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Publisher: Superscript


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Here’s how to reproduce the bug.

Select a string. Go to Text box/Typography. Click on the character style in superscript. It does not work.

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Mais je vous le demande, peut-on imaginer une police sans sérifs ?

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I can see similar but different – and very odd – issues, see first attached GIF.
Workflow:
* Create new document;
* Add text frame;
* Add filler text;
* Expend filler text;
* Try making certain words sub/super-script.
Sometimes nothing seems to happen, sometimes some letters are formatted. Superscript only seems to work on the letter ‘n’ and subscript seems to only work for the letters ‘a’ ‘e’ and ‘o’, see second attached GIF.
Also, near the end of the first GIF, I can press both the superscript and subscript buttons at the same time. I don’t think pressing both at the same time should be allowed as I don’t think ‘superscript + subscript’ has any meaning.

super-sub-script-issues.gif

super-sub-script-issues2.gif

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The Super- and Subscript buttons turn on typography features that are provided by the font you are using. For what I found if proper OpenType features (namely subs and sups) are not supported then Unicode defined super/subscript  glyphs are used.

In case of Arial there's only one superscript letter defined - n (Unicode glyph U+207F; for other glyph code points checkout out this post). Hence it's the only modified character. The same applies to subscript.

 

What you want to do is to use superscript positioning instead:
image.png.560c67daadc5f7f24cfcc3d624236465.png

Note: if your font supports ordinal suffix (ordn OpenType feature), you may enable it with the button:
image.png.a6da080b9505bc6cc4c8eb9650b2d795.png

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Ah, now that’s interesting.
So the Superscript and Subscript buttons in the ‘Typography’ section in the Character panel will only make the characters super/subscript if the font contains related super/subscript characters, while the Super/Subscript drop-down in the ‘Positioning and Transform’ section of the same panel will format all selected characters to be smaller and reposition them accordingly.
I think most users will expect the functionality of the latter while not knowing what the functionality of the former actually does (no distinction is made in the Help, as far as I can see).
Because of this I think it might be better if the Super/Subscript buttons in the ‘Typography’ section are removed – or, more probably, renamed in some way - so as not to cause further confusion for users who don’t know the difference. At the moment they just look like two ways of doing the same thing, which they’re not.

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Edit: I complelety edited my reply as it sounded rude and that definitely wasn't my intention.

1 hour ago, GarryP said:

Because of this I think it might be better if the Super/Subscript buttons in the ‘Typography’ section are removed – or, more probably, renamed in some way - so as not to cause further confusion for users who don’t know the difference. At the moment they just look like two ways of doing the same thing, which they’re not.

I feel the sections clearly distinguish those two features - Positioning and Typography.

1 hour ago, GarryP said:

no distinction is made in the Help, as far as I can see

Publisher's help tries to distinguish between those two, but I must admit - the explanation isn't informative.

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While Positioning and Typography are two different things, if, for example, the user finds a “Superscript” button – by mousing around and reading the tool-tips – they could easily think that was the button to use for superscript without wondering whether there was another Superscript control which was the one they might actually be needing.

To put that another way, if you don’t know that there is more than one type of superscript you probably won’t go looking for another one once you have found one. A user may not care (or even notice) which section of a panel a control is in, they probably care more about what it is called and what it does. In this case, the user finds a button called "Superscript" which they press and it doesn’t do anything. It looks like a bug because the name of the button is misleading to everyone who doesn’t know there is more than one type of superscript.

The Super/Subscript in Typography seem to be for something called “figure positions” elsewhere. If this is correct, if the Typography buttons were called something like “Use Superscript Figure Positions” and “Use Subscript Figure Positions” that would make it clearer as only the people who knew what those things were would use them (mostly).

If beginners don’t know what something is they are more likely to stay away from it, but if they find a control which is called something that they know - even if it’s not quite for what they know and the icon doesn’t exactly look like what they want - they are more likely to use it mistakenly.

The Help needs to be quite a bit more helpful when it comes to typography. The Typography panel itself isn’t available via the contents or search and isn’t documented at all, as far as I can tell. There’s mention of it in “Open Type font features” but it’s simply mentioned in passing; there are no explanations of what the things in it are or what they should be used for. The Help doesn’t have to be a comprehensive typographer’s manual but there should at least be something for the user to read which can then be researched further on the web if necessary.

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All this is very interesting.

Quote

the explanation [of Publisher] isn't informative.

Yes. And help does not help much, especially since in French we find in the French translation false meanings and even sometimes misinterpretations.

I use QuarkXPress and Indesign with a preference for the first. With Publisher, I have the default of those who know the PAO thoroughly… which finally joins the default of beginners since the software is different.

Suggestion: it should actually be more precise help on the difference between the two features, and the interface also distinguishes them better.

