Table of Contents

Known Issues


What platforms and software will Abyssinica SIL work in?

Abyssinica SIL will work on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. However, keep in mind that more recent versions (such as Mac OS x v10.8+ and Windows 7+) give the best support. The other key to successful rendering of complex fonts is the support given by the application you are using.

What is so special about Abyssinica SIL?

This font is designed to work with two advanced font technologies, Graphite and OpenType. To take advantage of the advanced typographic capabilities of this font, you must be using applications that provide an adequate level of support for Graphite or OpenType. These advanced capabilities provide access to the variant character forms used in some languages.

What characters are included with this release?

See Character Set Support for the full listing.

Do you supply a keyboard to use with Abyssinica SIL?

Keyman is a cross-platform keyboarding system and a number of Ethiopic keyboards are available:

Various other means may be available for different operating-system platforms to create additional input methods. For instance, Windows (Vista and above) provides an Ethiopic IME.

For the Mac, version 10.2 of Mac OS X includes a mechanism for users to create custom Unicode keyboard layouts (see

Other suggestions are listed here: Keyboard Systems Overview.

My language uses variant forms of some Ethiopic characters. How do I type these using the Abyssinica SIL font? How do I use features?

You should type the character the same way you would type the standard form of the character. Then, you need to select the variants to be displayed. If your application supports Graphite or the OpenType Character Variant features, you can use these to access the font features built into the font. See Abyssinica SIL Font Features on the Abyssinica SIL Smart Font Features page for more details.

If your application does not support Graphite features or the OpenType Character Variants, you can use TypeTunerWeb to customize the font with the variants you require. See Abyssinica SIL Font Features on the Smart Font Features page for more details.

Why did you remove the Stylistic Sets from ver. 2.000 of the Abyssinica SIL font?

Originally we added the Stylistic Sets because there was not a good solution for accessing the glyph variants in the font. At one point we also tried encoding them in the Private Use Area (PUA). PUA characters have now almost all been unencoded since the characters are now either encoded in Unicode or the variants are available through Character Variants. The Stylistic Sets were implemented inconsistently, and because of that we chose to remove them rather than attempt to fix them. If you still wish to use a font with Stylistic Sets, ver. 1.500 is still available on the Previous Versions page.

I have a copy of the SIL Abyssinica font. Can you tell me how this differs from Abyssinica SIL?

It is best to upgrade to Abyssinica SIL. SIL Abyssinica (and SIL Abyssinica U and SIL Abyssinica G) was an early, unreleased version of Abyssinica SIL. Although a Unicode font, it only supported Unicode 3.0 and thus had a number of PUA characters in it which have since been added to Unicode 4.1 and 6.0. You should convert your data to Unicode 6.0 and use Abyssinica SIL. A mapping file to convert your data from PUA to Unicode 6.0 is available here: sil-pua-unicode. If you do not convert your data to official Unicode codepoints you will never be able to use another Ethiopic font because those are Private codepoints and other fonts do not support them.

You have characters which are encoded in the PUA area. Is there any likelihood that these will ever be in Unicode? If so, will you update Abyssinica SIL?

Version 1.500 incorporated all characters that are in Unicode 6.0.

With version 2.000 we have removed almost all of the PUA characters in the font because they are either available through their official Unicode codepoints or through the Character Variants.

I would like to bundle Abyssinica SIL with my application – can I?

The SIL Open Font License allows bundling with applications, even commercial ones, with some restrictions.

See the SIL Open Font License web page.

Can I use Abyssinica SIL on my web site?

You can certainly create web pages that request the Abyssinica SIL font be used to display them (if that font is available on the user’s system). According to the license, you are even allowed to place the font on your site for people to download it. We would strongly recommend, however, that you direct users to our site to download the font. This ensures that they are always using the most recent version with bug fixes, etc.

Version 2.000 includes a web font download with a WOFF font. This allows you to place the WOFF font on your website and your web pages can access the font through @font-face. See the web font documentation for details.

Is Abyssinica SIL going to stay free?

There is no intention to ever charge users for using the Abyssinica SIL font. The current version is licensed under a free/open license and future versions will be similar.

I would like to modify Abyssinica SIL to add a couple of characters I need. Can I?

Yes! That is allowed as long as you abide by the conditions of the SIL Open Font License.

Will you add glyphs to Abyssinica SIL upon request?

If you have a special character that you need, the best means of doing so will be to ensure that the character makes it into the Unicode Standard. It is impossible for us to add every glyph that every person desires, but we will place a high priority on adding anything needed for Ethiopic. You can send us your requests, but please understand that we are unlikely to add symbols where the user base is very small, unless they have been accepted into Unicode.

Can I send you work I’ve done to be incorporated into the Abyssinica SIL font?

Yes! See the Abyssinica SIL Github repo for information on becoming a contributor.

Known Issues

These were known issues for version 1.200. We have not received similar reports for version 1.500.

Error messages on Macintosh

On Macintosh computers Font Book sometimes reports these errors: “Missing OpenType Data” and “Serious problems were found. Do not use this font”. OpenType data is in the font and as far as we can tell the messages are spurious. It is okay to select the font and click on “Install Checked”.

Diacritic positioning

Uniscribe version 1.613.5291.0 supports dynamic positioning of U+135F over all Ethiopic characters. However, (even with this version of uniscribe loaded) Microsoft Office 2003 supports dynamic positioning of most diacritics (but not U+135F), over the Ethiopic range (U+1200..U+135A) but not over Ethiopic Supplement or Ethiopic Extended characters. When Uniscribe version 1.613.5291.0 is loaded, Microsoft Publisher 2003 does support dynamic positioning of U+135F.

Uniscribe version 1.606.5065.1 supports dynamic positioning of U+135F over U+1200..U+135A characters (including the Unicode 4.1 characters in that range) but U+135F does not position correctly for the Unicode 4.1 characters from U+1380..U+2DDE.