HTML Character Set Q&A      Page Info

doc-charset Q & A

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Questions & Answers

How can I display Greek or Math symbols in HTML?

Since math entities are not yet widely supported in HTML, there are a couple of hacks you might be able to use, depending on your audience:
  1. Use the Macintosh character set (but only Mac users would see it).
  2. Use <FONT FACE="Symbol"> (but only Nav3 and IE3 can see it).
Here is a table for as much of the Symbol font as IE3 and Nav3 recognize:

0 space@approxequal`overbar
1!exactly oneAALPHAaalpha
2"for all/everyBBETAbbeta
4$there is anDDELTAddelta
237_____WOMEGAwomega/angular velocity
27;_____[left bracket{left brace
28<_____\therefore|vertical bar
29=_____]right bracket}right brace

How can I specify a different character set?

In your document's <HEAD>, place a META tag with the following syntax:

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html; charset=x-mac-roman">

Very few character set names outside the ISO-8859 family have been standardized, so do not use this method without carefully considering your audience.

Is there an HTML superscript character beyond 3?

For IE3 and Nav3 you can use <SUP>4</SUP>, etc.

Why does your table use GIFs for some standard Latin-1 characters?

The only characters I display as text are those which exist under both MacOS (U.S. charset) and Windows (cp1252 or whatever it is). Any characters which are not common to both (whether missing from Windows or missing from Mac) get a GIF.

I put GIFs for the Unicode characters (the 49 I list) as well. Remember, the page is not a browser test! Its purpose is only so that HTML authors can know which codes to use when creating a document. Everything above #160 is sorted, as I want people to be able to find characters quickly.

Why doesn't the Macintosh use Latin-1?

The ISO-8859-1 character set was introduced in February 1987. The Macintosh computer was introduced more than 3 years earlier, in January 1984. Apple had to define the upper 128 characters for itself, and did so for approximately 224 of the 255 character positions. Adobe Systems, Inc. further refined the upper characters and with System Software 6.0.4 Apple first accepted and used the Adobe character sets.

Unicode, a new ISO international industry standard used to encode written characters makes it possible to encode all of the characters used for written languages throughout the world in one table and is the next major step toward providing a multilanguage Macintosh. Apple was one of the founding contributors to the Unicode consortium and is an active participant. Apple plans to provide support for this ISO standard in future releases of system software.

Where did you get those fabulous pictures?

Well, I'll tell ya -- I created those images myself! The half-dozen or so Latin-1 glyphs that are not in the Macintosh character set were generated (and antialiased) for me according to my specifications by Chris Ridd from the www-html mailing list, and then I copy/pasted those half dozen into my dotted-blue grid backgrounds. The other 4 3/4 dozen I created from scratch.

Walter's Colophon:
I used Color-It! 3.0.5 to create the gridboxes and antialias the text. I drew the yin-yang and peace symbols from scratch. Once I had the glyph boxes finished, I copied each one and converted the clipboard into a GIF using clip2gif 0.7.2.

Chris's Colophon:
The font I used was linotype-times-medium-r-normal on a Sun, as that seemed to reasonably match the font you used; I generated them using xfd at 600 pixels, then used PPM to scale them by 50%. I used your (Walter's!) www-clut when creating the GIFs.

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