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Design philosophy: all information in this web site should be accessible to the intended audience regardless of platform, browser, or size of screen. Graphics are kept to a minimum to reduce download times. If you see a frame or an animated GIF, feel free to flame me mercilessly.
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The Euro What will it mean to the desktop publisher?
by Peter C.S. Adams
When Europe began using its new currency, the Euro (left), it caused headaches in the world financial community. For all its benefits, it means another currency to track and another row in the conversion rate table. But in publishing industry, it caused other problems, as well. For one thing, how should it be printed did you know the Euro is based on the Greek letter epsilon and is designed in PMS Yellow (Yellow 100) and PMS Reflex Blue (Cyan 100 + Magenta 80)? You can find this informtion, as well as see Euro symbols, currency, and coins, read analysis, speeches, and news, and find conversion rates and design specs at Europa's Euro Page.)
For another, how will the character be inserted into typeset copy? Every time typesetters set a piece containing a monetary amount in Euros, they will have to type a character that doesn't exist in most typeface character sets. A partial remedy is the inclusion of a Euro character in the character set of Macintosh and Windows. For instance, starting in Mac OS 8.5, pressing Option-Shift-2 will insert the Euro character but only in the fonts that come with the Mac. Older fonts will insert a different character.
Eventually, font foundries will begin including the Euro as a standard character, as the dollar, yen, and pound are now. Probably not right away: after all, people are used to the character sets as they are now, and most fonts do not have an empty slot to simply add the Euro. And they can't just replace an existing one: no matter what character they chose to eliminate, someone would surely scream! But at some point, major vendors will begin releasing their typefaces in the Unicode format, meaning there will be plenty of slots available for the Euro, as well as expert characters, swash caps, dingbats, and anything else you can think of. Unicode uses two bytes to represent each character, meaning there are 65,536 characters per font enough for even languages like Chinese. Indeed, the Unicode Consortium has already made the Euro a part of the Unicode standard. (OpenType, a Microsoft-Adobe collaboration, is based on Unicode.)
So eventually, typesetters will begin replacing their fonts with newer versions that contain the Euro symbol, resulting in a substantial investment. So how soon will it be before you have to replace all your fonts? You'll probably never have to replace all of them, since the OpenType format is a superset of the TrueType and Type 1 formats, but starting in late 2000, you'll probably start replacing the ones you use most often. On the Mac side, Mac OS X supports Unicode fonts, and on the Windows side, Windows 2000 does..
By 2001, you'll probably wonder how you got along without Unicode, way back in the twentieth century!
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Peter C.S. Adams
STEPPS -- Stop Tax Exempt Private Property Sprawl -- Framingham