APL Characters


When you display a page of the APL wiki that contains APL chars, there are two opportunities:

  1. You have one of the Unicode APL fonts installed locally on your machine.
  2. You don't have a Unicode APL font installed

In the first case that font is used to display the APL chars. In the second case it depends on your browser. If it is one of these (or better):




Internet Explorer















iOS Safari



Opera Mini



Android Browser



Blackberry Browser



Opera Mobile



Chrome for Android



Firefox for Android



IE Mobile



then, according to the vendors, you should see APL characters even without having any APL font installed on your machine; see http://caniuse.com/woff for details. The magic behind this is called "font embedding". For details see UnderstandingFontEmbedding.

All these statements are valid for both, Linux and Windows.

About Unicode fonts

In theory, you should see APL characters even with "Arial", because nowadays "Arial" is a Unicode font. Now a font that is technically a Unicode font almost never contains all defined Unicode characters. Which ones are available is a matter of priorities. Not surprisingly many Unicode fonts do not come with APL chars.

However, even if you cannot actually see the APL chars in the browser you should still be able to copy APL code into the clipboard and insert it into one of the Unicode capable interpreters, although this is only theoretically of interest: if you have such an interpreter you would also have an appropriate Unicode font on your machine anyway.

If for any reason you prefer to use either an old browser or a browser which is not able to do font embedding I suggest that you install one of the following fonts. They are listed in a particular sequence. The first one to be found on your system defines the one which is actually used by your browser, unless you've forced your browser to use a particular font - see ConfigureYourBrowserForApl for how to do this.

The "APL385 Unicode" Font

If you have installed Dyalog APL version 11 or later, you will have this font installed already.

The font can be downloaded from: http://misc.aplteam.com/apl385.ttf (Only needed if you want to install it locally)

This font is the first choice: when installed locally, the APL wiki will use it. Note that this font is supposed to contain all APL symbols available, so it should be fine with any Unicode-capable APL dialect.

The "APLX Upright" Font

Note that APLX is not developed any more. See http://microapl.com/apl/index.html for details.

If you have installed a desktop version of APLX (full or evaluation copy), you will have this font installed already.

The font can be downloaded from: http://www.microapl.co.uk/download/aplx_unicode.ttf (Only needed if you want to install it locally)

Note that this font does not contain all characters. For example, the Dyalog-specific is not contained in that font.

The "Courier APL2 Unicode" Font

This is a Unicode font that comes with APL2.

The "SImPL" Font

This font has all of the APL characters in use in all of the APL interpreters past and present.

Download SImPL_medium_APL.ttf (Only needed if you want to install it locally)

A variant of this font (called SImPL medium) is bundled with NARS2000. Moreover, here's a description of the extra glyphs this interpreter would like to see in any APL Unicode font. If you download and unzip any NARS2000 binary, you'll obtain a copy of this variant.

Other APL fonts won't work

Note that fonts like "Dyalog Std", "Dyalog Alt", "Causeway" and many others are not Unicode fonts. Therefore, the APL wiki does not even try to use them: they wouldn't work anyway!

"It works with the APL wiki, but not elsewhere"

The APL wiki explicitly tells a browser to use one of the true APL Unicode fonts mentioned above. Furthermore, any page in the APL wiki declares itself as truly Unicode-capable. Therefore it simply works: modern browsers know what to do.

But if you use that very same browser to visit APL discussion groups hosted by either Google (like comp.lang.apl) or Yahoo (like dyalogusers) or to send emails with embedded APL chars via a browser (for example via GoogleMail), then you must configure your Browser accordingly, otherwise it won't work. See ConfigureYourBrowserForUnicode for details

For displaying APL chars in emails and News Readers, things are a bit more complex. See ConfiguringMailAndNewsReaders for details.

"But it's ugly, really!"

Large sizes are fine but small one's are ugly?

See MakeUglyAplFontNice

What exactly is "APL385 Unicode" offering?

All characters available

The APL wiki's preferred font, "APL385 Unicode", comes with these characters:


Contained in the default ⎕AV

In Dyalog's default Atomic Vector, these characters are defined:

        15 16⍴¯240↑17↓⎕av
:⍷¿¡⋄←→⍝)] §⎕⍞⍣

In case something is wrong with your APL font, or you don't have one installed, or dynamic font downloading is not working for some reason, here is a picture; that's what you should see above as well:


SmartPhones, Tablets, Linux

I do not have an iPhone but I witnessed that font embedding does work on an iPhone: it displayed correctly pages from the APL Wiki with APL385 Unicode. Hopefully this is true for the iPad as well.

I do own an Android Nexus mobile and a Nexus 7 tablet and can report that Chrome, Dolphin, Firefox and Opera Mobile are all supporting embedded fonts.

On my Linux machine both Firefox and Chrome display the APL font nicely.

Author: KaiJaeger

Latest update: -- KaiJaeger 2014-01-14 10:50:52


AplCharacters (last edited 2017-11-02 07:12:15 by KaiJaeger)