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Which fonts contain this symbol?

Not all fonts contain all symbols. In most cases, this does not create a problem, thanks to the “fallback font” strategy of OS X. When you use a symbol that is not available in the current font, the text system of OS X simply looks for another font with similar properties that contains the desired symbol. This works fine in most native applications, but may result in unexpected symbols in certain applications that do not use the built-in text system of OS X.

To avoid surprises, you may want to format special characters with a font that is known to contain the character. For example, Helvetica does not contain arrow symbols, so it may be a good idea to use arrows from a font that contains arrows. When you leave it to the text system to select an alternate font, you give up control over the arrows’ appearance. In the end, you very likely will not get exactly what you want.

But how do you find out in which fonts a certain symbol is available?

As an example, let’s assume that you want to use the Indian Rupee sign (₹) in a document. The problem with this symbol is that it was introduced it 2010, so it is not available in older fonts. To use the symbol, you will therefore need to find a font that contains the symbol. The following steps show how you can find a certain symbol and all fonts that contain it.

Start with any font selected in PopChar (we’ll use Verdana for this explanation). Select "Union of all available fonts as the current view, so you can see all available symbols, regardless of the currently selected font. Symbols that are not available in Verdana appear in blue. unionofallavailablefonts.png Enter "rupee" in PopChar's search field. Now you will find the old and the new Rupees symbols in the "Currency Symbols" section. The old “Rs” symbol appears in black, since it is available in Verdana, but the new symbol is shown in blue. rupee.png Now right-click or ctrl-click the new Rupees symbol and select the command Mark Font Containing "₹". All fonts that contain the symbol now appear with a bullet in the font list. For example, Geneva and Georgia contain the Rupees symbol, but Gentium and GentiumAlt do not. gentium.png For a compact list of all fonts containing the Rupees symbol, select "Marked Fonts" from the pop-up menu above the font list.

To export a list of the fonts in the list, ctrl-click or right-click any font in the list and select “Copy Font List” to copy the list to the clipboard.

To clear the marks again, ctrl-click or right-click again and select "Reset Marks".

For more information, please see PopChar's User's Guide (select Help from the PopChar menu to access the document), section "Finding fonts that contain certain characters".