Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Typophile Forum Back Online

After a long hiatus for redesign, the excellent Typophile site is back online, including all its earlier discussion posts.  It's a first class resource for info and discussions about fonts of all sorts and font creation apps.  The new format includes special "communities" for Arabic typography, blackletter, color fonts, Hebrew typography, and variation fonts.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Improved Apple Support For Complex Scripts

Traditionally full support for "complex scripts"  like Devanagari in MacOS and iOS has required the use of special AAT fonts supplied by Apple.  The much more common OpenType fonts for such languages used by other platforms would not work right.

While I have not seen anything directly from Apple, typography experts tell me that the Core Text API of Sierra and iOS 10 now supports the specs of the Universal Shaping Engine (USE).  The result should be that Apple devices can use a much wider variety of OpenType fonts for the large number of languages which use these scripts.  For more info on the USE, see

Making Fonts for the USE

Creating and Supporting OpenType fonts for the USE

Saturday, October 29, 2016

MacOS: New Keyboard for Chinese

I have not seen any comments from Apple about it, but the China Apple Store is showing  a keyboard for the new Macbook Pro which has a number of different markings than the normal US keyboard.  Also the Hong Kong store lists a new keyboard -- "Chinese - Pinyin" -- in addition to the usual English International when you configure a new Macbook Pro.

Update Jan 12, 2017:  This keyboard is now offered with the MacBook Pro in the online US Apple store.

My tests indicate this new keyboard reflects the way the Sierra Pinyin - Simplified Input Source works when the option to switch back to US via Caps Lock has been activated.

Friday, September 23, 2016

MacOS Sierra New Language Features

During  a quick review of MacOS Sierra, I’ve found only few new language features:

+No new user interface localizations

+No new language keyboards

+1 new spellcheck setting — Japanese English

+2 new reference dictionaries — Traditional Chinese and Danish

+2 new English translation dictionaries — Dutch and Italian.

+An option to use Caps Lock to switch quickly to/from Latin and non-Latin input sources (strangely this does not work with Cyrillic, Greek, or Armenian).

Presumably it also has the new Siri support and Chinese/Japanese fonts mentioned in
this page.

One useful feature -- the ability to easily set the Format Language to something other than the System Language -- has been removed in Sierra.  A workaround for this using the Command Line can be found here.

If readers find other new features, let me know.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

iOS 10 Multilingual Typing

The multilingual typing feature of iOS 10 is limited to 2 languages at once, and only selected keyboards can do it at present.  For a list go to this page

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Language Features in iOS 10

Buried in the update info for iOS 10 is a list of improvements over iOS 9:

+Multilingual typing (autocorrect 2 latin script languages at once without changing keyboards)

+Live search results in Spotlight for Chinese and Japanese

+Siri support for Spanish (Chile), Chinese (Cantonese-China), English (ireland), English (S. Africa)

+Ling Wai and Kaiti Black document fonts for Chinese

+Y Kyokasho and Topaz Bunkyu fonts for Japanese

+Reference dictionaries for Traditional Chinese and Danish

+English translation dictionaries for Dutch and Italian

+New keyboard for Spanish (Latin America)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

iOS 10 Language Support

Language support

English (Australia, Canada, UK, U.S.), Chinese (Simplified, Traditional, Traditional Hong Kong), French (Canada, France), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

QuickType keyboard support

English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), Chinese - Simplified (Handwriting, Pinyin, Stroke), Chinese - Traditional (Cangjie, Handwriting, Pinyin, Stroke, Sucheng, Zhuyin), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Japanese (Kana, Romaji), Korean, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Emoji, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Gujarati, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi (Devanagari, Transliteration), Hinglish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Marathi, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic, Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Tamil (Script, Transliteration), Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese

QuickType keyboard support with predictive input

English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Thai, Turkish

Siri languages

English (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK, U.S.), Spanish (Chile, Mexico, Spain, U.S.), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China, Taiwan), Cantonese (Mainland China, Hong Kong), Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Belgium, Netherlands), Finnish (Finland), Hebrew (Israel), Malay (Malaysia), Norwegian (Norway), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Turkish (Turkey), Thai (Thailand), Portuguese (Brazil)

Dictation languages

English (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK, U.S.), Spanish (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, U.S.), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China, Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong), Arabic (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE), Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands), Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Swedish, Turkish, Thai, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Definition dictionary support

English, Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Bilingual dictionary support

Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish

Spell check

English (Australia, Canada, UK, U.S.), French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Russian, Swedish, Turkish

Saturday, July 30, 2016

OS X: Typing Lepcha/Róng

Lepcha is a minority language of the Himalayas which has its own script.  A newly developed OS X kit for this language can be obtained at


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

OS X: ABC Extended Keyboard Layout Capabilities

Apple’s ABC Extended keyboard layout ((formerly called "US Extended") lets you type a vast number of accented and other special latin characters.  The standard reference for its codes is here.  Unfortunately this reference is missing the following deadkey shortcuts which have been added at some point in recent years.  

