Computer Fonts-An Important Tool for Mass Communication
Keywords: Fonts in a word processor, browser, university’s responsibility and
A couple of days ago I purchased a Compaq PC. It contains
Microsoft Works 7.0. I was amazed that this popular word processor does not
contain common scientific symbols like Planck’s constant S.
Lack of scientific fonts is the major drawback of Microsoft word processors.
When someone purchases a word processor, he uses it as the tool to express his
ideas. If a student submits his homework through a computer file but his teacher does not have
the same set of fonts stored in his computer, then it may become difficult for
him to grade the homework.
Thus, if a word processor company fails to provide enough fonts, it only shows
that the company lacks the vision of facilitating mass communication. In effect,
they are coaxing a consumer into handing over their savings for a toy
typewriter. Professors at universities often need to exchange their
scientific ideas. If their computers use different sets of fonts, how can they
communicate with each other? Thus, if a school's computers fail to provide
enough fonts for scientific writing, then the school is effectively cutting
people's tongues and making them dumb.
A computer is able to put a certain character onto the screen
only if its control panel's font file contains that type of font. Suppose you
create a file with WordPerfect, and later, buy a new computer that has Microsoft
Works. Then the new computer cannot correctly interpret the special characters
in your old file until you download WordPerfect onto your new computer. If you
install both word processors in your computer, then you can
enjoy both sets of fonts by using either word processor because both sets of
fonts have been downloaded into the font file of your computer's control panel.
Next, through my web publishing experience I must discuss
browsers. If I use Internet Explorer 6.0 to preview my FrontPage publications, it
always interprets the special characters correctly while Netscape 7.0 does not.
Thus, the choice of browser also affects the images displayed on a web page.
Pretty soon e-publishing will phase in and replace publishing
in book form. The government must adopt standard fonts for public use and,
thereby, regulate word processor companies. Otherwise, every time a consumer
purchases a new computer, he will panic because he is not sure whether his old
files can still be used in his new computer. If a government keeps allowing each
software company to develop independent font sets, then the dream of web
mass communication will remain far-off.