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Old 08-08-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
Michael Rowley
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Default Office 2010 & OpenType

Was Thomas Phinney right in his prediction that Office 2010 would support all the most important (in Western eyes) OpenType features? Now Office 2010 Techanical Preview is being supplied to anyone interested, we can see if TP's claims (here: http://www.thomasphinney.com/2009/05...type-goodness/) were correct.

   
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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First, it wasn't so much a prediction on my part as a description of what was in the leaked software.

Second, remember this is a "technical preview"—things could change before release, though one expects those changes won't be many/huge/sweeping.

Last, I didn't say "all the most important," I just listed the features. The omission of true small caps means the leaked software was missing one of the most important OpenType layout features for western typography (the other two being ligatures and oldstyle features, which are indeed there, with a bunch of other stuff).

All that aside, this is a huge advance in typography for Word and Publisher.

I got the "real" technical preview several weeks ago, and have been using it as my only version of MS Office on my personal laptop. I downloaded OpenOffice as well as a backup, but I haven't had any reason to resort to it. In fact, I'm happier with using the technical preview of Office 2010 than the shipping version of Office 2007. The OpenType stuff is nice and all, but things like the improved search results display and lightning-quick app launches are really awesome in daily use.

I'm no fan of the UI changes made in Office 2007. My efficiency with MS Office apps dropped dramatically, due to a new inability to find just about any of the features I only use once in a while. But Office 2010 is certainly an improvement. I'll be especially interested to try out the shared editing features some day, once my co-workers and I are all on the same app version.

See also

http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/07/30...nds-on-review/

http://www.techreviewsource.com/content/view/268/1/

http://www.itpro.co.uk/612685/office...st-look-review
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
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Thomas:
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it wasn't so much a prediction on my part as a description of what was in the leaked software
No, it wasn't a real prediction; sorry if I was misquoting you. But I feel that the belated implementation of the layout features constitutes the most important application from my point of view. Like you though, I regard the failure to implement the facilities for producing genuine small capitals is a bad mistake on Microsoft's part, since small capitals are one of the easiest ways of bringing text to the attention of readers without smiting them with ordinary capitals.

I don't find applications especially quick to start, but perhaps that's a consequence of running two different versions of the same application.

I have the same difficulty in locating features that I don't use often, and as I told Steve, I use a crutch in the form of the old menu from AddinTools.

   
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
Cristen Gillespie
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Thomas: The omission of true small caps
Why on earth would they leave out small caps? Do they think faux bold and faux italic is fine, so faux small caps are fine? They must know it makes for headaches on the other end of a Word document -- being the person who has to clean up an import before using it in layout software. They don't mind making a huge change to the interface, yet supporting good typesetting practices is one baby step at a time.

   
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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Cristen:
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Why on earth would they leave out small caps?
Presumably because of the many people that have no OpenType fonts, and consequently no font that has the small capital glyphs. Of course, people that have Word 12 (2007) have plenty of fonts that are OpenType, because Microsoft has supplied almost all fonts as OpenType, though I don't know whether they all have the small capital glyphs. But smeone receiving a document that has genuine small capitals won't see them if they've got only the old fonts or don't have a version of Word that supports them. I suppose Microsoft think false SC is better than nothing.

   
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cristen Gillespie View Post
Why on earth would they leave out small caps? Do they think faux bold and faux italic is fine, so faux small caps are fine?
Well, the problem with small caps is shared with real superscript and real subscript as well.

These effects can be faked, and the fake effects apply to any character one wishes.

If one only does the "real" thing, not everything is going to have a smallcap/superscript/subscript equivalent, and many users will be irked by the fact that their app has somehow become less capable and more inconsistent. Less savvy users will just be confused, and more savvy users can still get caught off guard when switching fonts or what have you....

I've heard this more than once, from different app developers. It's a real problem. I'm happy to live with it myself, but I can understand why some app developers think twice about implementation of these features....

