Metegs and Diacritic Positioning Multi-lingual Publishing Forum


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Metegs and Diacritic Positioning
7:28 am
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Hi Harbs,

Firstly Congratulations on your refurbished site, looks very

I am look for an easy way to add a Meteg next to another Vowel without
messing up its positioning.  (not very well put but I'm sure you understand)

This is a very common task but I don't know how people do it without
tediously manually positioning the Meteg and the other Vowel.

My work around has been to make a copy of the font that I want to
use and change the symbol of the Vowels in this copied font so that each new
modified vowel includes a Meteg in it.  For example for a Hiriq with a
Meteg next to it I change the Hiruk in the modified font from being just a dot
to being a dot with a line next to it.  I then in indesign I create a
character style that changes the font from the non-modified one to the modified
one.  I then apply this new character
style on each letter and vowel that I wish to put a Meteg by and lo and behold,
my Meteg is in the correct place.

Using this method I also use a modified Sheva symbol to differentiate
between a Sheva Na and a Shevah Nach.

This being said I think there must be a more efficient way of doing
things.  Some way of getting indesign to know to put Metegs in without
messing up the positioning.

The Sheva problem might be more problematic as one has to modify
the font but I would like to be able to use a keyboard shortcut to add the
Sheva Na i.e. CapsLK+Shift+Ctrl+` that automatically put the modified Sheva in
the right place in the same way that CapsLk+Shift+` puts the regular Sheva in
the right place.

I thought with your work for Koren's Jerusalem Bible you should have
a few tricks up your sleeve.



7:59 am
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Hi Trevor,

Modifying the font can work, but you should check the EULA of your font to make sure that's allowed. Adobe is very free on what it allows done to its fonts, but other font developers are more restrictive.

You don't mention whether you are using a font which has OpenType tables.

Assuming the EULA allows, you can also open the font in an app like VOLT to create your own OpenType tables. If the font already has OT tables, you'll want to use a different app like Font Forge or the AFDKO to create your tables, since VOLT destroys any previously created tables. To position a meteg relative to nikud, you need a "mkmk" table to handle that. marks relative to base glyphs are controlled by "mark" tables.

Really, the best way to handle this type of thing is to use a font which has the correct positioning of all nikud and taamim. Currently, the font developer who has the most extensive OT tables on their fonts is Fontype ( Another option is Masterfont ( who sells fonts with extensive tables as well. (I believe they even sell the Koren font — but I don't know exactly which version.)

There's a couple of free options out there too, but I don't really recommend those for professional publishing.

The tool we created for Koren can also be used for this kind of thing (which would avoid any messing with fonts, as well as EULA issues), but it's not yet available for public purchase. I would be interested in hearing if people would be interested in buying such a tool though…

12:14 am
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I would just like to add one thing. If you continue going the route you are on, namely adding glyphs to accommodate a meteg+vowel you should be careful to map that glyph in font to some Unicode value. It will make your life much easier down the road.


The ideal solution is, as Harbs hinted, to create OpenType substitution tables within the font that will keep the Unicode characters and replace them behind the scenes with your new glyph.

1:46 am
driving directions
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Thank you for sharing this article with us! I believe there will be more people like me, they can find many interesting things in this article of you!
- driving directions

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