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Access to All Characters

In QuarkXPress, you only have access to the characters—also called “glyphs”—which are encoded for the operating system. (Encoding is the process of assigning glyphs in a font to numeric slots so they can be used by an application.) QuarkXPress and older versions of the Windows and Macintosh operating systems only support single-byte fonts, which can contain a maximum of 256 characters (in practice, since some positions in a font are reserved, about 224 glyphs). Fonts usually contain more glyphs than the system can display. For example, Macintosh users can type the fi and fl ligatures, but those using Windows cannot. Those running Windows can type a font’s built-in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 fractions, but Mac users can’t. Platform differences like this can cause font substitution in a cross-platform environment.

In addition, having so few characters in a font is a severe limitation if you work in a multilingual environment, and is impossible if you’re using with Asian fonts. It’s also very constricting if you want to create high-quality typography including correctly built fractions, ligatures, special ornaments, or true small caps, for example. To get around these limitations, some users purchase special “expert” sets of fonts, but using these requires extra manual work.


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