May 2008 Archives

List of Old Church Slavonic Fonts


AATSEEL (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages) has just posted a set of links to "Medieval Slavic Fonts" for Old Church Slavonic, Glagolitic and Blackletter.

See for more information

List includes Unicode fonts and older non-Unicode fonts


Working with Doublestruck P & Q (ℙ& ℚ)


As I've been reporting in recent entries, I've been working with a symbolic logic course which has been using various exotic symbols including double struck P (ℙ). Since every Unicode point seems to have its own story, I thought I would report some of the ineresting challenges for this character.

Finding It

When you are discussing a topic with lots of different symbols, you soon realize that in terms of Unicode, they will come from multiple blocks. For instance double struck P is from the Letter Like Symbols block (starts at U+2100), while other math symbols may be in Arrows block, the Number Forms block, the Mathematical Operators Block or possibly the Dingbats Block. You can see from the Unicode Org Symbols and Punctuation Chart just how many blocks are involved.

Although a user doesn't normally have to know the Unicode point value, because many insertion tools such as the Windows Character Map, Mac Character Pallete or others are organized primarily by block, you do have to sort of have an idea of how blocks work.


Fonts with a robust set of math symbols are still pretty rare, and sometimes the letter like symbols are even rarer. At one point I had ℙ (P) pulling from one font and ℚ (Q) from another...interesting. Below are some fonts I know have doublestruck letters like ℙ,ℚ.

Formatting Issues

Normally I try to avoid font and size specifications, but double struck P is an interesting counterexample. One challenge is that because the legs are hollowed out, it has a much lighter visual appearance than say normal P. My base text is 12 px on the Web, but for the double struck P, I decided to bump up the size to about 16 px (in a standards-compliant way of 1.3 em).

The other issue was selecting font faces. I wanted one with thick double legs - if you look at the font chart below from my Mac, you'll see that some fonts had some very skinny legs.

Double Struck P in multiple fonts as seen on Mac Character Palette

I also prefer the serif fonts in this case since I personally believe serifs help inexperieced users in reading unfamiliar scripts (in this case undergraduate college students). For this course, I'll probably point students to some freeware fonts I like


Glyph Du Jour: Doublestruck P (ℙ)


Math symbols can stretch the boundaries of Unicode display technology, but not as much as some other related blocks like Letterlike Symbols the home of such symbols as ℙ (double struck P, see image below), ℚ (double struck Q), and even the pharmacy prescription symbol (℞).


Double struck letters in particular are used in different branches of mathematics to respresent, for instance, the set of all real numbers (double struck R) or in symbolic logic to symbolize any atomic proposition. See the table below for different double struck letters and their Unicode values. See the Penn State Math Symbol chart for other common letter like symbols of math.

Character Name Character Entity Num
INTEGERS (Double Z) -- ℤ


Arial Unicode on OS X (Leopard)


I was able to upgrade to Leopard recently on my Mac which means I'm able to manipulate a working version of Arial Unicode MS for the Mac...yeah.

Web Display

My blog actually switched to Arial Unicode because of the way I had coded the CSS. It was very legible, but the x-height seemed smaller in comparison to the Apple Lucida Grande - so I reordered the priority. I will have to see if I can download Lucida Grande onto Windows via the Windows Safari download.

Back to the Logic Symbols in Word

Most of my recent Unicode adventures have been about inserting logic symbols like (∨,∧,⊃) into Word (and later Excel). My main struggle has been that if I insert them from the Character Palette, the font switches to Symbol... which is OK until I start typing English. At that point I will stop outputting the English alphabet and σταρτ ουτπυτιν τηε γρεεκ αλπηαβετ. Greek is great...unless you're typing English text. I was using the left arrow key quite a bit.

Now that Microsoft has developed a working version of Arial Unicode MS, I can input the symbols without switching over to Greek. The only gotcha is that I have to shif old logic symbols out of their pre Arial Unicode fonts (thank goodness for keyboard shortcuts). What I'm hoping is that I can bypass the big font switch in Windows word too.

So I'm happy to say that we're adding another small step towards Unicode compatibility. Finally I can have logic symbols in a non-Greek, non-Japanese, non-Chinese font!


About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage ( for a profile.


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