LINGUIST List 2.26

Friday, 01 Feb 1991

Disc: Fonts

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Dos Phonetics
  2. John E. Koontz, IPA Fonts for PC (and PCL [HP] type Printers)
  3. John E. Koontz, Mac Postscript Fonts to IBM Postscript Fonts

Message 1: Dos Phonetics

Date: Sun, 27 Jan 91 21:38:25 CST
Subject: Dos Phonetics
I too have been searching for *visible* phonetic symbols for
DOS oriented machines. Tim Montler has designed a set of IPA
fonts for the HP that look very good, and supposedly work with
WordPerfect, but you don't get to see them on screen.
There is also a fairly good set commercially available from
Image Processing Software (P.O. Box 5016, Madison, WI, 53705).
These you *do* get to see onscreen (with EGA or higher), but
without fairly extensive diddling you have to do three keystrokes
for almost all the symbols. On the other hand, the package
includes Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew at the same time. A complete
package costs $200. We have it for WP 5.0/HP Laserjet only--not
as much use to me (I use Nota Bene, and have an Epson 24-pin at
home). Still, as far as I know it's all that's available that
even begins to rival what you can do with a Mac. One other
drawback is that the actual font is a Courier-type, which makes
it look out of place next to Times Roman or Helvetica typefaces.
Montler's harmonize, but of course you can't see them as you
type. Thank you all for bringing this up. I have been randomly
asking computer people for several years and have got nowhere, and
I'm not about to start using a Mac.
 Geoff Nathan <ga3662siucvmb>
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Message 2: IPA Fonts for PC (and PCL [HP] type Printers)

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 91 15:28:01 MST
From: John E. Koontz <>
Subject: IPA Fonts for PC (and PCL [HP] type Printers)
In response to Monica Macaulay's request: 

> I was glad to see someone ask about IPA symbols for wordperfect... I have
> been battling this problem for years - how do I get phonetic symbols with
> an IBM computer??? I'm on the verge of switching to Mac, despite the
> expense and time it will cost me, just because they have phonetic
> characters at the touch of a key... So if anyone has an answer,I'd be
> really happy to hear it.

The following, which I posted the following to the Humanist list a while
back, may be of interest. I've updated it slightly. 

The Summer Institute of Linguistics distributes a product that provides IPA
and other phonetic characters for PC's with HP LJ-type printers. 

They call the product SIL Premier Fonts. It is based on a collection of
Bitstream bitmap fonts (not the outlines from which (most of?) these bitmaps
were originally generated), so that the quality is quite good, but the
library of fonts occupies a lot of disk territory. I've been told that they
plan to switch over to Type 1 PS outlines in the foreseeable future, but
that version of the product is not yet available. 

SIL PF can generate a set of bitmapped fonts in a range of sizes, faces, and
attributes. The available faces are Dutch, Swiss, Century, and Freehand,
and the available attributes are roman, italic, bold roman, and bold italic.
I forget the range of bitmap sizes available, but it covers the standard
needs. [Range c. 3 points to 30 points, by memory.] You can specify a
custom set of faces, attributes, and scales to fit your needs. 

Each font generated has a custom symbol set, specified by the user from a
large list of standard and phonetic symbols. It is possible to combine one
or more diacritics from the diacritic list with a single base character, so
that you can easily get combinations like a-nasal_hook-acute_accent, etc.
This lets you specify a symbol set with the standard ASCII characters in
the lower range, for example, and your own customized characters above this.
You can actually specify several different symbol sets, though you won't be
able to see more than one on the screen at a time, without recourse to MS

Note that the SIL Premier Fonts do not support the full range of the IBM PC
symbol set's special characters. In particular, they do not provide the
line drawing characters or some of the special characters in the range below

SIL PF can generate printer drivers for use with MS Word, Ventura (GEM),
and XyWrite. It can also generate screen fonts for use with EGA/VGA type
screens, though obviously these are not going to be in any particular type
face! (And you can only see one screen font at a time.) It is with the
screen fonts that you feel the absence of the line drawing characters. You
gain exotic characters, but lose the boxes that your programs like to draw
around things. 

The printer fonts generated are standard HP printer fonts, so you can
install them in your application yourself, if you have an unsupported
application like Word Perfect. Users of applications like the Nota Bene
word processor can use the Lodestar Utilities to build their drivers, for

One problem with the printer fonts is that they are all coded as having the
HP standard symbol set, no matter what symbol set you have devised. You may
need to reset the symbol set code with some other tool, if you want to
combine several fonts into one driver with something like the Lodestar
Utilities, or the SoftCraft Laser Fonts utility. 

All-in-all, this sounds pretty nice, but the hitch is that it will cost you.
Most SIL products are dirt cheap, but Bitstream doesn't license their fonts
on that basis. There are site licenses and single machine licenses. The
single machine license is $450 for Times Roman and the basic package.
Additional faces cost $250 (?, by memory) each, and the entire set of four
is available for $900. As I recall, the site license prices were twice
this, and a site was designated as a set of buildings separated by not more
than two city streets, e.g., a campus organization spread over several
buildings, etc., or even most university campuses. 

The address is: 

Publishing Department
7500 West Camp Wisdom Road
Dallas, TX 75236


Alternatives: with something like the SoftCraft Font Solution Pack, you can
roll your own fonts. It's a lot more time consuming, but the price is
somewhat lower, even though you get a set of Bitstream outlines (Dutch and
Swiss) to play with. You have to create the phonetic characters by editing
normal characters if you need anything uncommon. You get the diacritics
onto things by cutting and pasting with the font editor. 

