Microsoft Typography | Developer information | Specifications | OpenType font development
Hangul OpenType Specification

Creating and supporting OpenType fonts for the Korean Hangul script

This document presents information that will assist font developers in creating fonts for the Korean Hangul script covered by the Unicode Standard 3.1.

The Korean Hangul script is a 'syllabic' script. The syllables are formed by combining sequences of elemental, alphabetic consonants and vowels. The process of composing syllables is additive in nature and follows a set of predefined rules. The glyph elements of each composed syllable are shaped and positioned into a square display cell, often referred to as a 'syllable block', or 'syllable glyph'.

The Unicode Standard provides encodings for pre-composed Hangul syllables known as 'Modern Hangul' as well as encodings for individual Hangul alphabetic elements called Jamo and known as 'Old Hangul' . 'Modern Hangul' has 11,172 pre-composed characters in the Unicode range U+AC00 through U+D7AF. 'Old Hangul' syllables can be composed from the individual Hangul Jamos encoded in the Unicode Hangul Jamo block (U+1100 through U+11FF). More specifically, only certain sequences of these Jamo characters can combine to form Old Hangul syllables. These sequences are defined in Appendix B (of this document). Only sequences that match those defined in Appendix B will result in formation of Old Hangul syllables. Sequences of character codes from the Hangul Jamo Block that do not match any sequence pattern in Appendix B, will be considered as a sequence of individual non-Old Hangul characters.

Font developers will learn how to address Old Hangul syllable formation, encode complex script features in their fonts, choose character sets, organize font information, and use existing tools to produce Old Hangul fonts. Registered features of the Korean Hangul script are defined and illustrated, encodings are listed, and templates are included for compiling Korean Hangul layout tables for OpenType fonts.

This document also presents information about the Korean OpenType shaping engine of Uniscribe, an operating system component responsible for text layout.

In addition to being a primer and specification for the creation and support of Hangul fonts, this document is intended to more broadly illustrate the OpenType Layout architecture, feature schemes, and operating system support for shaping and positioning text.


Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Companies, names, and data used in examples herein are fictitious unless otherwise noted. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.

this page was last updated 7 April 2003
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Hangul OpenType Specification
Microsoft Typography | Developer information | Specifications | OpenType font development