Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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Browser and Font Check

Posted: Oct 06, 2008 10:10;
Last Modified: Oct 06, 2008 10:10

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In my classes, I make heavy use of Unicode. Before writing a test or assignment, you should check that the computer you are on supports the relevant characters.

If you can read the text below without any missing characters (missing characters are represented by a blank box, question mark, or some other symbol depending on your browser), then you should have no problem with my tests and assignments:

Hwæt seġst þū ierþling? Hū begǣst þū þīnne cræft?

If you have missing characters, there are several possible explanations:

  1. Your computer and operating system is more than six or seven years old and is not Unicode compatible. Unicode is supported by
    • all versions of Windows since Windows NT and Windows 2000 (i.e. Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista).
    • all versions of Mac OS X.
    • all current Linux and Unix distributions.
  2. Your browser is quite old and doesn’t support Unicode. Unicode is well supported in all versions of Firefox, Safari, Opera, and similar browsers. Support in Internet Explorer was less good until Explorer 7.
  3. You don’t have a font on your system that contains the required characters. This is unlikely if your computer is less than six or seven years old.

If the problem is that your computer is too old, you will need to find a newer computer to write the tests and assignments. These are available in computer labs and the library at the University, and in most internet cafes.

If the problem is that you are using an older browser, this is a good reason to get yourself a new one. Most are free.

If the problem is that you don’t have the characters in any font on your system, you can download and install a font that does. A free one is Peter baker’s Junicode.

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