I am beginning a new project where I will be using far more special characters and accents than I ever have before. Given that this will not be in my native language (or a language I even speak) I am trying to consider and balance several things

  1. Proofreading and transferring content between containers or viewers will become a nightmare if I fill up my document with words interrupted with backslashes and punctuation or letter combinations that aren't actually part of the word i.e. \th instead of þ (which yes can have certain phonetic value).

  2. Having never worked with an ascii "container" that can accept special characters (I have always used a reduced UTF-8 encoded file so that when copying content out of alternate sources, special characters like the wrong hyphen or non breaking spaces are detected for me and filtered) I would worry about the stability of these characters.

  3. Conflicts between symbols and accents and special characters and fonts...

So all you Tex gurus and/or users who work natively in languages where the accents and special characters can be a killer:

  • For various operating systems, are there any text editors to avoid because of poor special character or symbol stability?
    • For example (possibly a poor example) - I avoid special character inclusion when ever possible in MS word(particularly greek characters outside of equation objects) because when I collaborate with certain Mac users, the character code ends up different and I always get incompatible symbols that frequently break into an empty space holder character.
  • Should you avoid mixing methods (special symbols vs coded schemes)? Or do they ultimately get recognized the same way by the TeX engine and are compatible when using even complex non-standard fonts?
  • To any user who in their special character rich language who chooses to encode exclusively with latex markup for common special or accented characters, how do you maintain readability while producing and proof reading?
  • Any other considerations or influences I should include in this decision?

Package and Environment notes:

  • my base compile system on all OS's is xelatex
  • So far no problems in obtaining the typesetting for characters I want in either approach (latex code vs container permitted).
  • sometimes it appears tex4ht only works when using latex code rather than directly included symbols.

closed as too broad by Andrew Swann, Mico, Au101, Stefan Pinnow, Martin Schröder Nov 7 '16 at 14:55

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Jonathan Kew showed me a nifty technique where he could set mathematics using UTF-8, then transcode it to the equivalent TeX commands, then back to UTF-8 --- perhaps something along those lines? Just use XeLaTeX, appropriate fonts, the right Unicode code points and all you should need to use would be Unicode, font changes and semantic markup. – WillAdams Jun 2 '15 at 13:24
  • You surely do \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} (not \include), but this is not required (and may also be of a hindrance) with XeLaTeX and fontspec. – egreg Jun 2 '15 at 13:31
  • @egreg interesting I have never used font spec before because I noticed it seemed to be incompatible with the aforementioned fontenc. I will look into when this package should be used and if it adds anything I definitely want to make use of. – EngBIRD Jun 2 '15 at 13:43
  • @EngBIRD What's the point in using XeLaTeX, then? – egreg Jun 2 '15 at 13:44
  • @egreg Sorry disregard, while I don't load fontspec in my main class file (which when I didn't see it made me forget I was using it), it is loaded in my custom fonts config file. My mistake. – EngBIRD Jun 2 '15 at 13:59