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Superscript/Subscript Numbers

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Superscript/Subscript Numbers

Lynn/Brandon,

I would like to use a readily available character entity but the "iso-num"
entity file does not currently include the character entities that I need.
For example a superscript 4. I will access the unicode reference that
Brandon provided to find the desired information for the missing
superscript character entities. I will add these to the iso-num entity
file and hopefully this will cause the missing character entities to
appear in Epic's character entity selection panel. I hope it works!

Thanks guys.

Sean

Lynn Hales <lhales@csc.com>
Sent by: owner-adepters@arbortext.com
03/14/2005 08:21 AM
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Re: Superscript/Subscript Numbers

Sean,
Alas, nothing can be so simple. Well, maybe some things can, but
when it comes to characters, fonts and such, I wouldn't bet on it. 😉
The problem with your logic is that while the superscript 1, 2 and 3
are relatively low-numbered characters (codes 185, 178 and 179,
respectively), and thus have corresponding glyphs included in most
fonts, the higher numerals don't appear until much later in the Unicode
spec. Because most of those fonts weren't originally designed to
include all of Unicode (understandably so, as it would make them huge
and expensive, a la the 24MB file that makes up Arial Unicode MS), they
simply don't include glyphs for these "obscure" characters.
So, to make this approach work, you'd need to get Epic to switch, at
least for this character, to a font that has an appropriate glyph for
it. As Gary pointed out, there are ways to do this in newer versions of
Epic, but no one will promise how good it might look to suddenly switch
to a different font for a single character. So, it is generally
considered that the better approach is to wrap the characters that
should be superscripted in a tag so that the stylesheet can reduce the
font size by a certain percentage (or similar) and offset the baseline,
thus achieving the desired effect.
As I mentioned before, there is another advantage to using an
element to tag the character to be superscripted. Your document will be
far more self-describing. So, down the road, when some super-whiz-bang
document viewer comes along and you want to format your content to play
in it, not necessarily using Epic, you'll be likely to have far fewer
headaches getting your content to format correctly if you just need to
handle the <superscript> element (or whatever you call it) correctly,
rather than having to look for these "odd" characters and do something
special (and probably really difficult) with them.
In summation, character entities are right up near tables on the
"evil" list. Probably a close cousin of the dark one. 😉

Brandon Ibach
Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Cocoa Beach, FL
321-784-7432
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