Using Non-Western Digits in Numeric fields? Eastern Arabic/Persian

Hello, I was wondering whether it’s possible to use Non-Western digits for displaying numerical fields,
E.G.: The Time (digital time), heart-rate, battery%, temperature

Time: 19:02 → ١٩.٠٢
battery: 83% → ٨٣٪
temperature: 19° → ١٩°

I’m already using a Arabic font to render digits on analog clock faces such as:

I realise this is the matter of rendering the field into different unicode characters: Arabic 0 : ٠
is unicode U+0660 , where as 0 is U+0030 (this is hexa), and maybe there’s a ready made library to already render different numerals correctly.

A workaround - would be - uploading an edited font : where the ASCII 0…9 digits are overriden with Arabic glyphs : ٠ … ٩

While this is possible, I see two main issues:

  1. It’s cumbersome, editing a font is already cumbersome as is… and it’s ugly…
  2. There might be some rendering issues, while Arabic digits are not render ‘connected’, some other digits might be

Generally, I would be quite cool if the system supports rendering other digit types:


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Welcome @kcalev . I do not know enough about fonts . I do know how to use a custom font as Images , but it is a lot of work and drawing .
I like the Global Language faces you have done already .

There is a brilliant tutorial for Numerals as Images I will see if I can find it .

Here you go . This is brilliant .
I know it is not answering your Question Entirely .
Someone else will com in soon to talk about Numerals as Fonts.
The Americans are still at work :slightly_smiling_face:

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@kcalev there are some fonts that already have the numerals replaced with Arabic glyphs, for example Tarif Arabic from 1001fonts Tarif Arabic Font Family · 1001 Fonts – just search there for “Arabic” and you will find some, although not all are free for non-personal use. If you’re not familiar with 1001Fonts, click on each one’s “## character” button (next to the “waterfall” towards the top) to see the character mapping.

This one Tarif Arabic is free for both personal & commercial use, but personally I’m not crazy about the numerals (particularly the 5, it’s far too circular).

On a separate note: on your Persian watch face, why did you have “دل” written by the heart rate instead of “قلب”?

PS-- I can’t remember the last time when someone knew what ASCII is!


Wow, that’s cool to know! Indeed, the 5 is too round! lol

I will use this font for prototyping, before I edit my own font (I’ve done that before with FontForge, it’s a bit messy, but not horrible)
Anyhow - 1001fonts seems like a great resource to know! And since I’m only interested in commercial watch faces, I it’s great you can search by license there!

I didn’t get how to see the mapping there! or - how to look for other fonts that specifically map Arabic digits (or other digits), that would be great at least for prototyping!

Regarding the دل vs قلب, I just don’t speak any Persian (yet=), so I thought the ‘non-arabic’ word would be more interesting to use, i the Arabic face I’ve using only the letter ق, since visually for my own usage قلب is too long on screen (that’s the watch face I most commonly use for the last few month), basically I’ve only made the Persian one after being surprised seeing the different Persian digits [۴, ۵, ۶] in some film recently, so - if دل is a mis-fit term, I’ll also change that to ق or قلب

Regarding ASCII - well, I do a lot of text-conversion related coding work in my day job(s), so these older file encodings do come up there! The proper term here is actually ‘unicode’ I’ve used ASCII as a misnomer in my original message… (thought it’s the same characters in this specific case)


For each font, click on the “## characters” button to open an image with the mapping.

Yea, space can always be an issue. In Persian and in this specific context, قلب is the literal word for heart the organ, whereas دل is the proverbial/emotional/poetic heart (as well as the literal belly/stomach/abdomen). It has other interesting uses too, such as when your دل is “tight,” you miss someone/something.

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sure, thanks for the tips! for the selecting the right word and for the text mapping, I see!

Tell me, I’m trying it out now… and indeed, it’s rather cool to have, but the font, is a bit ugly… I mean, maybe not ugly, but it’s not the most readable digits (ie, the 2 ٢ - is too straight, does no bend in)

Do you know how to search within 1001fonts for fonts that do that same mapping? Search for ‘arabic’ there just returns “arabic like” fonts.

Anyhow, my first draft is here:

I’ll report how my own remapping goes, I’m mostly using SIL license fonts, so it’s ok to remap them (and keep the same license)

thanks again!

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Unfortunately I don’t know of a way to search fonts for that, it’s a search then hit-or-miss thing.

And the one font I posted above was just a quick find for what I was trying to illustrate-- it is an ugly one at that. What you used on the face above is a tremendously better, and a very good fit for both Persian and Arabic.

1001Fonts is my main source, I haven’t kept track of the others but there are others offering free fonts, just Google it.

I had tried my hand at editing fonts way back in the early 1990’s with a Windows software named Font Monger from Ares Software. But I gave up, too complicated! I still have the box it came in, it’s home to a handful of knick knacks.

Thanks @russellcresser ! This is indeed some mad design skills from John Morga

, this tutorial shows exactly the kinds of things I wanted to avoid!

