A glyph symbol is a one-way street that identifies the glyph used in a given glyph or character set. For example, if you need to use the same glyph for the glyph that identifies the character set, use one of the other glyph symbols instead.
Fonts (sizes) that are currently approved by Unicode Standard Annex #44 are not currently considered to use glyph symbols. However, they are a standard with which many applications share glyph symbols.
How are glyph symbols calculated?
The glyph symbols used in a font or character set are determined by the following steps:
Use glyphs of a predetermined character set to describe any glyphs that are defined by that character set
Find the length of that character set’s set of glyphs (lengths in glyphs + 1)
Decide whether a glyph in the set should be used for the glyph whose length is a multiple of the width of the character set
If so, the glyph will appear one glyph longer than needed for the glyph whose length is a multiple of that of the character set, and will have a different font (glyph) symbol from the glyph that is required for the specific glyph that is needed (glyphs whose glyphs and length are equal will use the same glyph symbol). If not, a separate glyph is used to describe that glyph.
Note that the formula above requires that the glyph be of the smallest possible glyph size. For example, a glyph of size 6 could only be a glyph symbol for a character set with a glyph symbol of size 12, because in Unicode, a glyph is sized based on the width of the character set. It’s possible that the glyph in question has the same glyph size and glyph symbol as one of the glyphs that are specified by the same character set.
Why aren’t glyph symbols all used?
As a Unicode standard, the design of glyphs is a process by which applications can be encouraged to use them in new ways. While no single application knows when, where, or how glyphs should be used, other applications can be encouraged to use glyphs. That could also cause a mismatch in an application that already uses a particular glyph. For example, this is also the case with certain character sets and glyphs.
When is a font released?
Fonts are released for use by applications using their glyphs, even if the design of the glyphs is not finalized until they are used.
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