Proofing blackletter

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DP Official Documentation - Proofreading
Languages: English Français Italiano

This page has helpful info for identifying characters in blackletter fonts. See Proofing old texts for more general information about old texts.


Individual books will vary in the exact shape of the letters, but the tables below have some common forms. Sometimes a book will use multiple forms of a single letter.

In the chart below, multiple forms are only shown when the letters differed significantly from one book to another. The capital letters are often more difficult to recognize than lower case. In blackletter fonts, there are no capital letters for J and U (only I and V). Other samples of capital letters are shown in a separate page.

Letter Images Letter Images
A Assemble A.png Assemble A2.png Tresor A.png Cohab A.png a Assemble a.png Tresor a.png
B Assemble B.png Assemble B2.png b Assemble b.png Tresor b.png
C Assemble C.png Assemble C2.png Tresor C.png Cohab C.png c Assemble c.png
D Assemble D.png Tresor D.png Cohab D.png d Assemble d.png Tresor d.png Tresor d2.png
E Assemble E.png Assemble E2.png Cohab E.png e Assemble e.png
F Assemble F.png Assemble F2.png Cohab F.png Cohab F2.png f Assemble f.png Tresor f.png
G Assemble G.png Assemble G2.png g Assemble g.png
H Assemble H.png Assemble H2.png Tresor H.png Cohab H.png h Assemble h.png Tresor h.png Cohab h.png
I Assemble I.png Assemble I2.png i Assemble i.png
j Blackletter j.png
K Assemble K.png Cohab K.png k Assemble k.png Cohab k.png
L Assemble L.png Assemble L2.png Tresor L.png l Assemble l.png Tresor l.png
M Assemble M.png Assemble M2.png Tresor M.png Cohab M.png m Assemble m.png Assemble m2.png
N Assemble N.png Assemble N2.png Cohab N.png n Assemble n.png Assemble n2.png
O Assemble O.png Assemble O2.png Cohab O.png o Assemble o.png
P Assemble P.png Assemble P2.png Tresor P.png p Assemble p.png
Q Assemble Q.png q Assemble q.png
R Assemble R.png Assemble R2.png Cohab R.png r Assemble r.png Assemble r2.png Tresor r2.png
S Assemble S.png Assemble S2.png Cohab S.png s Assemble s.png Assemble s2.png Tresor s.png Tresor s2.png
T Assemble T.png Assemble T2.png Husbandman T.png t Assemble t.png
u Assemble u.png
V Assemble V.png Assemble V2.png Tresor V.png Cohab V.png v Assemble v.png Tresor v.png Cohab v.png
W Assemble W.png Cohab W.png Husbandman W.png w Assemble w.png
X x Assemble x.png Tresor x.png
Y Assemble Y.png Assemble Y2.png Cohab Y.png Husbandman Y.png y Assemble y.png
Z Cohab Z.png z Assemble z.png

Variant forms

The letter r has a round variant Bl r2.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png which is generally used when the right part of the preceding letter has a "round" shape, like o, p, b, etc. Compare Bl b.pngBl r2.pngBl e.pngBl a.pngBl d.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png and Bl t.pngBl r.pngBl e.pngBl a.pngBl d.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png

Letters m and n have sometimes a variant final form, used at the end of words, where the last leg of the letter descends and curves below the line: compare Bl r.pngBl a.pngBl n2.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png and Bl r.pngBl a.pngBl n.pngBl t.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png; it may happen that these final forms stand for ii / iii in roman numerals (e.g. Bl x.pngBl v.pngBl n2.pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .pngBl .png meaning 17); check with the Project Manager how to proof that.


Sometimes letters are joined together. Usually this is not noted in proofing.

Image Meaning
Cohab ch.png ch
Secretary ee.png ee
Secretary eeaccent.png ée
Secretary oo.png oo

Other samples of ligatures are found in a separate page.

Older letters

Sometimes in an English blackletter text, a z may be used as a yogh (a letter formerly used in English). Yoghs are usually proofed as [gh], and [Gh] for the capital form. For instance, this word:

Assemble bright.png

would usually be proofed as bry[gh]t.

Symbols and abbreviations

Abbreviations and symbols occur very frequently in blackletter texts. These are sometimes indicated with a macron (a straight line over a letter) and sometimes with a tilde over the letter. They may be proofed as [=x] or [~x] or otherwise, according to the Project Manager's instructions. See also Abbreviations section in Proofing old texts.

Image Meaning
Assemble when.png whan (=when)

Sometimes a macron is used, not to abbreviate an m or n, but as a general abbreviation mark which can have different meanings depending on the context.

There are also other types of symbols, used to abbreviate common words, syllables and letter sequences. Their meanings may vary from one text to another, but their usual meanings are given below:

Image Meaning Image Meaning
Assemble that.png that Assemble with.png with
Assemble the.png the Assemble us.png Fierabras us.png us
Assemble thou.png thou Assemble is.png is, es
Assemble per.png per, par Assemble ser.png ser
Tresor pre.png pre, pri, pitre Assemble ver.png Tresor ver.png ver
Assemble pro.png pro Assemble der.png der, de
(or normal d)
Assemble que.png que Assemble ter.png ter
Assemble quod.png quod Assemble uer.png uer
Tresor qui.png qui Tresor con.png con, com
Tresor quan.png quan Assemble ur.png ur, re (?)

Sometimes these are proofed according to the appearance, and other times by the meaning. For instance, [p=] or [per]. The specific format will vary depending on the project manager's instructions.

See also latin abbreviations in blackletter for more details and examples of how this is used in latin.


Some punctuation marks in blackletter, such as periods (.) and colons (:), look basically the same as today. However, other marks may be used that look different. Question marks may look something like this:

Cohab question.png

Sometimes a slash or vertical bar is used, where we would use a comma:

Assemble slash.png Tresor slash.png

Sometimes there is also a middle dot (like a period/full stop, but raised up to the middle of the line). This is usually proofed with the middle dot that is in Latin-1: ·

The alternate form of r may be used as an ampersand in &c (etc):

Cohab etc.png

Check with the project manager about how to proof this.


The hyphen in blackletter usually looks like a slanted equals sign. Treat this just like a normal hyphen, and rejoin words that are hyphenated across lines. You may need to leave hyphens as -* more frequently than in other projects, because spelling and hyphenation in older texts is often unpredictable.

However, sometimes words are split across lines without a hyphen in the image. Check with the PM for directions on this: the words may be rejoined as normal, or a special notation may be used to indicate a missing hyphen.

Helpful Links

To comment or request edits to this page, please contact jjz or John_NZ.

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