OOXML extension for Japanese Layout Requirements

rjelliffe at allette.com.au rjelliffe at allette.com.au
Sun Feb 21 23:38:59 CET 2010

> Rick,

> Grid-controlled positioning is certainly one of the possible ways for
> locating floating objects including section headers.  However, I am
> not yet sure whether such positioning is a must at this stage of the
> game.  Moreover, I don't know whether such positioning is impossible
> without extending OOXML.

Yes indeed. I hope no-one got the idea that because the grid is so
pervasive, no support is better than partial support. I think the Japanese
proposal is very modest and reasonable.

I think perhaps talking about "typographers" may give the wrong
impression. Children in school, from the time they start learning to
write, use explicit grids. Experts can articulate what they need, and
understand the extent of the impact, and how to handle particular
situations, but ordinary users are quite conscious of the grid. (For
example, I showed my Taiwanese friend that Word bulge picture I sent last
week, and he instantly said it was wrong. The friend is not involved in
publishing, but had definite expectations about alignment.)

People who are interested might look at this PDF from the Asian Journal of
TeX  ( http://ajt.ktug.kr/2008/0201okumura.pdf ) at page
"In designing Japanese document classes, it is important to set every
horizontal dimentions, such as \hsize and \leftmargin, to integer
multiples of 1zw. In particular, it is customary to set \parindent to 1zw,
and indent all paragraphs including the first one, although some books are
typeset with zero \parindent throughout.

Note that the unit “zw” is defined with respect to the current font. If we
set \parindent to 1zw at the beginning of the document where \normalsize
is in effect, and if we compose a paragraph with a \small font, then the
indentation becomes greater than 1zw of the current \small size, and the
paragraph will look ugly."

Note *every horizontal dimension*. This includes indents and inter-column
gaps. This is not a new issue, nor one that can possibly go away, unless
CJK people completely stop learning how to write by hand and give up big
square characters!

In other words, the grid system is far stronger than the "em" system
(which is typically only used inside text, rather than for positioning and
sizing text blocks. I think anyone who thinks ems are useful to have in
OOXML should consider that the grid system is much more important: it fits
in with the expectations of almost a quarter of the world's population:
ems are really an professional technique but the grid is consumer-level as

Rick Jelliffe

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