Is there a font for Bell’s Visible Speech? If not, how would you go about making a few characters for one-off usage? TikZ is the obvious answer, but are there preexisting things that I could call on?


  • 10
    for fonts tikz is almost never the solution. – percusse May 1 '18 at 10:27
  • 2
    @percusse but one could create boxes with the characters in them using TikZ (though you're right, this would be a poor solution). – Skillmon May 1 '18 at 11:09
  • Another question with various approaches to a somewhat similar problem: Soviet Union Postal-code-style digits in Latex – ShreevatsaR May 2 '18 at 4:42

Building on Thérèse's answer, here's a XeTeX document that shows the characters in the VSMeta font using XeTeX. The code points are mixed using some easily accessible characters (which seem to be for diacritic characters) but mainly with high private use area points. Thanks to Ulrike Fischer for helping with the high value pgffor loop. For easy input it would probably make sense to package this with sensible macro names for each glyph, or possibly create a Teckit mapping for it.

\newfontfamily\visible{VSMeta Plain (PUA)}
\newcommand{\chardisplay}[1]{{\ttfamily#1\ }{\visible\char"#1}\par}
\foreach\x in {280,...,295}{
\foreach\x in {305,...,308}{
\foreach\x in {313,...,315}{
% The next set are the PUA glyphs
% code points 59264-59446 (too big for pgffor)
\foreach \x in {0,...,182}{

output of code


There seems to be a MetaFont available, have a look at: https://ctan.org/tex-archive/language/vispeech

You can install that by following http://www.tex.ac.uk/FAQ-instmffont.html

  • +1: Did not think that there is actually a ready-to-go solution :) – Dr. Manuel Kuehner May 1 '18 at 13:34

There are two free TrueType fonts for Visible Speech: Herman Miller’s Teamouse VS and Mark Shoulson’s VSMeta Plain (PUA). The latter is by the author of the MetaFont package referred to by TobiBS. Both rely on the Private Use Area, since Visible Speech is not (yet) in Unicode.


Several good answers, but no one so far’s given you a template for dropping individual Visible Speech characters into text. So here you go:

\documentclass[preview, varwidth]{standalone}


\setmainfont{DejaVu Sans}

% Font available from http://web.meson.org/write/fonts/mine/
% (retrieved 1 May 2018).    

\newcommand\textvs[1]{{\vsfont #1\relax}}

% etc.

In Bell’s Visible speech, {\textvsbackprimary} corresponds to [x] and
{\textvsbackvoiced} to [ɣ].


Alan Munn gave a font chart, but the PUA encoding this font uses is from the unofficial ConScript website.


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