New Vista web fonts and Greek

October 20, 2007

Both Vista and Office 2007 come with six new fonts, oddly (and confusingly) all with an initial ‘c’: Cambria, Calibri, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, and Corbel. When I first heard of these I was hopeful that we might have some additional options for polytonic Greek. Unfortunately, that is not the case. They all have monotonic Greek support, but not polytonic. (Monotonic = modern/neohellenic Greek which has only one accent, the tonos, and no breathing marks.) I’ve just posted a 3 page pdf with my assessment of these fonts, text samples of each, info on how to get them if you don’t have Vista or Office 2007, as well as some additional comments of other polytonic fonts that are available for text use (not including my own Galilee Unicode font–which was designed for on-screen use with CRT monitors, not as a text font).

7 responses to New Vista web fonts and Greek

  1. 1. You might want to check out Segoe UI, which does support polytonic Greek. It’s the standard UI font in Vista, and it’s fairly nice for a sans serif font.

    2. I agree with your assessment of Minion. It is a very nice font for both English and Greek. It does have one problem though: a capital letter with a breathing mark causes the space preceding that word to disappear (see εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ in your PDF for an example). It also does poorly in web browsers.

    3. If someone is able to buy Adobe’s Creative Suite, an especially great deal for students, he will pick up some other really nice Greek polytonic fonts like Arno Pro (serif), Garamond Premr Pro (serif), and Hypatia Sans Pro (sans serif)—a free gift downloadable after registering the product.

    4. What are your thoughts on SBL Greek? I find it just okay and a bit disappointing in comparison to SBL Hebrew, which I love.

    5. I disagree with your assessment of Vista (have you used it?). It’s not without some problems, and it’s not Leopard, which IMO is WOW, but it’s a solid OS with several nice features that make going back to XP a pain. I’ve had a very stable and enjoyable experience with the x64 version of Vista Home Premium on the PC I built. No crashes and almost no freezes, and great driver support for all of my devices.

    6. I disagree strongly with your assessment of Office 2007. It’s a fabulous product—far superior to Office 2003. Even most Vista critics speak highly of Office 2007. I’d encourage you to try it out for a couple weeks before discouraging others from upgrading to it.

    (Just an FYI: in WordPress, two hyphens (–) get converted into an en dash and three hyphens (—) get converted into an em dash. Most people are unaware of this.)

  2. I forgot that Segoe UI has polytonic Greek. That’s a fantastic font for on-screen reading. Far better than, say, Tahoma or Arial Unicode. Segoe also has italic and bold-italic forms too. It can be downloaded here for free.

    Arno Pro looks fantastic too. I think it was designed to fit well with Minion too. It’s kind of the more sophisticated older brother.

    I’ve used SBL Greek and it isn’t my favorite, but then if they bundle it in one file with SBL Hebrew & Latin, it will be worth it to be able to set tri-lingual documents in a single font.

  3. Thanks Phil and Peter. I’ll have a reply tomorrow.

  4. Thanks Phil and Peter. Some comments/responses.

    I’d not noticed the spacing problem in Minion. The space isn’t gone; it appears to be overlapped by the breathing mark (negative kerning?). I’ll have to check it in FontStudio when I have time.

    I’d be quite interested in seeing samples of the Adobe fonts you mention, Phil. Any chance you could post a pdf with samples? (On your blog perhaps with a link here?) Thanks.

    SBL Greek is still not officially released and I don’t have it installed. The typographical specs are impressive. The glyph design looks like the old Porson font (judging from the brief graphic sample posted on John Hudson/Tiro page).

    My assessment of Vista? No, it’s not based on having it installed. But I’ve been reading reviews and talking to people about it ever since it was released. You’re the first “fan” I’ve encountered! (Maybe that just indicates what I’ve been reading–obviously not the MS site! 🙂 ) For perspective, I run WinXP Home (at home), XP Pro in my study, Mac OS X 10.4 on my laptop, OS X 10.3 on my Mac at home, and my XP machine at home dual boots Linux/Ubuntu. (Before that sounds too impressive, let me note that most are now rather “long in the tooth” and only one was bought new; my laptop is almost *8* years old! So, unfortunately, it isn’t going to run Leopard. 🙁 )

    Perhaps my assessment of Office 2007 is premature. I’ve not used it; my judgment is based on the experience of one of my colleagues who is using it and has shown me some of the features. It’s a rather radical change from previous versions—and as you probably know, changing one’s word processor is one of the hardest things to do on a computer. So I’m glad to hear that you find it useful.

    Has right-to-left text support for Hebrew improved any in this version?

    And thanks for the tip on WordPress. I’ll try to remember those tricks.

    Thanks for the DL link to Segoe, Peter. I’ve retrieved the files and will play with them a bit.

  5. Thanks for the follow-up comment.

    Yes. You are correct. The space is technically still there, but unselectable. If you add another space, it will look like it should, but then a find and replace for two spaces will remove it (I do this frequently to clean up my documents of any extra spaces).

    I have posted a PDF on my blog. I welcome your feedback.

    Yes. There are some clear similarities between Porson and SBL Greek.

    FWIW, though I wouldn’t really call myself a “fan” of Vista, by thinking it’s a decent OS I do appear to be in the minority. But in my experience, most of those who don’t like it have never used it.

    There is a bit of a learning curve for Office 2007, but I’ve found it to be well worth it.

    I’ve had no problems with RTL Hebrew, but I don’t know that I had any problems with it in 2003 either, so I might not be a good one to ask.

  6. I am using Palatino Linotype on my website because the viewers are likely to already have it on their computer. But does anyone know if there is a way to embed a font on a website, so the visitors don’t have to have the font on their own computer? Palatino is nice except for the horrible squiggly letter rho. I would rather see a rho that looks like a p.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Fonts Supporting Polytonic Unicode Greek at - October 23, 2007

    […] Rod Decker, Professor of Greek and New Testament at Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, recently blogged about how new Vista fonts Cambria, Calibri, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, and Corbel unfortunately do not support polytonic Unicode Greek. Be sure to check out the PDF where he evaluates them. […]