Talk:Symbol (typeface)

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There are actually a lot more math and logic symbols in the "upper half" of the 8-bit encoding (not currently shown in the table), and a TrueType version of the font ships with most versions of MS-Windows... AnonMoos 00:44, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Font comparison[edit]

What's the purpose of the comparison table? Times New Roman is in the wrong column and Arial is used under the Times header... --13:14, 11 November 2007

I really don't know the purpose (though it displays as advertised for me). AnonMoos 00:04, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
I've fixed it so that Times New Roman is under the Times header instead of Arial. When I added the comparism table and the comparism of the style of the characters, I intended to compare the Symbol characters with the standard characters of the Latin alphabet, but know I'm realising that that would be like comparing the Greek alphabet with the Latin alphabet, not really having much to do with the Symbol typeface, though it does shows how Symbol is related to the other standard fonts, unlike other fonts like Webdings, which are totally unrelated. So, either AnonMoos or or some other user, feel free to be bold and remove the table if you find it irrelevant. TomasBat 22:09, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

PS standard font[edit]

What are the other three standard fonts available on most PostScript-based printers? --Abdull 11:12, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually that's pretty much historical now -- the "Standard 13" was in PostScript printers during the 1980's and in low-end PostScript printers during the 1990's: Symbol, and regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic versions of Courier, Times, and Helvetica. Nowadays the PDF format has the "Standard 14", and most PostScript renderers have at least the "Standard 35". AnonMoos 13:04, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Just for fun[edit]

Here's "To be or not to be, that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end" encoded as if it were typed in the symbol font:

Το βε ορ νοτ το βε, τηατ ισ τηε θυεστιον; Ωηετηερ 'τισ νοβλερ ιν τηε μινδ το συφφερ Τηε σλινγσ ανδ αρροωσ οφ ουτραγεουσ φορτυνε, Ορ το τακε αρμσ αγαινστ α σεα οφ τρουβλεσ, Ανδ βψ οπποσινγ, ενδ τηεμ. Το διε, το σλεεπ; Νο μορε; ανδ βψ α σλεεπ το σαψ ωε ενδ.

However, it goes without saying that a comparison of similar letterforms in the latin and greek alphabets (nevermind one based on a Y=Ψ equivalence) doesn't belong in this article, except if perhaps a section were to be written on its use in such a way (which does exist - Last Exile does it) - but, then, Wingdings is also used that way. —Random832 20:30, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


It seems that modern systems (mine is Linux), the Symbol font has a unicode mapping; see here (descriptions as they appear on my screen):

  • Code: "m μ µ" (the latter is the unicode "micro" symbol)
  • In default font "m μ µ" (correct glyphs, the mu a bit smaller than the other ones)
  • In Symbol: "m μ µ" (appears as correct glyphs, but in non-matching x heights)
  • Non-existant font for comparison: m μ µ". (appears as default)

The letter table in the article with the symbol font row just appears as A B G etc. Maybe the article should have some info about the unicode mapping (I'm not sure what it is supposed to be). Han-Kwang (t) 12:40, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

The article already provides links to the unicode mappings registered by Adobe and Apple. —Random832 15:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Let me rephrase the question: how is the table in the article supposed to look like, especially the ascii encoded row "for older browsers"? As now, it is more like a test for what your browser is doing, since "older browsers" may display row 4 with Greek glyphs, while newer browsers display row 4 with roman glyphs. Apparently, there is no way that will work in both. I think the article could use more explanation here, about how software on various platforms is supposed to display ascii characters (0x41-0x7A) if Symbol is selected as a font. Han-Kwang (t) 16:11, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

The symbol font actually predates the Unicode encoding standard by 5 or 6 years. However, the table in the article is using Unicode charaters, as far as I can see... AnonMoos (talk) 16:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
The intention of the ascii encoded row in that table is so that even on older browsers (actually, I think it's older versions of the font file itself) there will be at least one row that shows what the symbol font actually looks like. It's not intended as a test, it's intended to make sure that at least one thing works in either case. —Random832 16:42, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
In other words, what it's supposed to look like is: Greek alphabet in default font; Greek alphabet in Times or Times New Roman; and two rows, at least one of which contains the greek alphabet in the symbol font. —Random832 16:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Origins of Symbol Font[edit]

Symbol is much older; I got my first IBM Selectric typewriter with a symbol typeball around 1980, and it had been around for a long time already. I don't have a citation for it's origin, but it is more like 25 years older than Unicode, and was around way before Adobe existed! The symbol element is mentioned in the IBM Selectric article. Jpgs (talk) 00:34, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

I think I've seen that, but in my memory it was a non-proportional lightly-italic sans-serif, without much detailed resemblance to the Adobe font... AnonMoos (talk) 08:00, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Found it -- I'm looking at an early 1980's specimen sheet for "typing elements" which are "suggested for special typing applications", including the "IBM SYMBOL 10 Type element" (order no. 1167061) and the "IBM SYMBOL 12 Type element" (order no. 1167004). The font is not italic (I remembered wrong there), but it's kind of "minimal serif" and non-proportional, with strokes all of constant width. It's really designed to be a math and Greek font which can be mixed with Courier (though the serifs of the narrow Symbol characters are much less prominent than the serifs of the narrow Courier characters). Its design doesn't have much in common that I can see with the Adobe Symbol font, which has proportional character widths, with strong serifs on many upper case characters, and strokes which are not of constant width... AnonMoos (talk) 00:18, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

J and V[edit]

Both the Uppercase and Lowercase forms of J and V have non-standard Greek Letters, does someone know what they are? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

  • J (0x4A) is variant theta (U+03D1)
  • j (0x6A) is a version of phi (compare f = 0x66) [see note below]
  • V (0x56) is terminal sigma (U+03C2, called "stigma" in Modern Greek, though there's a different ancient character by that name)
  • v (0x76) is variant pi (U+03D6)
Various fonts have different ideas of which version of phi goes with which Unicode codepoint. Both of the versions in the table in this article look like versions of U+03C6, the regular phi (at least in the font my browser chooses to use for them). See also U+03D5 (variant phi = a circle with a line through it, which is actually closer to the Classical version). -- added: The actual character codes used in the table are U+03C6 (regular phi) for 0x66, U+03D5 (variant phi) for 0x6A.
Elphion (talk) 02:32, 17 November 2012 (UTC)