Re: Ellipsis

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Tue Jan 17 2006 - 17:47:11 CST

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    On 1/17/2006 2:06 PM, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:

    > I got into a discussion about this, and I'm really not sure what the
    > "Official" position is.
    > Is the HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS character, U+2026, to be preferred over
    > using three periods (possibly spaced with non-breaking spaces)? Or is
    > it only there for backward compatibility?
    > Obviously, "what is preferable" depends on what the situation is, but
    > even so there can be a sensible answer, e.g. "f + i" (or "f + ZWJ +
    > i") is preferable to U+FB01, LATIN SMALL LIGATURE FI, right? Is
    > HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS of this class?
    > Inquiring minds want to know.

    My answer would be that there are differences:

    1) The character spacing between three periods and within the ellipsis
    can be different
        if the required spacing is different from the spacing between
    periods, then this requires
       special logic in the layout engine
    2) if extra character spacing is applied, the dots in the ellipsis
    don't move further apart,
        while achieving the same would require special logic in the layout

    My answer would be that there is compatibility:

    1) the ellipsis is unified with the Japanese ellipsis (which is raised);
        this requires some action on part of the layout system to make sure the
        correct glyph is used, it's less than trying to do this with three dots
    2) in any fixed pitch font (including some EA legacy fonts that were
    much more
        widely used when Unicode was created, than they are used now) the
        spacing between periods is far from that required for an ellipsis
    3) An ellipsis character may work better in vertical mode, because you
        can design a standard alternate glyph for it, for vertical context. And
        that substitution works even in font technology before OpenType.


    > ~mark

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