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On 12/6/2020 6:00 PM, Richard England wrote:


I may not have your discerning eye, but using LO v7.0.3.1 on a Fedora v33 box, when I check the automatically converted superscript with one that is created manually by selecting the ordinal abbreviation and changing it to a superscript they look identical for me. I checked two different fonts. My OCD may not be as intense as yours.  :-)

Could be a difference in LO releases or operation system fonts (?).


A lot depends on your OS and its available fonts. Not all fonts have advanced features built in. I have found that Windows 10 seems to have more fonts with the available features than my implementation of Puppy Linux. On Windows, I can use Sitka Text, Palatino Linotype and Linux Libertine G to achieve true and proper superscripts. I'm sure there are others; I just haven't checked them all yet. On my Puppy Linux system, it seems that only Linux Libertine G and Source Serif Pro have the available features. Having never used Fedora, I have no idea what you might have available to you. If you're at all interested in fonts, I would highly recommend obtaining Linux Libertine G and its sans serif companion Linux Biolinum G. They are available in the Ubuntu-based repositories, so I assume they would be in whatever Fedora uses.

To see what advanced features are available on your particular machine for a given font, from within LO, click on Format > Character > Font and then click on the "Features" button directly below the font-size drop down list. You will then see a dialog box that will show the available features for that font. Not all features are available for all fonts, so you'll have to scroll through each font and click "Features" to see which ones are available.

Your results will also depend on how you "manually" create a superscript. As with all things LO, there are multiple ways to skin the cat and not all of them produce the desired results.

There are at least four different ways to obtain superscript ordinals. The first three listed below will produce what I'm calling "fake" shrunken superscripts with lighter stroke weight and condensed spacing. Only the fourth will produce properly weighted and spaced superscripts.

*Option 1* (fake superscript) --  With the option to "format ordinal numbers suffixes" selected in Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Localized Options just type the number desired (1st, 2nd, etc.) and press spacebar and the ordinal will automatically be converted to a "fake" superscript.

*Option 2* (fake superscript) -- With the AutoCorrect option UNnselected, type the number desired. Then select the ordinal ("st," "nd," "th", etc.) and click on the superscript icon in the Formatting Toolbar (assuming that icon appears in your particular toolbar as they are customizable). This will also produce a "fake" superscript. This is simply a manual way of achieving the same result that the AutoCorrect option automatically obtains.

*Option 3* (fake superscript) -- Again with the AutoCorrect option UNselected, type the number desired and select the ordinal. Then click on Format > Character > Position > Superscript. This is just another way of achieving the same results as found in Options 1 and 2, and will produce the same "fake" superscript. However, with this option, you can manually control how much LO shrinks the superscript and how much it raises it above the surrounding text. At least, with this option, you can reduce the adverse effects of LO's default font shrinking.

*Option 4* (true superscript) -- This option depends upon the font you use. Many fonts will have access to true superscripts; others will not. In Windows, for this test, you can use Palatino Linotype or Sitka Text. In Linux, if you have it, try Source Serif Pro. For both OS's you can use Linux Libertine G ( As with the other options, type the desired ordinal number in the appropriate font and select the ordinal to be raised to a superscript. Then click on Format > Character > Font. Make sure your desired font is selected in the drop down list of fonts. Then, click on the Features button immediately below the font size drop down box. In this dialog, you'll see a host of advanced features available for the font you've chosen, and the features will be different for each font. With Sitka Text, Palatino Linotype (Windows) and Source Serif Pro (Linux), you'll have an option to select superscript. Click on that. You will then immediately see the font name change to something like "Sitka Text:frac=1&sups". Everything after the : consists of a code implementing an advanced feature. The "frac=1" implements true fractions. (On my LO, this seems to be a default setting). The "sups" implements true superscripts with the "&" separating the codes. In addition to selecting features from the dialog box, you can manually type in the codes once you get to know them, and delete the codes you don't want. Once you select the advanced features you want, click OK or press Enter and you will see your beautifully formatted superscript, and even a non OCD impaired viewer will see that its stroke weight is more even with the surrounding text.

This same dynamic can also be seen when setting text in small caps. Normally LO (and other word processors) will just shrink a normal capital down to create fake small caps. Their stroke weight is then reduced and the letterspacing is condensed and the whole effect looks horrible and amateurish. (It's a shame to see professionally typeset books with small caps artificially generated this way.) You can create true small caps through the Features dialog of the applicable font. Once you do this, you'll never go back to the fake small caps.

It used to be that I had to use LaTeX to get these more advanced results, but now I can achieve them with LO and a decent font. One of my favorites is Linux Libertine G, which is full of features and well paired to the companion sans-serif Linux Biolinum G. As a set, they provide everything one needs to achieve really good typographic results. Check out for a list of the available typographic features in these wonderful fonts. And, despite its name, Linux Libertine G works on Windows.

Okay, I know I've written far more than anyone wants to read, but that's my superscript story, and more than anything, demonstrates the extent of my OCD font sickness.


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