Re: New MS Mac Office and Unicode?

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Wed Jan 14 2004 - 00:26:06 EST

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    This is great news. Has any thought been given to building in (or providing an add-on for) languages in Africa? I'm thinking here in particular of:
    1) Arabic (noting you don't have this or Hebrew, perhaps rtl languages are a different package or optional add-on?)
    2) Ethiopic/Ge'ez: the syllabary used for the main languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Of course that wold necessitate a font(s). Also, I'm not up on the details of keyboard layouts for this script, but one possible templates could be those used by UniGeez, WashRa, and I think Senamirmir (which may be similar?)
    3) Extended character use in a large number of African languages using extended Latin transcriptions? Here some fonts exist (basically you'd want all Latin ranges in some fonts). Keyboard layouts are a bit more complex an issue, but are best approached, IMO, on subregional (groups of countries, providing for orthographies known for those).

    Keyboard issues require at some point some standards. Arabic is of course well established. I'm not sure where things are with Ethiopic/Ge'ez, but it may be that even if there is not a single agreed-upon standard layout, there would be a good one to choose from.

    Re keyboards for extended Latin transcriptions, the need to agree upon some standards was brought up at the Bamako 2002 prepcon for WSIS, but as far as I'm aware there has been little discussion on this other than on a12n-collaboration - which has helped generate or publicize some keyboards, including a couple specifically for Mac. There could be two routes here - one to adopt an African keyboard for Unicode fonts "1.0" (or possibly 2, one focusing in languages using dot-under characters mainly in southern Nigeria + Tamasheq) which would cover needs of major languages using extended characters (most of which are in West Africa), the other to highlight the means presumably already part of the Mac system to permit users to design their own layouts. Or both.

    While Arabic and Ethiopic/Ge'ez might require separate packages, I'd put a pitch in for incorporating full extended Latin character capabilities in the main Office 2004 package.

    Don Osborn

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Han-Yi Shaw
      To: Deborah Goldsmith ; Tom Gewecke
      Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 3:01 AM
      Subject: RE: New MS Mac Office and Unicode?

      Indeed, as many of you have already heard from our public announcement last week, my team has indeed been hard at work making Office for Macintosh into a Unicode-throughout suite of applications. Following our public announcement, we have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from our international and multilingual user base concerning our long awaited Unicode support. Since much of this is now public information, allow me to share it with you as well.


      As noted below, Office 2004 for Macintosh will support the input, display, and basic editing of Unicode characters associated with the following keyboards (tentative list):


      Australian, Austrian, Belgian, Brazilian, British, Bulgarian, Canadian, Catalan, Cherokee, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Korean, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Inuktitut, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Northern Sami, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Serbian-Latin, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss French, Swiss German, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh.


      Input of the above languages will also be supported through the following system-level Unicode input methods: Unicode Hex Input, US Extended, and the Character Palette. Additionally, along with Unicode versions of such Roman fonts as Times New Roman and Japanese fonts as MS Mincho/PMincho, Office 2004 for Macintosh will deliver vastly improved layout compatibility and character fidelity with Office for Windows.






      Program Manager | Word: mac; International Program Manager | Office: mac
      Macintosh Business Unit | Redmond, WA

      Microsoft Corporation



      -----Original Message-----
      From: [] On Behalf Of Deborah Goldsmith
      Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 11:03 AM
      To: Tom Gewecke
      Subject: Re: New MS Mac Office and Unicode?


      On Jan 6, 2004, at 11:48 AM, Tom Gewecke wrote:

    > MS Mac Office 2004 was announced at MacWorld SF today. Does anyone

    > know

    > whether this update finally brings the Unicode capabilities of the

    > WinXP

    > version to the Mac OS X world?


      I can now tell you that Mac Office 2004 does offer enhanced support for

      Unicode, in that it can input, edit, and display Unicode characters

      that are not part of any Mac OS legacy character set. I can't say yet

      to what extent the various components of Office support complex shaping

      behavior or bidirectional scripts (e.g., Arabic, Thai, Hindi), because

      I don't know. However, at the very least you will see access to

      expanded CJK repertoires, and access to languages like Icelandic and



      Mac Office 2004 will also include fonts with larger repertoires than

      previous versions of Mac Office.


      Here are some highlights from the PR information I received:


      - Can input, print, and display more than 30 languages

      - Larger font repertoires (e.g., Arial 296 glyphs -> 1192, MS Mincho

      ~9000 glyphs -> 16,031)

      - Japanese fonts included (MS P Mincho and Gothic)


      I've been told more details will be discussed in the coming months

      before MS Mac Office 2004 is released. Perhaps some of the Microsoft

      folks on this list can add more details? :-)


      Deborah Goldsmith

      Manager, Fonts / Unicode liaison

      Apple Computer, Inc.




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