Is this indeed what happens in all digit-picture based faces? pretty low-level and scary!

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Ok, as a test: here’s my digital-arabic-digits version with that font:

I’ll keep this thread posted about it, but I recall editing a font with FontForge - just to change the character mapping (map 0…9 to ٠…٩ or to Persian ۰ … ۴،۵،۶ … ۹ )
I recall that’s an ‘easy’ task, FontForge has a textual format, which can be easily manipulated, and then re-compiled to the same font…

I did so when I was working on the Beria/Zaghawa language, to remap the font SIL were using (which was overriding ASCII, so that no special keyboard map is needed), to the PUA area (Private-User-Area in unicode)

Zaghawa virtual keyboard test (online keyboard using the font above, by Craig Cornelius (ᏇᎩ)

From what I recall the difficult part was getting FontForge running without crashing on font compilation (it was going fine on either Linux or MacOS or vice versa, the one I tried second…) anyhow, I’ll post the relevant fonts if successful =)

Anyhow - as a feature request to Facer : I would make it this way, which is rather user friendly I think:
On loading a new font: the system could check whether the font has other numeric ranges [ Numerals in Unicode - Wikipedia ] (such as Arabic U+0660 … U+066D, , Persian : U+06F0 … U+06F9 ; a font is likely to contain none, or both; many of the different forms: Hindu–Arabic numeral system - Wikipedia , “East Asia” 零…九, Devanagari. ०… ९ .etc etc… )

So: for example in Python, I have similar code calling str.isnumeric() which can find these ranges; Then - when switching a field to such a font - the editor can offer some menu to switch better the available numerical ranges (for example, Western, Arabic, Persian )


I’ve even starting to like that face with that Tarif font, it’s sort of the “comic sans” font for Arabic…
It gets some getting used, but it has a certain charm. (Acquired taste).
Anyhow, I’ll see whether I can pull out some other fonts with this mapping, and create some digital faces, and provide the Analog faces with nice Arabic/Persian digits for the Heart-rate/temp/battery fields, which is what I originally wanted.


@kourosh @kcalev I am following this Topic with Interest . I made a face with Arabic Script Numerals some time ago . Point is I have not just jumped it to copy what you guys are doing . On the Face I am working on at the moment I have a compass with N E S W . I wonder if there is some script I should use in preference .

I have included the script I have generated so far .
I will Be very Grateful for you Help .


In general, or for the compass?
For compass I’m not aware of anything else but north east west south (hey, it spell NEWS!)

Meanwhile, I had been busy creating something new… and completely different… for a venue completely different… unleashed for sale to the public Saturday. :grin:

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Oooh. So you are going yo publish. Looking Forward to that. Thanks for the heads up on the Compass. I would show you the WIP but it is a bit Embarasing st the moment.

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Nope, it’s not watch faces!

A few months ago I tried (and failed) to create an original watch face with a pearlescent MOP (Mother Of Pearl) background. Came out horribly terribly bad. Now I created a MOP necklace, which came out great, and unleashed it at a craft fair yesterday. :grin:

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Oh cool. Multi talented. The trouble with MOP opal and Tigers Eye on a Watch Face. They have to be active. I have done a couple. The opal ia quite popluar. See what you mean by Different Venue.

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Hey, these look great! I didn’t get what’s the connection between the compass and the large golden digits… (maybe there isn’t any, or are you looking for the Arabic initial for the Compass-Rose?), I’ve included a minimal-compass arrow since I find it useful for orientation esp. to get indoor orientation visiting new places.
Anyhow, sure, keep us up to date with your designs!

I keep my designs minimal mainly as reference implementations as to how to use certain scripts/digit sets, as cognitive passing versions (plus I’m not a designer; So it’s cool to see someone who is)


@kcalev. You are very kind. I would not call myself a designer. I call myself a Maker… Bit more of a technician really. The face I am working on has Moon Phases, Compass and a Tourbillon at the moment. I am trying to make it look like a Luxurary Face with Arabic Scrit numerals. One I did For Apple is doing well by my standards.
Unfirtunatly I might have to start again. I used a published Template to start with . Not too much of a problem but the File name will be incorrect on the Apps.

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You can say that. Did great today at another pop-up craft fair venue. If they won’t yell at me for carrying on about it and posting a pic… here’s an example of my creation: the aforementioned MOP, all metal 14K Gold Filled. (size reference: round MOPs are 4.5mm diam)
And yes I’m proud! My birthstone collection has been doing quite well.

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Oh . That is nice. Good job.

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@kourosh and @russellcresser : I’ve indeed successfully remapped the SIL-Lateef font into the Western-Digits characters as a hack… using the amazing FontForge program, I’ll write a short description of the procedure afterwards.

@kourosh : Could you review the correctness of the following Persian version, the ‘analog’ design, is slightly too cluttered, I like the minimalist digital-hybrid design I have here:




Notice the analog design up this thread was also updated to use this font eventually.

I’ll link a download link plus explanations for the fonts.

Thanks for the interaction, it really pushed me into doing it!