Often I hear the term overline. What is an overline and what is its function and style in typography?



An overline, overscore, or overbar, is a typographical feature of a horizontal line drawn immediately above the text. In mathematical notation, an overline has been used for a long time as a vinculum, a way of showing that certain symbols belong together. The original use in Ancient Greek was to indicate compositions of Greek letters as Greek numerals.[1] In Latin it indicates Roman numerals multiplied by a thousand and it forms medieval abbreviations (sigla). Marking one or more words with a continuous line above the characters is sometimes called overstriking, though overstriking generally refers to printing one character on top of an already-printed character.

An overline, that is, a single line above a chunk of text, should not be confused with the macron, a diacritical mark placed above (or sometimes below) individual letters. The macron is narrower than the character box.[2] Since ISO and Unicode Consortium assign names to characters in their unique fashion and often ignore the established typographical terminology, Unicode includes two characters U+00AF ¯ MACRON (formerly spacing macron) and U+203E ‾ OVERLINE that both look like an overlined space in most fonts, similar to a mirrored underscore symbol. An overline proper can be encoded as a Unicode diacritic;

Much like an Underline, an Overline is simply used for emphasis in general typography where mathematics is not a concern. Its simply another way to draw attention to type.

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