Dingbats

How do I use dingbats or other special characters in Scrivener? I want to compile for ebooks? :question:

macOS has great support for most Unicode characters, which means you have access to a vast range of characters, not only “dingbats”. The easiest way to access them is to use CTRL+COMMAND+SPACE or go to Edit >Emoji and Symbols… This brings up the character palette:

If you go to the “:gear: gear wheel” icon you can customise this list, I add many of the “… - All” ranges to have the maximum visible options available. You can add your often used characters to the “★ Favorites section”. Many of these unicode characters work well in macOS, so for example you can use the sub/superscript numbers for scientific notation and they will be more robust than styling normal numbers.

“Dingbats” themselves can be more fragile as different dingbat fonts encode different symbols for the same unicode character ( Unicode U+F021 is a pen in wingdings2 and a spider in webdings). For eBooks I think this is a problem, as the device may contain no dingbat fonts or a different one than you expect and font substitution will put a different character in place. At least EPub allows font embedding so there are ways round that it would involve custom editing of your EBook in Calibre or whatnot. I don’t actually compile to EPub so this is only technical info, perhaps someone with more experience can help…

Yeah you will want to test each symbol you wish to use very carefully in as many different reader programs and hardware as possible. Adobe Digital Editions is the mechanism used by many hardware readers, so you can preview Kobo, Nook, Sony and others with that. iBooks will of course cover Apple equipment, but should be tested on iDevices as well as the Mac iBooks may have access to more fonts (I’m not sure on that, or whether it is artificially limited to remain consistent with iDevices), and for the rest I just recommend downloading as many software readers as you can.

The problem is, Unicode serves as a way of addressing many thousands upon thousands of characters, but for a a thing to display what we are addressing it must be using font with that “glyph”. On a system like the Mac, it actively looks for fonts that print it and substitutes the font dynamically to show the character, even if the base font you are using doesn’t have it. Most e-book readers are (a) not nearly that sophisticated in the first place and (b) not nearly so well endowed with a wide range of fonts.