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Why do some font names begin with an at-sign?

| Thursday, August 2, 2012
It was a simple question.

For some reason, my font selection dialog (CFont­Dialog) shows a bunch of font names beginning with the at-sign (@). These fonts don't work correctly if I use them. Any idea what they are? (I tried searching the Internet, but search engines don't seem to let you search for @ so it's hard to make much headway.)
(And that's why I wrote "at-sign" in the subject instead of using the @ character.)

Fonts which begin with an @-sign are vertically-oriented fonts. They are used in languages like Chinese, Japanese, and (less often) Korean. The idea is that if you want to generate vertical text, you start with the horizontal version of the font and compose your document, then switch to the vertical version for printing.

I wasn't able to detect that your browser supports the @SimSun font, so I'll give an example with fake Chinese characters. Pretend that the shapes and Latin letters are actually Chinese characters. First, you compose your document with the horizontal font:


When it's time to print, switch to the vertical version of the font.


Hm, it looks like the Chinese characters got rotated 90° to the left, so they're all lying on their side. The result is not really all that readable, but wait, here's the trick: After the paper comes out of the printer, rotate the paper right 90°:

Read more: The Old New Thing
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