No macrons. What can I do?

dsb's picture

Hi all,

I am setting text with Japanese words and the font I am using does not include o's and u's with macrons over them. I have never altered characters with any software before. Is now the time to start, or is there any other (possibly easier) solutions?

I am setting the type in Indesign cs2 on os10.4.

Thanks for any help,


cuttlefish's picture

The macron (¯) is at Unicode 00AF, and at shift-option-comma on US Mac keyboards. You can possibly get away with typing the macron after the letter and heavily overkerning them together, or you could use the dodge of typing ou and uu digraphs, which is acceptable for Japanese transliteration (depending on the method), but obviously not your preference.

dsb's picture

Thanks, that actually works quite well. I thought I had tried that before but I must have done something differently.

If anyone wants to keep the thread going though, I am interested in learning how to go about creating the character o or u with a macron over it (or any other character for that matter). Are there any book and software recomendations out there for adding characters or altering them?

I am definitely naive to the means of type design. I hear things like how opentype allows for all kinds of great things to be done, but I can't say I really know what that means.

If anyone wants to enlighten me a bit, that would be great.

cuttlefish's picture

Most fonts can be opened in any of the popular font design programs (e.g, Font Lab, Fontographer, FontForge) frequently discussed here, and more specifically in the "Build" subforum, but be sure to check the license that comes with your fonts to see if it allows for such modifications for internal use.

ben_archer's picture

The macron also appears in Maori language setting and various NZ publishers have over the years, customised versions of their house faces - 'ReedNZ Maori Palatino' for example, that includes such diacritics.

Years ago I employed a very quick and dirty workaround for the cover of a Maori/English dictionary, creating a simple box/rectangle above the vowel character in Quark Xpress; as the type was 36pt and the macron only appeared once, it was the simplest thing to do. With a longer text or a smaller point size, one could group the vowel character and the 'hand-drawn' accent together, copy and paste them into the text as an anchored graphic, using the 'search and replace' dialogue to locate all instances needing to be 'macronised'.

Jason's methods are correct for what one would do nowadays.

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