79 votes
Accepted

What’s the right character for an apostrophe?

It Started Curved The apostrophe first appeared in the printed universe in Italy, 16th century, as a curved shape to signify elision copied from handwritten classical Italian poetry. The apostrophe ...
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  • 8,098
56 votes

Why should I ever use Unicode’s special characters for Roman numerals?

In many fonts you will indeed find hardly any difference between using the Unicode characters for Roman numerals and just composing them from stardard Latin letters. For example, the following shows ...
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  • 14.2k
54 votes
Accepted

Is monospacing URLs in academic papers still advised?

URLs are not regular text Using a monospace font is not pleasing to the eye, […] Yes, but then reading URLs isn’t very pleasing anyway. So, think about for a second why you typeset a URL in the ...
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  • 14.2k
46 votes
Accepted

Aligning letters "Wrong" appears more "Right"

Yup, these are legitimate things and they have names. "Visual alignment", or, "Optical alignment" This is the general principle - you're aligning by eye by what visually looks right, rather than by ...
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36 votes

Aligning letters "Wrong" appears more "Right"

If you look at many fonts you'll notice that the curvature of the letter 's' pierces the perfect alignment of the baseline and of many other small letters. And as a general rule round shapes tend to ...
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  • 55k
34 votes
Accepted

Where and/or why is a slanted hyphen used?

It's a feature of that particular font design. There is no distinction between a horizontal and slanted hyphen. Some fonts such as Adobe Garamond, Monotype Goudy, Goudy Old Style (URW), have a ...
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  • 72.2k
32 votes
Accepted

Where should drop cap be suitable?

Fifteen Centuries of Versals There are many ways to indicate the beginning (or resumption) of a section of text, including paragraph indents, blank lines, changing the weight or style of the opening ...
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  • 886
32 votes
Accepted

Is that a good kerning?

Two quick tips for checking kerning... squinting your eyes, and inverting the text... by doing this you can focus more on the contrast and white-space and be less distracted by the actual letters ...
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  • 8,418
29 votes

What’s the right character for an apostrophe?

Did a bit of research to make sure, but in general "proper" typography doesn't use straight quotes, single or double. Here's a handy guide for the commands and HTML entities for single/double curly ...
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  • 409
29 votes

Is monospacing URLs in academic papers still advised?

A few further points: Many monospaced fonts have good character differentiation. Compare 1Il and 1Il. In a pdf (you're talking about academic papers so this is a likely format) being read on screen, ...
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  • 791
29 votes
Accepted

Font that doesn't move when text is edited

I think you're either asking about a monospaced typeface – where each character has the same width – or the tabular lining opentype feature, which makes numbers the same width in typefaces where this ...
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  • 27.4k
28 votes

Why should I ever use Unicode’s special characters for Roman numerals?

TL;DR The Unicode consortium recommends using the latin letter where possible and not the numeral, which where included for compatibility with East-Asian typography. The full story : (with ...
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27 votes
Accepted

Why some fonts have the 'f' and 'i' joined

This is called ligature. There is some useful background knowledge on Wikipedia In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more graphemes or letters are joined as a single glyph. ...
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  • 386
25 votes

How could letters overlap in manual typesetting?

Not all typesetting before the digital era was done using moveable metal type. In 1986, phototypesetting was already available, and had been since the 1950s. Phototypesetting involved projecting ...
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  • 72.2k
25 votes
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Incorrect usage of hyphens in the form “Artist - Song Name”

Mainly because: The dash is not part of people's keyboard. But the weird hyphen/minus character is (I mean ideally we would use minus for minus and hyphen for hyphen but that is just how it is). Most ...
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  • 55k
25 votes
Accepted

Which symbol represents multiplication?

U+2715 (“Multiplikation X”) is in the Dingbats block. Therefore, it’s for ornamental usage (if anything) and not for communicating mathematical relations. There is no reason to expect that any font ...
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  • 14.2k
21 votes

Why don't any common typefaces use ascenders or descenders on capital letters (except Q and sometimes J), even though they make text easier to read?

I think the premise of this question is incorrect, i.e. that lower case letters with descenders/ascenders evolved to make reading easier. Our modern lower case letters evolved from Latin half-uncial ...
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  • 72.2k
20 votes
Accepted

Helvetica: trailing leg in lowercase "a"

The right leg is reduced for thicker weights, eg. bolds and blacks, probably as optical corrections. Basicly, the thicker the weight, the smaller the leg. Myfonts offers a live preview where you type ...
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  • 27.4k
20 votes

How could letters overlap in manual typesetting?

Even when talking about metal type, letters were not all square. Take a look at this "f" for example, and you can see a bit that's protruding, and would make it overlap with the next character.
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  • 7,136
18 votes

What’s the right character for an apostrophe?

The Unicode Standard comments on U+2019 (’): this is the preferred character to use for apostrophe As far as what is right encoding-wise, I cannot think of a higher authority. Also, the ...
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  • 14.2k
18 votes
Accepted

Why do so many books indent all paragraphs except the first one in each chapter?

You are correct. This is the way these things are done: only the paragraphs following the first are indented.      I can little hope to better express why we do this than ...
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  • 886
17 votes

Aligning letters "Wrong" appears more "Right"

This is a technique called overshooting (or overhanging). The reason why we use overshooting is because the way we perceive things as humans (at least in terms of pure mathematics) is inaccurate. ...
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  • 12.8k
16 votes
Accepted

Using Google Fonts for print work

It's completely fine to use them. Google Fonts are all open source, so you can use them for whatever you like. However, they are mostly screen fonts. In other words, they're mostly designed to look ...
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  • 3,342
16 votes
Accepted

How could letters overlap in manual typesetting?

I agree with @BillyKerr -- 1986 was at a minimum movable type and Photo Mechanical Transfers (PMT). In other words, absolutely hot type and not cold type. Also realize it was the early 80s when ...
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  • 196k
15 votes
Accepted

What’s the right character for a minus sign?

If you want a minus sign, use a minus sign. That's what it's for, after all. That being said—unless you are writing for a mathematical publication or in a similar context it probably won't go noticed ...
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  • 39.9k
15 votes

What are the main reasons for using full justification when ragged right is more readable?

The main argument I always hear (I work with scientists, and they say it a lot), is that it looks better at first glance*. For a lot of people, the ragged edge looks disorderly and chaotic. On a first ...
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  • 24.3k
14 votes
Accepted

Typography: First line indent in the first paragraph?

First of all, the point of indenting the first line of paragraphs is to help the reader distinguish adjacent paragraphs when reading or skimming the text. Doing this in addition to not justifying the ...
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  • 14.2k

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