RE: Special Characters in Web Docs

Subject: RE: Special Characters in Web Docs
From: Alan Wood <alan -dot- wood -at- context -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "'Send mail to TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 17:06:39 -0000

John Wolf (johnwolf -at- earthlink -dot- net) asked:

>Any suggestions on how to handle special characters in html
> documents? I have several web documents with Greek characters
> and other scientific symbols.

> The characters I need are in the Windows TrueType Symbols
> font, but can I be comfortable that everyone has this font,
> including Mac users?

I faced this problem a few years ago when developing a compendium of
pesticide common names, which needed to include several Greek letters and
special characters such as prime and double prime. You can see it at:

HTML 4.0, which is implemented by IE4+ and Netscape 4+, supports the Unicode
2.1 character ranges, so there is almost no limit to the characters you can
use. Microsoft makes available free fonts (Arial, Times New Roman and
Courier New) that include the Greek alphabet and a good range of special
characters for Mac as well as Windows:

You can find an indexed list of HTML 4.0 named character entities at:

You can find lists of the characters in each of the Unicode ranges, and
details of the fonts that support them, at:

I did experiment with the Symbol font, and it worked o.k. with Windows, and
worked sometimes with Macs, but I never managed to get it to work with Unix.
You can see my test page, which gives the Unicode equivalents for most
characters, at:

Alan Wood
Documentation Writer / Web Master
Context Limited
Electronic publishers of UK and EU legal and official documents
mailto:alan -dot- wood -at- context -dot- co -dot- uk

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