RE: Which hyphen for ZIP+4 codes?

From: Shawn Steele (
Date: Wed Mar 09 2011 - 12:08:35 CST

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    > Even if you intend to use the codes in print media, so that people just cannot copy the data as coded characters

    The USPS certainly intended an ASCII hyphen. I'd not thought of this from a typographical perspective, and I doubt the post office was concerned about typography when they made that decision, however the impact is that U+002D is what's often used, which would provide the common typographic experience.

    Is an envelope print media? Or a return card in a magazine? USPS also has really, really, really fast OCR software. I doubt a little extra (or less) length would matter much, but it might be a consideration.

    Also, from experience, addresses that were intended only for one environment tended to get used in other environments. Eg: If you listed your advertisers in a "print media" index in your magazine, and then the marketing dept. decided to have their printing company send them all comp copies of that issue, it's conceivable someone could take the list from the file the printer already had. (Yes, that's stupid, and I wouldn't use that as a basis for laying out my pages, but far more convoluted things have happened.). Or the designer cut & pastes from the index to the postage-paid return card.

    - Shawn

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