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alchemical symbols in Unicode 6.0
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Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 01:52 pm
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This is not really about "symbolism" but this section seems to be the most appropriate. I have just discovered that the new version of Unicode standard has alchemical symbols. The original proposal was placed by William Newman et al. and its second version can still be seen here:

http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3584.pdf

The official section from the Unicode 6.0 tables can be retrieved here:

http://unicode.org/charts/PDF/U1F700.pdf

One free Unicode font which has those symbols is Symbola and can be downloaded here:

http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/Symbola601.zip

Any comments on what is missing or should have been excluded, or the shapes in the Symbola rendition?

Best regards,

RafaΕ‚

adammclean
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 04:31 pm
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This is very interesting. I looked through the pdf file and located the alchemical symbols.
I installed the font file on my system, but sadly my old version of Word does not appear to allow me to access these. Most of the other material is shown, even the I-Ching hexagrams, but not the alchemical symbols. There must be some extension to the standard that is inaccessible to my earlier version of Word.

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 05:16 pm
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The font seems to work here -- at least I can see the alchemical symbols below:

πŸœπŸœ‚πŸœƒπŸœ„πŸœ…πŸœ†πŸœ”πŸœ πŸœ’πŸœ§πŸœΏπŸπŸ†


Thus we can use the symbols while chatting :) Certainly, one needs to have the font installed before doing that.

Concerning MS Word, I'm pretty sure earlier versions did not support Unicode directly, while in the recent version the file format was totally changed -- to zipped XML, actually, so Unicode is the default encoding.

adammclean
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 06:01 pm
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Sadly, all my Magnum Opus books are formatted in the earlier version of Word and I don't dare upgrade as this will no doubt replace the old version of Word. I may then find that when opened in the new version, the old Magnum Opus book files will become re-formatted, and the text reflowed, so that I will not be able to print them out.

It is a pity as I would like to use those alchemical symbols for the Alchemical Diary manuscript that I would like to publish one day. It has many alchemical symbols in the text, and I have tried to create my own font of these, but it would be much easier to use the symbola font.

adammclean
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 06:07 pm
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For your information, the characters you show above, for me can only be seen in Firefox 3.6. Google Chrome which I use most of time shows them as blank squares, as does Internet Explorer. This may be related to my use of XP rather than the more recent versions of Windows.

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 06:27 pm
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Yes, they do not appear in Opera, either. So it seems FireFox is the only browser that can do font substitutions correctly. What is happening here is, I believe, that when FireFox does not have the particular character codes in the default website font (Arial or Verdana), it finds another font in the system which has them. The other browsers simply accept the current font does not have the characters and displays rectangles.

But if you make a web page and define the font as "Symbola", the symbols display correctly in any of the popular browsers. Copying the below to a text file and saving as UTF-8 should work.

<html><body>
<font face="Symbola" size="+3">

πŸœπŸœ‚πŸœƒπŸœ„πŸœ…πŸœ†πŸœ”πŸœ πŸœ’πŸœ§πŸœΏπŸπŸ†

</font>
</body></html>

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 06:55 pm
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adammclean wrote:
Sadly, all my Magnum Opus books are formatted in the earlier version of Word and I don't dare upgrade as this will no doubt replace the old version of Word. I may then find that when opened in the new version, the old Magnum Opus book files will become re-formatted, and the text reflowed, so that I will not be able to print them out.

It is a pity as I would like to use those alchemical symbols for the Alchemical Diary manuscript that I would like to publish one day. It has many alchemical symbols in the text, and I have tried to create my own font of these, but it would be much easier to use the symbola font.


Why don't you download Sun Systems OpenOffice (like MS Word only completely free) and set it in that with Symbola installed?

http://www.openoffice.org/

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 06:56 pm
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adammclean wrote:
For your information, the characters you show above, for me can only be seen in Firefox 3.6. Google Chrome which I use most of time shows them as blank squares, as does Internet Explorer. This may be related to my use of XP rather than the more recent versions of Windows.


Safari doesn't display them either. Good old Firefox...

Alan Pritchard
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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2010 12:14 pm
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As I understand it (from my experience), there is a 3-stage process with regard to symbols.

1. Unicode must define them

2. The particular font must incorporate them into itself. Look at the difference between Arial and Arial Unicode MS. In another area I work in, the standard for documents is Arial. With a change to the handling of foreign names (specifically transliterations from Arabic), we have had to move to the latter, as vanilla Arial will not cope with some of the diacritics.

3. The application program must then be able to handle the complete font

It is at the latter stage that the problems arise with Word not being able to recognise the symbols in Symbola.

I have the same problem with the bibliographic database that I use. Even though I use a font for input/output that has a complete range of diacritic characters (Gentium), the software only recognises 0000-00FF. They are changing the software in response to user complaints in this area.

Sorry for the late response on this, I'm catching up on messages.

Alan Pritchard
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 Posted: Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 05:14 am
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Symbola is now up to 6.05 & available from http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/Symbola605.zip

It also includes additional mathematical symbols from Unicode 6.0 - and presumably everything else added in 6.0

I have found one missing symbol - a combination of Nitre and Sulphur, where the Nitre symbol (circle with vertical bar) is placed inside the triangle of Sulphur.

It works well within Word, using Insert Symbol & changing the font for just the symbol required to Symbola, with the rest of the document in Times.

Alan Pritchard
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 Posted: Thu Jan 16th, 2014 02:50 pm
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Some further information on the 116 alchemical symbols, defined in Unicode 6:

At the time of writing (January 2014), there is a limited number of fonts that support these characters: Symbola (at http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/), Everson Mono and Everson Mono Oblique (at http://www.evertype.com/emono/), the Apple font Last Resort (at http://www.unicode.org/policies/lastresortfont_eula.html).

Unless someone knows better, of course!

I have used Symbola in my bibliography and it works well. Blends in with Times Roman rather better than Everson


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