Sunday, 2 August 2009 on Mac OS X - Bullet point corruption fixed

One continuous gripe I have with on Mac OS X is the apparent failure to properly handle bullet points. It only affects MS Word .doc format, and looks something like this:

This is apparently caused by the .doc format itself. Saving a .doc file in Word or and opening it in OOo will result in this bug. It is caused by a complete encoding failure on the part of the Word document format for bullet point symbols, as it explicitly looks for a particular glyph in the Symbol font rather than looking for the Unicode code point for the character. So, on machines that don't have the Windows version of Symbol.ttf installed ... it simply displays a nonsense character. OS X has its own Symbol font with different glyphs.

Fortunately the workaround for this is very simple. You can use font substitution to make OOo look at a "Symbol compatible" font for the glyph - in this case, OpenSymbol. Open the preferences panel and navigate to the Fonts page. Then, enter a font substitution for Symbol to OpenSymbol, to be applied Always.

This will take effect immediately, so any documents you have open will magically get their bullet points back. Smashing! Here is the same document immediately after closing the preferences window:

1 comment:

iMark said...

Thanks SO much for this article!
This was driving me nuts.

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