edit]

The article on "petite caps" should be merged into this article on "small caps", since this (current) article gives plenty of relevant info on petite caps too, in fact, much better info than the "petite caps" article.HWSager (talk) 07:24, 29 July 2012 (UTC)HWSager

American road signs[edit]

I was about to add a comment that small caps are used on U.S. route marker "auxiliaries" designating direction, per the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices – see this – but, unless I'm missing something, the MUTCD doesn't outright state that capitals must be used, it just implies it through the examples. Is that still enough evidence? Mapsax (talk) 15:38, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Much confusion between case and typography[edit]

The article contains much confusion between case transformation to uppercase and typographical rendering of a lowercase character with a small caps glyph. I have cleaned this up.  ‑‑ bs (2017‑Aug‑04 12:37)  —Preceding undated comment added 12:37, 4 August 2017 (UTC)