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Old 08-16-2009, 07:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Thomas:
I've heard this more than once, from different app developers. It's a real problem. I'm happy to live with it myself, but I can understand why some app developers think twice about implementation of these features...
I guess I can understand why people will feel the need to fake type styles, although the whole idea of saying they want to use styles they aren't willing to pay for (or get free with purchase, as we do with so much these days ) is a bit odd.

I haven't used Word's styles since I took a misguided course in it well over a decade ago now, so my ignorance in how it handles type is considerable. But I do remember the days of PageMaker and having to make sure we had the real style we were using. Open Type in ID has made it easier to use styles with confidence for us non-professional typesetters.

I would think supporting small caps would make it easier. Alternates, oldstyle figures and ligatures can't be faked, so Word supports them, but not anything that can be faked?

I suppose the user base is simply too large to say "Look, we're giving you X number of decent fonts that support real small caps and real bold italics and if you want those styles, use those fonts."

But that's still saying everyone is qualified to set type with any font they find free on the web, and what they want to do is just as worth the effort as that made by considerate designers, both of the page and of the type itself.

   
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:06 AM   #8
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Michael: But smeone receiving a document that has genuine small capitals won't see them if they've got only the old fonts or don't have a version of Word that supports them
Wait. My old version of Word won't support real small caps. So if I don't have the font, it doesn't matter what someone's newer version does. It's incompatible, right?, and that's expected with software. It doesn't mean we don't move forward and continue to refuse to support Open Type, does it?

What happens if I try to open a document from someone current in Word, and it has oldstyle figures and I don't have that font? Do I still see oldstyle figures? In ID, at least I'm warned I don't have what I need to see what the originator wanted me to see, and I'm allowed to make such substitutions as I want, or can. Couldn't Word do something the same, even to saying "I'll fake it for you, yes/no?"

If I'm not going to be opening it in Word, am not even expected to, isn't that what PDF is for?

Thomas says it isn't the recipient they're pandering to, but the originator -- who evidently can be called upon to learn a whole new interface, but not the difference between real and fake small caps. They don't want something taken away from them -- and I suppose the ability to make small caps out of any font whatsoever is extremely important to them. But it feels somehow arbitrary to allow for some Open Type support, but not all.

I'll accept there's some rationale behind it. Usually something with $$$ in it.

   
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tphinney View Post
If one only does the "real" thing, not everything is going to have a smallcap/superscript/subscript equivalent, and many users will be irked by the fact that their app has somehow become less capable and more inconsistent. Less savvy users will just be confused, and more savvy users can still get caught off guard when switching fonts or what have you....
For the sake of compatibility, they could leave the current small caps feature alone and implement true small caps under OpenType Features on the advanced tab in the second screen shot on the page you pointed to in your blog.

People who don't know the difference could continue as before. People who care about typography would have to go to the trouble of learning something new, but I bet they would be willing to do so.

Developers could do the same thing with superscript and subscript numbers. I would love to able to use them in the footnotes of my dissertation. I finished it years ago on Xerox 860 Word Processor, but I converted the files to RTF and imported them into a number of programs to see what it would have been like to do the dissertation with modern tools.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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Cristen:
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So if I don't have the font, it doesn't matter what someone's newer version does
It might matter, but is not of vital importance to the recipent of the document; an OS-savvy application would see a, b, c, . . . as the SC glyphs, but an old program will just find the l.c. glyphs. It's different with subscripts and superscripts, because something written correctly as x², say, would appear as x2.

Figures: a font has oldstyle or lining figures as the default, spaced for tabular or non-tabular work; whatever is chosen by someone with an OS-aware program will be seen as simply what the default is by someone without an OS-aware program.

You're right: someone with the OS-aware program would take care that the document which has made use of every OS refinement that it can is saved as PDF.

OS refinements can be turned off, I think, in Word 14.

I don't think it's a matter of money: it's just that Microsoft is more concerned with maintaining old versions; Apple certainly doesn't mind about making programs obsolete, and Adobe isn't much better.

   
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