A library to configure Unicode fonts for Emacs.



(require 'unicode-fonts)


	C-h h                                         ; M-x view-hello-file
	M-x list-charset-chars RET unicode-bmp RET    ; search for eg 210x
	M-x list-charset-chars RET unicode-smp RET    ; if your backend supports astral chars
	M-x unicode-fonts-debug-insert-block RET Mathematical_Operators RET


Emacs maintains font mappings on a per-glyph basis, meaning that multiple fonts are used at the same time (transparently) to display any character for which you have a font. Furthermore, Emacs does this out of the box.

However, font mappings via fontsets are a bit difficult to configure. Furthermore, the default setup does not always pick the most legible fonts. As the manual warns, the choice of font actually displayed for a non-ASCII character is “somewhat random”.

Unicode provides a way to organize font mappings: it divides character ranges into logical groups called “blocks”. This library configures Emacs in a Unicode-friendly way by providing mappings from

	each Unicode block  ---to--->   a font with good coverage

and makes the settings available via the customization interface.

To use unicode-fonts, place the unicode-fonts.el file somewhere Emacs can find it, and add the following to your ~/.emacs file:

	(require 'unicode-fonts)

See important notes about startup speed below.

Minimum Useful Fonts

To gain any benefit from the library, you must have fonts with good Unicode support installed on your system. If you are running a recent version of OS X or Microsoft Windows, you already own some good multi-lingual fonts, though you would do very well to download and install the four items below:

From http://dejavu-fonts.org/wiki/Download

	DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Sans Mono

From http://www.quivira-font.com/downloads.php


From http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/


It is also recommended to remove GNU Unifont from your system. Unifont is very useful for debugging, but not useful for reading.

Startup Speed

The default options favor correctness and completeness over speed, and can add many seconds to startup time in GUI mode. Note that when possible a font cache is kept between sessions, so try starting Emacs a second time to see the true startup cost. To further increase startup speed, enter the customization interface and

1. Remove fonts from ‘unicode-fonts-block-font-mapping’ which are not present on your system.

2. Disable blocks in ‘unicode-fonts-block-font-mapping’ which you are not interested in displaying.

Unmapped Blocks

On the assumption that an extended Latin font such as Monaco, Consolas, or DejaVu Sans Mono is already being used for the default face, no separate mappings are provided for the following Unicode blocks:

	Latin Extended Additional
	Latin Extended-A
	Latin-1 Supplement
	Spacing Modifier Letters


Calling ‘set-fontset-font’ can easily crash Emacs. There is a workaround, but it may not be sufficient on all platforms. Tested on Cocoa Emacs, Native Mac Emacs, X11/XQuartz, MS Windows XP.

Widths of alternate fonts do not behave as expected on MS Windows. For example, DejaVu Sans Mono box-drawing characters may use a different width than the default font.

Free International and Symbol Fonts

Free fonts recognized by this package may be downloaded from the following locations:

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=DoulosSIL_download

	Doulos SIL                    ; Extended European and diacritics

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=Gentium_download

	Gentium Plus                  ; Greek

From http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/

	Aegean, Aegyptus, Akkadian    ; Ancient languages
	Analecta                      ; Ancient languages, Deseret
	Musica                        ; Musical Symbols

From http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/views/View_MPH2BDamase.html

	MPH 2B Damase                 ; Arabic, Armenian, Buginese, Cherokee, Georgian,
	                              ; Glagolitic, Hanunoo, Kharoshthi, Limbu, Osmanya,
	                              ; Shavian, Syloti Nagri, Tai Le, Thaana

From http://wenq.org/enindex.cgi?Home

	WenQuanYi Zen Hei             ; CJK (Simplified Chinese)

From http://babelstone.co.uk/Fonts/

	BabelStone Han                ; CJK (Simplified Chinese)
	BabelStone Phags-pa Book      ; Phags-pa

From http://kldp.net/projects/unfonts/

	Un Batang                     ; CJK (Hangul)

From http://sourceforge.jp/projects/hanazono-font/releases/

	Hana Min A, Hana Min B        ; CJK (Japanese)

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=SILYi_home

	Nuosu SIL                     ; CJK (Yi)

From http://www.daicing.com/manchu/index.php?page=fonts-downloads

	Daicing Xiaokai               ; Mongolian

From http://www.library.gov.bt/IT/fonts.html

	Jomolhari                     ; Tibetan

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=

	Padauk                        ; Myanmar

From http://sarovar.org/projects/samyak/

	Samyak                        ; Devanagari, Gujarati, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil

From http://guca.sourceforge.net/typography/fonts/anmoluni/

	AnmolUni                      ; Gurmukhi

From http://brahmi.sourceforge.net/downloads2.html

	Kedage                        ; Kannada

From http://www.omicronlab.com/bangla-fonts.html

	Mukti Narrow                  ; Bengali

From http://www.kamban.com.au/downloads.html

	Akshar Unicode                ; Sinhala

From http://tabish.freeshell.org/eeyek/download.html

	Eeyek Unicode                 ; Meetei Mayek

From http://scripts.sil.org/CMS/scripts/page.php?&item_id=Mondulkiri

	Khmer Mondulkiri              ; Khmer

From http://www.laoscript.net/downloads/

	Saysettha MX                  ; Lao

From http://www.geocities.jp/simsheart_alif/taithamunicode.html

	Lanna Alif                    ; Tai Tham

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=DaiBannaSIL

	Dai Banna SIL                 ; New Tai Lue

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=TaiHeritage

	Tai Heritage Pro              ; Tai Viet

From http://sabilulungan.org/aksara/

	Sundanese Unicode             ; Sundanese

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=ArabicFonts

	Scheherazade                  ; Arabic

From http://www.farsiweb.ir/wiki/Persian_fonts

	Koodak                        ; Arabic (Farsi)

From http://openfontlibrary.org/font/ahuramazda/

	Ahuramzda                     ; Avestan

From http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=AbyssinicaSIL

	Abyssinica SIL                ; Ethiopic

From http://www.bethmardutho.org/index.php/resources/fonts.html

	Estrangelo Nisibin            ; Syriac

From http://www.evertype.com/fonts/nko/

	Conakry                       ; N'ko

Non-free Fonts

Many non-free fonts are referenced by the default settings. However, free alternatives are also given wherever possible, and patches are of course accepted to improve every case.

Chinese and Arabic Scripts

If you are using a language written in Chinese or Arabic script, try customizing ‘unicode-fonts-skip-font-groups’ to control which script you see, and send a friendly bug report.


unicode-fonts.el is available at github:


and via EmacsWiki:


Example Setup

The following setup just tries to get the Emoticons to display correctly:

;; I have all the packages installed in subdirectories of ~/elisp
(dolist (lib '("font-utils" "unicode-fonts" "ucs-utils" "list-utils"))
  (add-to-list 'load-path
	       (expand-file-name lib (concat (getenv "HOME") "/elisp"))))
;; keep only the Emoticons block, change only the default fontset
(require 'unicode-fonts)
(setq unicode-fonts-block-font-mapping
	 ("Apple Color Emoji" "Symbola" "Quivira")))
      unicode-fonts-fontset-names '("fontset-default"))

CategoryFaces CategoryInternationalization