ISSUE-401: Clarify initial letter requirements and alignment points

Clarify initial letter requirements and alignment points

Raised by:
Richard Ishida
Opened on:
5.1 First Letter

This issue attempts to summarise various questions related to the First Letter section, which needs some clarification about requirements for positioning of highlighted 'initial letters'.

It currently says "in Devanagari the hanging baseline may be preferred".

This wording implies that in other cases the hanging baseline may not be preferred. If so, and if this refers to drop intial letters, what are the alternatives, and what are the font metrics or other considerations involved in alignment?

Are sunken and raised initial letters required, in addition to the drop initial? If so, what are the alignment points to be used for those?

See also Dave Cramer's email request (
I'm working on the CSS Line Layout specification [1], which covers
drop caps and other initial letter effects. I was very happy to see
examples of this in the Indic Layout Requirements document [2].

Can you clarify the bottom alignment point of the initial letter? The
text mentions the text-after-edge, but the illustrations are not
completely clear to me. Is there something in the font metrics that
would define this?


The text "the primary connection point connects the text-after-edge of the initial letter with the text-after-edge of the nth line, but the secondary connection point connects the hanging baselines of the initial letter and the initial line" isn't very clear, and doesn't seem to clearly relate to what is shown in the pictures.

It will probably help to look through section 2, to get ideas for the topics to cover in ilreq. It would be good to note which requirements are *and* are not relevant to indic scripts, and what differences need to be taking into account in the way initial letters are positioned. (For example, is the formula at relevant?)
Related Actions Items:
No related actions
Related emails:
  1. Weekly github digest (I18n repos) (from on 2017-10-24)
  2. Daily github digest (I18n repos) (from on 2017-10-19)
  3. Daily github digest (w3c/ilreq) (from on 2017-10-19)
  4. [minutes] Internationalization telecon 2015-01-22 (from on 2015-01-22)
  5. I18N-ACTION-390: Forward issue-401 to indic list and shepherd response with appropriate elaboration as needed (from on 2015-01-15)
  6. I18N-ISSUE-401: Clarify botton alignment point [Indic-Layout-Requirements] (from on 2014-12-17)

Related notes:

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Addison Phillips <>, Chair, Richard Ishida <>, Bert Bos <>, Fuqiao Xue <>, Atsushi Shimono <>, Staff Contacts
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