Box Drawing glyphs - yet another obscure topic

ebensorkin's picture

What uses are 'box drawing' glyphs put to? ( unicode 2514 - 256C )

What about double weight vs. double open line?

Extra points for discussion of the Block & Shade! ( unicode 2580 - 2593 )

cerulean's picture

Back when personal computers had only one font and not much that passed for graphics per se, they had this. You used them to make borders and primitive diagrams on your 80-characters-wide, 25-lines-high text screen.

cuttlefish's picture

What cerulean said. They're in Unicode for legacy compatibility.

emenninga's picture

But there are interesting variations like this this from Marian Bantjes & Ross Mills mentioned at TypeCon last summer.

Chuck Rowe's picture

The box characters are also used to produce documents like tax forms. These characters are standard in a variety of HP PCL symbol set encodings in HP printers. The shade and many of the block characters are also encoded in some HP PCL symbol sets.

ebensorkin's picture

Thanks you guys!

In case anybody finds it useful I should also mention that I found a programmer who has written a terminal emulator who explained that his interest in these glyphs comes from the fact that terminal emulators can often look much worse when the font used has badly spaced box drawing glyphs - which is apparently nearly always now. This goes for the shade & Block glyphs as well.

So if you do make these legacy glyphs - test em. I plan to do just that this week.

Eric, That is wonderful stuff albeit in a slightly different vein.

Si_Daniels's picture

Related blog post from Michael Kaplan - line draw characters are a must for 'console based' apps. But in general once you've drawn one set you should be able to re-use them when customers ask for them.

>So if you do make these legacy glyphs - test em.

On a related note, same goes for teletext characters - but as many of these are not in Unicode it makes life somewhat harder.

Cheers, Si

ebensorkin's picture

What are Teletext characters? Who uses them?

I have some ideas from this fellow about how to test my console shapes in some specific consoles but how would you test them at MS?

Si_Daniels's picture

We have some typical console screens from the terminal emulation guys, and maybe some test pages - I'll see if I can dig these up.

teletext -

Cheers, Si

ebensorkin's picture

Si, did you ever run across those test pages? What format would test pages be in? .txt?

Si_Daniels's picture

No luck thus far, still searching. they would be Unicode .txt files or RTF if they use color - like this one

Cheers, Si

ebensorkin's picture

Wow! What amazing & dubious uses these things can be put to! ;-)

But actually I started testing - and I was using this text file and I found that despite all my glyphs having a standard width; when I use a UTF-8 test file I get inconsistent spacing! Very odd. But maybe there is a missing glyph. Or... I have no idea. Do you?

Here are some clues from screen capture.

The file is here:

ebensorkin's picture

Actually there are some glyphs that show up when I view the file - like ethiopian glyphs that I don't have yet - & Braille. So I suspect a glyph that I don't have yet...

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