Digi-fonts offers an outline-based generator that permits one to combine a
number of diacritics with any base character. Their set isn't really
phonetically oriented, annd lacks exotic diacritics (e.g., nasal hook) and
exotic base characters (e.g., no glottal stop, edh). I have seen criticisms
of the quality for smaller scale fonts. 


Disclaimer: I have used the SoftCraft FSP, and it is acceptable, but time
consuming to work with. I have now used the SIL PF package, and have some
comments on minor problems. I have not used the Digi-fonts software. Any
recommendations expressed are my own, not those of my employers.
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Message 3: Mac Postscript Fonts to IBM Postscript Fonts

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 91 10:35:59 MST
From: John E. Koontz <>
Subject: Mac Postscript Fonts to IBM Postscript Fonts
This procedure may be of general interest, given that some types of exotic
symbol sets are often available only in Mac Postscript fonts. 

Forwarded message follows:
From: (Adam Smith)
Newsgroups: comp.fonts
Subject: Re: MAC to IBM
Message-ID: <>
Date: 29 Jan 91 19:53:33 GMT
References: <91027.150939TAMILQUCDN.QueensU.CA>
Organization: Questor: Internet/Usenet in Vancouver, BC ==> +1 604 681.0670
Lines: 95

Instructions for converting PostScript-tm fonts
from Macintosh format to IBM format.

These instructions have been tested to a limited degree. They have so
far proved to be entirely successful, but unexpected results may occur.
While I see no possible reason to fear damage as a result of using the
method described, there is no guarantee. Any persons following these
instructions do so at their own risk.

Please also note that this proceure is a legal grey area. When you buy a
PostScript-tm font from a digital font foundry or supplier, the
registration that you make with the supplier is, in most situations, a
license to make use of the font, not right of ownership. An employee of
Adobe Systems has unofficially informed me that for the time being,
they have no qualms about individual users preparing fonts for there own
computer platforms with the condition that the copyright information
listed in the file header remain intact. Please keep abreast of the
future developments in this area and be sure that you honour the spirit,
if not indeed the letter of your rights and responsibilities as a
licensed user.

For the purposes of these instructions, a fictitious PostScript-tm font
named "Transpo", will be converted from it's Macintosh format to IBM
format. The family consists of:
 mac ---> IBM
 Transpo Roman TransRom TRA_____.PFB

1. On the Mac, collect the printer font and the AFM (font metrics) file
for the font and place them in a folder.
2. Start UnAdobe from the Finder. The first dialogue box asks you to
locate the printer font to be converted. Select "TransRom". The second
dialogue box asks you for the name to save the font as. It is
recommended that you name the font according to Adobe's (or the font
manufacturer's) IBM font-naming convention--in this case "TRA_____.PFB".
3. UnAdobe will convert the font and place the new font in the same
folder as the original. Quit UnAdobe.
4. Begin MicroSoft Word on the Mac. (This will probably work with any
word processor, it has only been tested with Word). Open the UnAdobe'd
font. You will see a number of lines of readable PostScript-tm code,
followed by a long section of machine code with no spaces anywhere in
it. The last line of the file should be readable PosScript-tm code
again. Select all of the machine code, from the beginning of the line at
the first line, to the end of the line prior to the last (readable)
line. Bring up the search and replace function (command-h) and set to
remove all carriage returns ("find" field should read "^p" - "replace
with" field should be empty). Select "Change All".
5. Save the file as "Text Only".
6. Quit Word.
7. Copy the new, modified UnAdobe font and the AFM file to a DOS disk
using the Apple File Exchange (normal translation). The AFM file should
carry the same name as the new printer font, but with an ".AFM"
extension instead of ".PFB". TOPS networks will probably work for
transfering files, as well as other methods, but have not been tested.
8. Copy the files to your IBM hard disk.

The font now on your IBM should now work with downloaders, allowing it
to be placed into a printer's virtual mempry and accessed by
applications. To use the font with Windows and/or ATM for Windows, it
will have to be converted with the WFNBOSS utility provided free with
Corel Draw ver2.0.

ATM and MS Windows require a font metrics file to access a font, either
resident in the printer's VM, or be downloaded at the time of printing.
If you already have a .PFM file for the font, it can be used and will
access the font correctly. Using an original .PFM file and a converted
printer font file with ATM may or may not display correctly.

To create a .PFM file for the converted font:

1. Place the .AFM and .PFB file brought over from the Mac into the same
2. Start the WFNBOSS utility, select "Adobe Type 1" as the source
format and change the source directory to the directory containing the
.AFM and .PFB files. The font should appear in the font listing window.
3. Convert the font into a Corel Draw .WFN file as per Corel's
instructions. (Incidently, the new font just created will appear in the
Corel Draw program.)
4. Change the source file type to "WFN to Adobe Type 1" and the source
directory to the Corel Draw directory (assuming this is where the .WFN
font outlines where placed in the previous action).
5. Convert the font. (Again, as per Corel's instructions--Corel Draw
provides a clear instruction manual that should cover anything that
occurs outside of the limited descriptions here.)
6. In the Corel directory will be a .PFB and a .PFM file that can be
installed using ATM for Windows and will display and print correctly.
(As well as a new .AFM file)
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