How do I decide what Codepage to use?

carlsonfam's picture

Hello everyone! I am an extreme newbie, so please forgive my total ignorance. I'm a graphic designer who is just starting to experiment with font design for fun. I'm using TypeTool 3 and I have a question about codepages. How does one go about deciding what codepage to build a font in? TypeTool defaults to 'MS Windows 1252 Western' but I don't understand how or why I would choose that codepage over say 'Latin 2' (of course, Cyrillic, Greek, Turkish, etc codepages have an obvious use). Like I said, I'm sure the answer is obvious - thank you so much for your help!

cuttlefish's picture

Unless you need to support legacy systems, the various encodings serve as more of a tool to subset the full Unicode range down to something fathomable.

For a basic western Latin font, I suggest switching among several encodings to form a character set that is a superset of Latin 1 (iso 8859-1), Latin 0 (iso 8859-15), MacRoman and Windows Latin (MS Windows 1252 Western). I use FontForge so the menu labels are slightly different, but I think they correspond.

There are certain glyph slots that need to be filled for Windows and maybe other OSs for a font to be recognized as valid, and I am reasonably sure that the above superset covers those (and much more, perhaps too much). I'll have to pore through some references to confirm. I should have this committed to memory but that doesn't work as well as it used to.

Aside from that, other encodings include glyphs for various language support extensions, but even they relate more to legacy teletype systems rather than real language requirements.

carlsonfam's picture

Cuttlefish, thank you so much! I very much appreciate your time, and your explanation was wonderful. Many thanks!

cuttlefish's picture

Honestly, I'm hoping someone will correct me. I'm not 100% sure about all that I said.

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