FONT with male / female symbol

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Fri May 18 09:20:05 CDT 2001

At 08:44 AM 5/18/01, Una Smith wrote:
>A TAXACOM reader asked me how to use special fonts when submitting
>manuscripts electronically.
> >In electronic submissions you need to use a widely used font such as
> >Times/Times Roman or Helvetica and neither of these generally held
> >fonts has such symbols.

Times New Roman and Arial, as distributed by Microsoft, both contain the
male and female symbols. Unfortunately, (1) the versions in each are ugly,
(2) they are only accessible in Windows 2000, OSX, or specific applications
such as MS Word that support Unicode, and (3) if your publisher is still
using Type 1 fonts, which don't support Unicode, you are out of luck.

Font technology is in the midst of two simultaneous changes. First, a new
format called OpenType is being supported by both Microsoft and Apple (and
I believe there are Linux implementations); it combines the best features
of TrueType and Type 1, and most important, it allows full use of the
second change, the Unicode standard for encoding characters. The aim of
Unicode is to eventually be a single computer character code for all the
writing systems of the world, and many other symbols that are used in plain

Unfortunately, many of the advantages haven't reached the average user yet.
Specifically, the symbols for biennial and hermaphrodite (as used by
entomologists) are not yet in the Unicode standard (annual is U+2609 SUN,
perennial is U+2643 JUPITER, female is U+2640 FEMALE SIGN, male is U+2642
MALE SIGN, and virgin, as used by entomologists, is U+263F MERCURY).

>These are "founts".

Fount is the British spelling of font, and among typographers the words are
synonymous, although few can agree on the definition. :-)

>The brilliant thing about LaTeX is that the author's source is pure

TeX is a robust and powerful system, but it is not something that can be
learned in an afternoon. And there are some biology journals that are not
set up to deal with submissions in TeX (in contrast to most physics and
math journals that *require* TeX submissions).

If you want any of these special symbols only for paper, any of the fonts
mentioned will work. If you are already using TeX, Una's suggestions are
well-heeded. If you are exchanging data with someone who has Unicode
capability, and you have no use for either biennials or hermaphrodites, use
the Unicode characters. For everyone else, check with your recipient and
find out what is expected.

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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