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Mais je vous le demande, peut-on imaginer une police sans sérifs ?

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7 minutes ago, Pyanepsion said:

And help does not help much, especially since in French we find in the French translation false meanings and even sometimes misinterpretations.

You should report these as bugs so that they can be fixed.

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All-in-all, I think this is a problem, but not a problem with how the software functions.
As with Pyanepsion, I would say that the problem was in the tool-tips and the documentation.
If the tool-tips were renamed and more explanation were given in the documentation that would probably fix it.

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9 hours ago, GarryP said:

if you don’t know that there is more than one type of superscript you probably won’t go looking for another one once you have found one

Fully agree - I apparently did not get the point of your previous post. My apologizes.

 

To compare the terminology used elsewhere:

Application Position superscript Position subscript OpenType superscript OpenType subscript
InDesign Superscript Subscript Superscript/Superior Subscript/Inferior
QuarkXPress Superscript Subscript OpenType > Position > Superscript OpenType > Position > Subscript
Scribus Superscript Subscript Superscript (sups) Subscript (subs)

So maybe the typography features can be renamed to Superior variants and Inferior variants?

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That’s okay, it was a simple misunderstanding. I should have been clearer earlier.

As for the naming of the functions/features, “Superior Variants” and “Inferior Variants” seem to be as good names as any to me but this whole area is a bit confusing for someone like me who doesn’t use this kind of thing on a day-to-day basis.

For instance, in the current Publisher terminology, why can both “Subscript” and “Superscript” be both switched on at the same time in the Typography section of the Character panel but not in the Typography panel itself? Or, what does having “Subscript” and “Fraction” and “Ordinal” all switched on at the same time actually do? And why are some features shown in the Typography section of the Character panel but not in the Typography panel when “Show all Font Features” isn’t checked? I just don’t know what’s going on.

If someone on the development team can determine exactly what these things are for then better names will probably come naturally from that determination. As long as the names aren’t confusing to people who aren’t typography experts then that should be fine.

One thing I would like to add is that if the “Superscript/Superior” and “Subscript/Inferior” buttons are usually used for numerical values – as they mostly seem to be, but not always – then I would suggest that the icons are changed to contain numbers rather than the letter “S” which also adds to the confusion with “Super/Subscript”. I’ve attached a quick and crude mock-up of icons which might explain where I’m coming from.

superior-inferior.png

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8 hours ago, GarryP said:

For instance, in the current Publisher terminology, why can both “Subscript” and “Superscript” be both switched on at the same time in the Typography section of the Character panel but not in the Typography panel itself

That's a good point and needs to be unified.

Even if it's counterintuitive, the OpenType specification does not restrict enabling super- and subscript at the same time. Each OpenType font has a list of features which order is determined by its author. The specification states that features should be applied one by one according to the order.

An OpenType feature can be applied to a whole paragraph, so if some font provides superior variant only for digits and inferior variant only for letters you may want to turn both features on (for some unknown reason :)). Also, for those specific features, OpenType specification says clearly:

Quote

Feature interaction: This feature may be used in combination with other substitution (GSUB) features, whose results it may override.

To sum up: using both features is counterintuitive, but not forbidden.

 


 

8 hours ago, GarryP said:

if the “Superscript/Superior” and “Subscript/Inferior” buttons are usually used for numerical values – as they mostly seem to be, but not always

According to the specification superior variants main purpose are footnote markers (besides digits also: * † ‡ § ‖) and abbreviations, i.e. latin Mˢˢʳ or french ones:

Quote

The superscript is a traditionnal habit for forms of address in French: besides Mme and Mlle, you can find Dr (Docteur, Doctor), Pr (Professeur, Professor), Me (Maître, Master, for some legal professions), Mgr (Monseigneur, Mylord, for a Catholic bishop)

 

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I don’t really have an issue with counter-intuitive if that’s just how things are. I can live with it as long as the UI is consistent with the specifications, i.e. if we can apply two (or more) things at a time in one place in the UI we should also be able to apply them similarly elsewhere in the UI.

I wasn’t aware of that tradition in French. I guess that could be part of the reason why only certain letters are given superscript forms: Why create a proper superscript “z”, for example, if you don’t need one? I think I remember seeing some text for Doctor shown as a capital D with a period to the right and a superscript “r” over the period, but that was decades ago and I might not be remembering it correctly.

If these sorts of things were explained in the Help – even in just a small way – it may give users like me enough information to either realise we were in over our heads and forget about the whole thing or to find it interesting enough to look for more explanation. As it is we get nothing, which isn’t very helpful.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...
6 hours ago, Sihol said:

And they still haven't fixed it...

What do you think, in what you quoted, needs to be fixed?

 

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