Some international fonts (such as Devanagari and others in that area) are apparently missing some glyphs.

Checking the lower left of wikipedia I get squares ("missing glyph symbol"), and going into that site I get only squares too; however, checking in other sites it appears many glyphs are there, but a few are missing.

What can I do to fix this? What could be the problem?

  • What's your question? Mar 7 '11 at 14:59
  • @Philip: I strongly thing that the implied question was obvious, but since you insist I add it explicitly...
    – o0'.
    Mar 7 '11 at 21:48
  • @Lo'oris: Without the question, it just reads like someone complaining, and those types of questions have been closed in the past here and on other sites. It could be worse: I could have just voted to close and not say anything at all. Mar 7 '11 at 21:58
  • @Philip: this is a question&answer site, you should assume I'm asking a question even if I did not explicitly did that; come on, what the question were was plain obvious! If it wasn't (which is not the case here), your remark would have been appropriate, of course.
    – o0'.
    Mar 9 '11 at 12:50
  • 2
    @Lo'oris: I see your point, but my point is that because this is a question and answer site, a new topic requires a question to be asked, and not just contain discussion of a problem. Either way, however, I did vote up your question because it is something that has confused me and an answer would be helpful for me as well. Mar 9 '11 at 13:43

This is like asking "Why is my dictionary missing some words?"

Just like no dictionary contains every possible word, no font contains every possible unicode glyph. Remember that someone has to actually create the font, and they aren't going to spend the time to get every possible glyph from every possible language. Especially when the number of glyphs defined is always increasing.

From wikipedia:

No single "Unicode font" includes all the characters defined in the present revision of ISO 10646 (Unicode) standard, as it is continually adding more & more languages and characters. As a result, font developers and foundries are also incorporating those new characters in newer version or revision of a font, and correcting their previous errors if there were any.

If you are interested, you can see on Wikipedia a comparison of some common Unicode fonts together with the code blocks that they cover.

You might try installing Gnu unifont, which seems to have the most complete coverage. To install, just download the font from the site, click on the file, which opens a font preview in FontBook. Just click "install" and you are done.

  • Did you read the question or did you stop at the title? I'm not being ironic, I need to know if I really did explain so bad to earn such an answer, or it was just you.
    – o0'.
    Jun 17 '11 at 6:05

The solution is simple: Install fonts that have those characters or force your browser (or viewer) to use fonts, that have those characters.

Use Font Book application to check what fonts (installed) have it by simply changing the Preview text (Preview->Custom) and then scrolling trough the fonts.

  • I had already done that, that's why I was wondering why it still wasn't working.
    – o0'.
    Aug 10 '11 at 14:02
  • By "already done that", do you mean that you have installed fonts for things that OS X does not itself provide? Could you send a screenshot of the area where you get squares so we can see exactly what is not displaying (tom at bluesky dot org). Aug 10 '11 at 17:04
  • @TomGewecke unfortunately, I've read this comment more than 3 years later, now that's no longer relevant.
    – o0'.
    Nov 7 '14 at 19:50

Now I've upgraded to 10.10 and it works.

I also upgraded to 10.8 before that, but I didn't notice if it was already fixed or not.


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