More on Coptic unicode fonts

A few minutes ago I wrote about Alphabetum, the commercial Coptic font which uses the Bohairic typeface, and the way in which this limited people working with Coptic.  This led me to think about the idea of commissioning a free font. Of course really this is something that a grant body should make happen. 

A hunt around the web revealed that Keft, the free Coptic unicode font with the Sahidic typeface, was designed by Michael Everson of  It seems that it was commissioned by the International Association of Coptic Studies, whose website is rather out of date and does not say so.  I wonder what it cost?  It seems that Stephen Emmell was responsible, and it sounds like a long and arduous process was involved!

Both these fonts support unicode 5.1 which matters for things like dots over letters (diacritics).  Few of the other free fonts do.

I do wonder a bit about Coptic studies.  Syriac studies is pretty free-wheeling, everyone is friendly, everyone wants to encourage people, and everyone just pitches in.  In Coptic studies there seems to be a lot of stuffiness, a lot of “I’m far too important to reply” and general crustiness.  I got that feeling again reading the stuff about Keft.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never paid any attention to Coptic.

4 Responses to “More on Coptic unicode fonts”

  1. Bryaxis

    but why not go for the coptic font produced by the french IFAO, which is standard for scientific publishing in their books and reviews ?

  2. Roger Pearse

    Thanks for the suggestion and the link. I downloaded it and had a look.

    But it turns out that the IFAO font is in the Sahidic typeface again, not the Bohairic one. Only Arial Coptic and Alphabetum seem to have the latter. Arial Coptic I found online, and suspect may be pirated.

  3. MHB

    Have you looked at the Coptic Orthodox Church Network’s web page about Coptic font standarization ( If you have and I missed your comment about it, my apologies.

  4. Roger Pearse

    That is a pre-unicode page.