Superscript and Subscript Characters in General Use

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Thu Jan 5 23:42:14 CST 2017

On Thu, 5 Jan 2017 22:35:29 +0000, Peter Constable wrote:
> From: Unicode [] On Behalf Of Marcel Schneider 
> Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2017 3:34 AM 
> > If Arial Unicode MS is used (though it is no longer a part of new Windows versions) 
> The Arial Unicode MS font was never included in any version of Windows. It was only 
> ever included in Microsoft Office. 

Iʼm very sorry, thank you for the correction. Iʼve mixed up OS and applications. 
Now it displays: “Arial Unicode MS is unavailable on this machine. Do you want to 
use it nevertheless?” (translated from French). Since a few days I know that Arial 
Unicode MS is a part of the system fonts on macOS Snow Leopard. Iʼm now unable to 
use it on my netbook. Even existing documents donʼt display well any more, theyʼre 
messed up with .notdef boxes. When trying to get preformatted custom fractions the 
old way around, it switches to MS Gothic for the subscripts. In 2015, I was about 
to buy Office 2010. Office 2013 requires too much RAM and I donʼt like it. Iʼm 
aware that many people are roughly in the same position, at least regarding the 
Arial Unicode MS font. So perhaps, representing fractions with super/sub scripts 
ought to be removed from my recommendations, at least for more than drafts or 
informal papers. However, it seems to match the expectations of many people.

But thatʼs the least part of the topic. The main concern in this thread is the use 
of modifier letters as a fallback instead of ordinal indicators and for superscript 
in abbreviations. I agree that inside the document, formatting is much more powerful, 
as it doesnʼt require complete fonts (and makes style fine-tuning easy). Nevertheless, 
the user might prioritize the stability of the document when it comes to plain text, 
and he could be interested in a better-looking display of letters that elsewhere 
should be superscripted. Here, the modifier letters could be a ready-to-use fallback. 
Converting them to formatted baseline letters could be achieved with a macro in VBA.

Couldnʼt this be included in the next Office version as an out-of-the-box feature?


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