Overstrike possible in Nisus?

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stevenrowat
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Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

Hi,
MS Word used to have the capability of overstriking one character over another.

I don't find this in the Nisus manual.

This would be a nice capability to have in general, but also I need this for a specific situation:

I'm attempting to re-create (digitally) a manuscript that was originally typewritten, and the original writer used the back-slash (/) overtop of other characters as a strike-out strategy. This was used differently than the usual strike-out, so I would like to be able to re-create this (and not graphically). Any possible solutions?

Thanks

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Elbrecht
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by Elbrecht »

Hi -

not sure understanding you - but try U+0337 or U+0338 after the character: a̷ A̸ This seems even to work right here – but depends on the font used, so try a comprehensive Unicode one…

HE
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martin
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by martin »

Elbrecht's suggestion to use a Unicode combining mark is a good one. You could also just tighten the kerning:
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stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

martin wrote:Elbrecht's suggestion to use a Unicode combining mark is a good one. You could also just tighten the kerning:
I'll try the tightening, but in some cases there were several words in a row, with an overstrike on each character and space. I suspect it won't look right, but I'll try it.

The Unicode confuses me -- isn't that for HTML? I'm working in RTF on a Mac. Would Unicode work directly in Nisus pro? How would I enter Unicode characters there? And is there a special Unicode character that says 'overstrike these two characters?'

Steven

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Elbrecht
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by Elbrecht »

Hi Steven -

with Unicode fonts I would definitely prefer entering U+0337 and/or U+0338 after the character concerned. Have a look at Apple's Character Viewer in Unicode View - there you can add both Strike Through Characters to your Favorites - for ease of use later. This is NO layout special as with Kerning - so your document will work in toto in any Text Editor as well, because it's in plain text only!

There is a single th with strike through - but only for backward compatibility with old documents - not for use in new documents. And there are a couple of Double Combining Diacritical Marks, but sorrily NO Strike Through - as far as I can see.

PopChar is a good tool for things like this to enter - but you can always Insert/Special Character/Show Character Catalog… or Edit/Convert/ToOrFrom Unicode Code Points [U+0337 and/or U+0338] in NisusWriter as well…

HE

PS: There is nothing special about Unicode nowadays – local codepages are gone…
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martin
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by martin »

stevenrowat wrote:The Unicode confuses me -- isn't that for HTML? I'm working in RTF on a Mac. Would Unicode work directly in Nisus pro?

Unicode isn't just for HTML. For any modern application or document all your text is Unicode, regardless of whether or not it uses any rare or fancy characters like a combining slash. Basically if you have some text, all the characters that comprise that text are stored as Unicode (even regular Latin characters like we're using right here).
How would I enter Unicode characters there?
You can enter any Unicode character into Nisus Writer using a variety of methods. Because it sounds like you'll be using this overstrike a lot, you should probably take Elbrecht's advice and add it to Nisus Writer's special characters menu/palette. You'll want to:

1. Bring up the special characters customization dialog using the menu Insert > Special Character > Customize Special Characters.
2. Choose the group in which you'd like to add the slash (or create a new group).
3. Click the "Show Character Catalog" button, which will bring up the OSX character palette.
4. Find the combining mark(s) mentioned. There are a variety of ways to do this, but the most exact is probably to just type "U+0337" into the search field.
5. Once you see the desired character in the results, drag it from the OSX "Characters" palette to NWP's "Edit Special Characters" dialog. This will add an entry with the appropriate character.

One you've got it added in NWP you can rename it or assign it a keyboard shortcut. Let us know if you have any trouble with any of this.
And is there a special Unicode character that says 'overstrike these two characters?'
I didn't look myself, but Elbrecht is thorough and very informed on Unicode issues, so I'd trust him that there aren't any options.

stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

Hi Elbrecht,

Thanks, it sounds like you may know how to solve my problem. Unfortunately I can't figure it out based on what you've said. I think you may presuppose more knowledge on my part. I need a simple detailed step by step to get me started.

What I want to do is combine a letter, say
a
with the backslash
/
so the backslash is printed over the a
And I want to do this with a whole phrase of text, each character.

I tried to follow your instructions, and looked through the 'Code Tables' in the Character viewer, but ran into these problems:

1. I'm on Snow Leopard, not Tiger, so maybe I don't have a Character viewer that will do the job.
2. Don't know how to insert a Unicode code itself into Nisus. AFAIK the viewer just inserts the visible text symbol itself.
3. Couldn't find any reference to a special combining code that combines all characters.
4. Don't know how to look up the codes you've specified, or how to use them if I found them.

