If you are unable to read some Unicode characters in your
browser, it may be because your system is not properly configured.
Here are some basic instructions for doing that. There are two basic
- Install fonts that cover the characters you need
- Configure your browser to use them.
There are few full Unicode fonts for
fixed-width text. Luckily, there is also little web content that
requires such fonts! The following sections describe how to get fonts for different
platforms: you can also find other fonts in the Unicode resources at
Fonts. Ideally, you will install fonts that are tuned for the
scripts that you particularly need, then also install one or more
Unicode fonts with large coverage as a backup, such as Code2000 or
Microsoft Arial Unicode. The
Last Resort Font is available as "last resort" backup. It
contains a collection of glyphs for use when no other font is
available for displaying a particular Unicode character.
For Windows XP, getting additional languages installed is as follows:
Start > Settings > Control Panel > Regional Options and Language Options.
In the Languages tab, check the Supplemental language support option(s) you want. Setting both options will install all optional fonts. This adds fonts as well as system support for these languages.
For Windows 2000, getting additional languages installed is as follows:
Start > Settings > Control Panel > Regional Options.
In the General tab, set all the languages you may want to display, the more you set, the more you will be able to process multilingual data through all your applications, including your browser. This adds fonts as well as system support for these languages.
If you have Microsoft Office 2000 and newer versions, you can get the Arial Unicode MS font, which is the most complete. To get it, insert the Office CD, and do a custom install. Choose Add or Remove Features. Click the (+) next to Office Tools, then International Support, then the Universal Font icon, and choose the installation option you want.
To set your tooltip font to be able to display Unicode
Right click on the desktop, pick
Properties>Appearance>Advanced>Item: ToolTip, then set the font to
Arial Unicode MS or other large font.
On OS X, all the major Web browsers fully support Unicode, as do most applications. No special software needs to be installed for any Unicode script.
The Font Book application can be used to examine installed fonts and install new ones. To install a font, double-click on the font's icon. This will launch Font Book, which will show a preview of the font and give you the option to install it.
To make keyboards for different languages available, launch System Preferences and load the Language & Text preference pane. (On older systems, this is called the International preference pane.) Select the Input Sources tab. This will show a list of all available keyboards and input methods. Select the ones you want to be able to use. If you have the Input menu shown in the menu bar, you can switch keyboards and input methods by using the menu, or you can use the keyboard shortcuts you define in the Keyboard preference pane.
A range of quite comprehensive fixed-width Unicode on-screen
pixel fonts for X11/Unix users can be downloaded from
or directly as
Check the included README file for detailed installation
An earlier version of these fonts is already automatically
installed when you use the XFree86 4.0 X server, which is the one
commonly used under Linux.
The Firefox and
Netscape web browsers can make use
of these fonts directly and are highly recommended for anyone
interested in utilizing Unicode web pages (make sure to use the very
latest version though). Just select the "-misc-fixed-iso10646-1"
font for the "Unicode" category in the "Edit|Preferences|Fonts"
setup menu. The Netscape 4.x browsers cannot handle 16-bit Unicode
fonts at all. However, the above package contains scripts to
generate 8-bit fonts in all ISO 8859 variants, which Netscape 4.x
will then use to display those Unicode characters that are also
found in ISO 8859.
You should make sure that you are using the most recent version
of whatever browser you use, and have installed the fonts you want.
The following then describes how to configure browsers for different
IE is fairly smart about picking tuned fonts for different
characters. To set your font as the default for a given block of
characters, choose Tools > Internet Options > Fonts, then select the
IE uses Web page font to mean variable-width,
and Plain text font to mean fixed width. Unfortunately, IE will not
let you pick a variable-width font in the Plain text font box. That
means in practice that you simply can't view most Unicode characters
Netscape Navigator / Firefox
You will need to tell NN which fonts to use for which encodings.
To set your font as the default for a given block of characters,
choose Edit > Preferences > Fonts. Then for each encoding you are
likely to use, pick the appropriate fonts for the Variable Width and
Fixed Width fonts. It is particularly important to set default fonts
for Unicode. These fonts will be used when NN encounters documents
encoded in a Unicode variant.
NN lets you select any font for fixed-width
content. This allows you to use a variable-width font in the Fixed
Width box. While you lose the alignment of the characters, at least
you can read the content.
To allow Java applets (and/or programs) to draw Unicode characters in the fonts you have available, you will need to hand-edit the font configuration files that the Java runtime uses.
Because you may have several Java runtimes installed on your machine (for different browsers, development environments, etc.), you may need to do this multiple times.
The process is described in Java's documentation and depends on the version:
The following link from
Unicode Resources also offers helpful information on specific
For setting up browsers on different operating systems for
Multilingual and Unicode Support: