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Medieval Unicode Font Initiative

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Browse by code chart: PUA-15

The overline (bar above) is probably the most used and also the most ambiguous of all abbreviation marks. There are two typical positions of the overline: above the full height of the majuscules and above the x-height of the minuscules. In the latter position it usually crosses the ascender of characters like ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘h’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘þ’ and the long ‘s’, ‘s’. If the word has a mixture of characters with and without ascenders, the bar should sometimes be kept in the upper position over all characters.

There are two typical lengths of the overline: less than the width of a character, like the macron, or the full width of the character, so that it can extend as a continuous line over several characters.

With present font technology, the overline is particularly difficult. In some fonts and operating systems it will change its vertical position depending on the height of each character. Thus, in an abbreviation such as ‘ihc’ for ‘Iesus’, the overline may have one position over ‘c’, a slightly higher position over ‘i’, and an even higher position over ‘h’.

This range is intended as a work-around until mature smart font technology is widely available. It has separate code points for all characters where the overline crosses the ascender, either as a single stroke (macron-length) or as a continuous stroke (overline).

Note that several characters in this range were used as Roman numerals: ‘C’ with overline, F7B5, reversed ‘C’ with overline, F23F, ‘D’ with overline, F7B6, ‘I’ with overline, E58C, ‘L’ with overline, F7B4, ‘M’ with overline, E1D2, ‘V’ with overline, F7B2, and ‘X’ with overline, F7B3.

The Unicode Standard v. 5.1 has macron over the vowels ‘A’, ‘a’, ‘E’, ‘e’, ‘I’, ‘i’, ‘O’, ‘o’, ‘U’ and ‘u’, and stroke across the consonants ‘d’ and ‘h’ in Latin Extended-A (pp. 30–34), macron over the vowels ‘Æ’, ‘æ’, ‘Ǫ’ and ‘ǫ’, and stroke across the consonant ‘b’ in Latin Extended-B (p. 36–38), macron over the vowels ‘Y’ and ‘y’ in IPA Extensions (p. 39), and stroke across ‘s’ in Latin Extended Additional (p. 57). Finally, Latin Extended-D has stroke across ‘k’ (p. 79), ‘l’ (p. 80), and ‘þ’ (p. 82). The latter three characters were added in v. 5.1 of the Standard. A few others have been included in the Private Use Area above, subrange 5: • Modified base-line abbreviation characters: ‘’ with stroke, E7C7 (p. 108), ‘’ with stroke, E7C8 (p. 108), and ‘’ with stroke, E735 (p. 115). Font designers should take care to align the overlines on all characters, i.e. those already in the Unicode Standard and those listed here. Finally, note that this range has a combining macron and a combining overline, each in two positions: one for minuscules (in the same height as the dot over ‘i’) and one for majuscules (in the same height as the accents). These combining characters have ‘hard’ positions, so that they will have the same height regardless of the characters below. In this respect, they differ from 0304 COMBINING MACRON and 0305 COMBINING OVERLINE, which may be displayed with variable height.


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