The SIL Latin, Cyrillic and Greek fonts are encoded according to Unicode, so your application must support Unicode text in order to access letters other than the standard ANSI characters. Most applications now provide basic Unicode support. You will, however, need some way of entering Unicode text into your document.
The Latin, Cyrillic and Greek font packages do not include any keyboarding helps or utilities. If you cannot use the built-in keyboards of the operating system, you will need to install the appropriate keyboard and input method for the characters of the language you wish to use. If you want to enter characters that are not supported by any system keyboard, the Keyman program can be helpful on Windows systems. Also available for Windows is MSKLC. For other platforms, KMFL, XKB or Ukelele can be helpful.
If you want to enter characters that are not supported by any system keyboard, and to access the full Unicode range, we suggest you use gucharmap, kcharselect on Ubuntu or similar software. Another method of entering some symbols is provided by a few applications such as Adobe InDesign. They can display a glyph palette that shows all the glyphs (symbols) in a font and allow you to enter them by clicking on the glyph you want.
Other suggestions are listed here: Keyboard Systems Overview.
SIL’s Latin fonts are often used for the transcription of linguistic data using the International Phonetic Alphabet. A number of IPA Unicode Keyboards for different operating systems are available.
SIL’s Latin, Cyrillic and Greek fonts are 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.
Other suggestions are listed here: Applications Support.
Marking tone in Unicode
This document gives an overview of most of the ways you can mark tone in Unicode. It also outlines the encoding and implementation of the 9-level pitch contours which were just added to our SIL Unicode Roman fonts.
In order to use these fonts with existing data that was created for use with fonts developed using the Encore Fonts system, or with custom-encoded fonts created by other means, it is necessary to re-type or convert data to produce data that is encoded in conformance with the Unicode Standard. TECkit is one program that can be used for character encoding conversion. TECkit allows users to write their own custom conversion mappings.
The TECkit package is available for download from SIL’s TECkit Web site.
Some TECkit mapping files have already been created for some of the more widely used SIL legacy fonts.
Many of SIL’s Private Use Area codepoints are now in Unicode. All processes (input methods, mappings) that create Unicode data should be revised to generate the proper Unicode values instead of PUA codes.
If you have data that contains these PUA codes, it should be updated by replacing each PUA character with its official Unicode counterpart. This will facilitate data interchange and the use of standard fonts and software.
SIL PUA to Unicode 7.0 Mapping is provided for converting your data.
Other suggestions are listed here: Introduction to Text Conversion and Transliteration.