Weirdness with some Chinese characters and Arial font

Discussion in 'macOS' started by newacct, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. newacct macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011
    The following character:

    which is the character for "door" in simplified Chinese, shows up weirdly in Arial font on my Mac OS X 10.6, but only on some applications. (The two above are the exact same bytes; the first one is in Arial Unicode MS; the second one is in Arial.)

    The correct way the character should look is to have a dot (tiny diagonal dash) at the upper left corner. The "doorframe" is disconnected at that corner and the dot sits in the middle, not touching either part. You should see this in the first character sample above.

    However, the way that it looks a lot of times with Arial on a Mac, is to not have a dot, but have a vertical bar at the center top of the character, that goes through the horizontal bar. If you are viewing this in Safari or Chrome, you should see this in the second character sample above.

    If you are using Firefox, and you think the two character samples above look the same, go look at it in Safari or Chrome.

    To see the problem, do the following:
    * Type (or copy and paste) the character into TextEdit
    * Change the font to Arial Regular
    * See that it looks weird
    * Interestingly, the "Arial Unicode MS" font shows it correctly

    * Then type (or copy and paste) it into OpenOffice
    * It displays correctly

    Since Arial font is used ubiquitously in the operating system, including the Pinyin Chinese input method, I see this messed up character all the time.

    This problem appears on web pages too:
    * Create a web page with the following content:
    <span style="font-family: Arial;">门</span>
    * It shows up the messed-up way in Safari and Chrome
    * But shows up correctly in Firefox
    * (Manually specifying "Arial Unicode MS" font allows it to show up correctly in all browsers)

    This is really weird, because it seems to be messed up for "system" applications (e.g. TextEdit, WebKit browser engine in Safari and Chrome) but not for "third-party" ones (e.g. OpenOffice, Gecko browser engine in Firefox)
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Before responding to your post, I checked your post in several browsers on Macs running two different versions of MacOS X--one runing MacOS X 10.4.11; the other, running MacOS X 10.6.6. On the older Mac, the glyphs display "properly" based on your definition. The even display "properly" in Internet Explorer 5.2.3. Among the browsers tested under MacOS X 10.6.6 were Safari, WebKit, Opera, iCab, and Chrome, Firefox, and Camino. In most of the MacOS X 10.6.6 browsers, the Arial glyph displayed "improperly." However, it displayed "properly" in Seamonkey.

    It appears that the difference between the browsers that display the Arial glyph "properly" and those that don't is the age of the browser. Older browsers display the glyph "properly," the newer ones do not.

    This begs a question: I have absolutely no familiarity with Chinese--either spoken or written. Is is not possible that Monotype has adopted a new version of the glyph?
  3. macrumors member

    May 24, 2002
    The Arial font does not have any Chinese characters in it, hard to imagine why you think it would. If you select Arial, then the OS will use some other font which does have Chinese characters in it, perhaps Arial Unicode perhaps something else.
  4. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    What are you trying to do? Why do you want to render Chinese fonts in Arial? Isn't the whole point of unicode to avoid problems like this? Why not just use that?
  5. newacct thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011
    How does the OS decide what font to substitute for Arial when Arial doesn't have the character? Is this substitution possible to customize?

    I looked in Font Book, and it appears that Arial really doesn't have that character. In Font Book I looked through all the fonts on my system, previewing with that character, and the vast majority of the fonts that display anything display the character the correct way, except the "Hiragino ..." fonts.

    So I am guessing that the OS is substituting Hiragino Something for Arial? Why would it decide to do that? It appears that Hiragino are Japanese fonts; which is strange, because the 门 character is not used in Japanese -- Japanese does not simplify the "door" character -- so I don't know why they 1) have this character, and 2) would adopt a screwed-up look for it. I would be more understanding if Japanese draws this character differently or something; but that's not the case.
  6. newacct thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2011
    Nevermind, I fixed it, guys.

    Apparently this is caused by Japanese being before Chinese in the language priority. [insert rant about Japanese bastards pillaging China here]

    I went to System Preferences -> Language & Text. Apparently Japanese is listed as #2, and Chinese is 2nd and 3rd from the bottom.

    To fix it, simply drag Japanese to the bottom.
  7. nastebu, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011

    nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    Outside of the appropriate threads, I'd be careful with those gratuitous rants. You're only likely to piss off people who are trying to help, or start a pointless argument.

    I'm still baffled as to why you're trying to make Arial display Chinese characters. You might as well be trying to teach your dog to lindyhop.

    If you don't know about unicode type, you probably should take a look at this:

    Basically, if you're going to use a bunch of different languages in a document (or a computer display I suppose), and if you're going to try and have that document edited on a bunch of different computers, operating systems, etc., you want to use a unicode font. If you use one, there should be no problems with character substitution.

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