+Option Shift  period:  Characters with hooks:  Ɓ ɓ Ɗ ɗ Ɲ ɲ ñ Ƴ ƴ‸

+Option Shift semicolon:  A variety of phonetic symbols like ə ŋ ɣ ȝ

+Option Shift g:  Characters with circumflex below.

+Option Shift f:  Characters with tilde below.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

iOS 10: New Language Features

According to reports, iOS 10, to be released later this year, will include:

+New Reference Dictionaries:  Danish, Traditional Chinese, Dutch-English, Italian-English

+Multilingual Spellcheck (currently iOS can only spellcheck the language of the currently active keyboard).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

iOS Update 9.3: New Language Features

The 9.3 update to iOS released March 21 includes two language improvements:

+addition of Spanish (Latin America) to the system language choices

+SIRI support for Finnish, Hebrew, and Malay

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Office For Mac Now Officially Supports Arabic/Hebrew

MS has announced that as of its March update (15.20 for Word), RTL support is included in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

For best results, use one of the Apple Hebrew/Arabic keyboards.  Some users report that 3rd party keyboards do not work right.

Welcome news after 15 years of requests.  Note the new paragraph direction buttons:

Reports from readers about how well it works in Word or other apps are welcome.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Apple Opens Spanish and Portuguese Support Communities

For the new Spanish language Support Community, go to


For Portuguese, go to


Up until now there have only been ASC's for English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Word/Mac 2016 RTL Support Seems Much Improved

While playing with the latest update for Word for Mac 2016, 15.19.1, I thought the level of support for Arabic/Hebrew seemed considerably better.  Not only are Arabic characters connected, but the cursor starts at the right and moves properly along with the text, changing fonts doesn't seem to cause problems, punctuation goes in the right place, vowels work, text is inserted where the author expects, etc.

So far there is still no direction control button or menu, and copy/paste from other sources may result in incorrect word order.  Also changing the color of the text can mess up chracter order.

I've seen rumors that the next update, 15.20 is supposed to have additional improvements and fixes.

As my knowledge of Arabic/Hebrew is extremely limited, I'd be grateful for comments from readers with better capabilities regarding the usability of this app for such scripts. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Keyboard Resource for OS X

Keyman, which has long helped Windows users add special keyboards to their machines, is now available in a beta version for Mac.  The app required for users to make custom keyboards themselves is still only for Windows, but the OS X version of Keyman Desktop lets you download a large number of keyboards from the existing Keyman and SIL libraries.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Apple Watch Language Capabilities

The Apple Watch uses a version of OS X (watchOS) which has different language capabilities than Mac OS X or iOS. Localizations for the menus and dialogues (set using the iPhone Apple Watch app via the menu My Watch > General > Language) are English (U.S.), English (UK), English (Australia), English (India), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), French (France), French (Canada), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Traditional, Hong Kong), Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Thai, Turkish, Finnish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish, Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Malay, and Vietnamese.

Languages available for dictation, Siri, and Smart Replies may be somewhat different.

This page provides instructions on how to adjust the dictation language of the Watch.

This article provides some info on how watchOS features have evolved.

(Note:  I don't have a Watch and Apple's published info is only fragmentary.  Comments and additional info from readers is welcome)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

iOS 9 Hardware Keyboard Layouts

When using a hardware keyboard with the iOS 9 device, you need to go into Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboards and match the layout with whatever your keyboard's key printing is.  Unfortunately Apple supplies only a limited selection of such layouts, so it's possible an exact match may not be possible.  For example, if your keyboard requires the British PC layout, you are out of luck.   I think only one normal iOS keyboard has no hardware layout at all:  Tamil.  

As far as I know, 3rd party keyboards do not include hardware layouts.