:?

Steven Rowat

Elbrecht wrote:Hi Steven -

with Unicode fonts I would definitely prefer entering U+0337 and/or U+0338 after the character concerned. Have a look at Apple's Character Viewer in Unicode View - there you can add both Strike Through Characters to your Favorites - for ease of use later. This is NO layout special as with Kerning - so your document will work in toto in any Text Editor as well, because it's in plain text only!

There is a single th with strike through - but only for backward compatibility with old documents - not for use in new documents. And there are a couple of Double Combining Diacritical Marks, but sorrily NO Strike Through - as far as I can see.

PopChar is a good tool for things like this to enter - but you can always Insert/Special Character/Show Character Catalog… or Edit/Convert/ToOrFrom Unicode Code Points [U+0337 and/or U+0338] in NisusWriter as well…

HE

PS: There is nothing special about Unicode nowadays – local codepages are gone…

martin
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by martin »

Hi Steven,

Please see my instructions above for how to add new entry to NWP's special characters menu/palette. If you still have problems with that please let us know.

After you've added the entry to the special characters menu it's relatively simple to insert the character into your document, eg:

1. Place the insertion point after the character you want to overstrike, eg: click after the "a".
2. Use the special characters menu (or palette, or a keyboard shortcut you've assigned) to insert the overstrike character after the "a".

That should do it and you'll see on screen "a̷".

stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

martin wrote:Hi Steven,
That should do it and you'll see on screen "a̷".
Got it, thanks.

Two steps that fouled me up at first, for anyone else following through this in future: you have to make sure that:
a) It's a 'combining' character already (you can't take just any character and combine).
b) It's a combining character that exists in the font you want to use.

I first tried U+0337 with Times and nothing happened. That's because only U+0338 exists in Times.

Works well from the pallette, I can quickly add them to a whole string of existing text just by alternating the pattette and the arrow key to move the cursor. Nice.

:)

Steven Rowat

stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

stevenrowat wrote: I can quickly add them to a whole string of existing text just by alternating the pattette and the arrow key to move the cursor. Nice.
Hi, new problem with this. Unanticipated base-line shift with different characters.

What happens is that the overstruck '/' is moved vertically to be centered with the character.
So, a 'g' which has a long descender, the '/' is shifted downwards with the g, and so on.

My goal is to replicate old typewriter overstriking, and unfortunately this doesn't look like it at all.

The '/' characters should all strike at exactly the same height in the line, with the same baseline.

See uploaded screen-shot. When you have a whole line of these, it's very obvious that it's ragged and doesn't look like it was done by a typewriter. It also makes it harder to read what's being overstruck (which can be read easily in a true typewriter-type of overstrike, which I want).

Any way to get the overstrike character to stay to the baseline?

Really this seems like a bug somewhere. Combining characters should keep both the originals at their standard baseline heights, no?

Steven Rowat
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phspaelti
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by phspaelti »

stevenrowat wrote: I can quickly add them to a whole string of existing text just by alternating the pattette and the arrow key to move the cursor. Nice.
I'm glad you are happy with this typing solution. But just in case you get tired, I have written a little macro that will apply such dashes to a stretch of selected text in one go.
OverstrikeWithDash.nwm
(19.11 KiB) Downloaded 277 times
stevenrowat wrote: Any way to get the overstrike character to stay to the baseline?
Design your own font?
stevenrowat wrote: Really this seems like a bug somewhere. Combining characters should keep both the originals at their standard baseline heights, no?
You seem to misunderstand what an overstrike solidus is for. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to carefully match the baselines of the solidus with the characters to be overstruck. You are trying to misuse a feature.
philip

stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

phspaelti wrote:
stevenrowat wrote: Really this seems like a bug somewhere. Combining characters should keep both the originals at their standard baseline heights, no?
You seem to misunderstand what an overstrike solidus is for. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to carefully match the baselines of the solidus with the characters to be overstruck. You are trying to misuse a feature.
They actually seem to have used the vertical center rather than the baseline (if you look at my screenshot), but your point is taken. Fair enough. I have no idea what the solidus overstrike was designed for. I wish someone had designed it to do my job, but apparently they didn't.

Designing my own font is a bit beyond me (and I don't really want to use a font that has no descenders anyway), so I guess I'll have to give up.

It would seem easier to design another solidus overstrike, that stayed at the baseline for the whole font, no? Or is that what you meant when you said "design your own font"?

And, I haven't tried the macro -- you say it overstrikes the dash? Would that be the same as the Nisus strikethrough macro? (ie.: ------------). The Nisus one already does multiple letters...is yours different?

SR

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phspaelti
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by phspaelti »

stevenrowat wrote: They actually seem to have used the vertical center rather than the baseline (if you look at my screenshot), but your point is taken. Fair enough. I have no idea what the solidus overstrike was designed for. I wish someone had designed it to do my job, but apparently they didn't.
The solidus is supposed to form new characters. So the type designer has carefully matched the solidus to the character so the whole looks good. If the solidus were on the baseline, it would stick out at the top on the "g" and not cross the descender. That would look really ugly in isolation.
You may think that the computer is "overstriking" the character, but in fact the combination is stored as a whole and the layout agent knows to replace the character sequence "g"+"U+0337" with the visually combined form.
stevenrowat wrote: Designing my own font is a bit beyond me (and I don't really want to use a font that has no descenders anyway), so I guess I'll have to give up.

It would seem easier to design another solidus overstrike, that stayed at the baseline for the whole font, no? Or is that what you meant when you said "design your own font"?
Well that suggestion was at least partly in jest. I wouldn't want to try that myself either. But if you did, you wouldn't lose descenders, you would just have to create combined characters for each character in the font. With the proper software this is done in a graphic interface, so it would mainly involve a lot of time-consuming busy work, I think.
stevenrowat wrote: And, I haven't tried the macro -- you say it overstrikes the dash? Would that be the same as the Nisus strikethrough macro? (ie.: ------------). The Nisus one already does multiple letters...is yours different?
No, it "overstrikes" the solidus, so it would allow you to do what you were doing before--laboriously--in one quick go. If you look inside, you will see that I specified the solidus by number ("0x0337"), so you could replace that number with the number of any other combining form and it would "overstrike" with that.

But here's the thing, I really wonder why you are trying to do things this way. I can understand the desire to reproduce an old document faithfully; I often do the same thing. But I usually do so, so I can do things like search the document. That is I try to reproduce the document logically. In your case it sounds like this overstriking was form of editing (crossing out?) that was used. I would want to reproduce that with a style, that graphically could be represented with a colour or a (visually separate) strike attribute, or a background color. This would also allow it to be changed easily.
The strikethrough approach completely destroys searchability. If you overstrike "Nisus" with a solidus, the text is logically "N/i/s/u/s/".

The overstrike was a hack back then, dictated by the technical limitations of the time. Is it so important to reproduce the graphical impression that faithfully? If so maybe, you should just scan it, and put it in as a graphic.

Just my two cents worth.
philip

stevenrowat
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by stevenrowat »

phspaelti wrote: The strikethrough approach completely destroys searchability. If you overstrike "Nisus" with a solidus, the text is logically "N/i/s/u/s/".

The overstrike was a hack back then, dictated by the technical limitations of the time. Is it so important to reproduce the graphical impression that faithfully? If so maybe, you should just scan it, and put it in as a graphic.

Just my two cents worth.
I appreciate your attempt to mindread me. :-) Difficult at best. :-)

And also thank you for your information about the lack of searchability.

However, it's a work that requires historical accuracy, and needs to be done in the original way (overstrike that looks like a typewriter did it).

And I've just now (ten minutes ago) stumbled upon an elegant solution -- not as easy to implement as a baseline overstrike character, but almost, and it has the added attraction of not interfering with searchability.

I merely run a row of solidus in a text box, and place it over the text. Too simple. :-) Seems to work.
I can even use kerning to match the solidus spacing to what I need.

Of course if I edit that paragraph I'll need to reposition the text box. But in most cases I won't be doing that, and if I do I can move it.

SR

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Elbrecht
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Re: Overstrike possible in Nisus?

Post by Elbrecht »

Hi Steven -

The Mac is no typewriter - I was told in times of old. The up to date way to handle your input is using FORMAT/STRIKETHROUGH in Nisus - then the text stays intact and is searchable - and you can import it to any other application. Give the text a note why you replaced with good reason and everyone will love you for your choice of replacing!

The Mac is no scanner - as well…
HE
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