You are absolutely right that this is very annoying, but the code that handles this is not provided by Adobe. It is part of the operating system.
I would recommend that you contact Microsoft directly and register your concerns with them.
Seems like the thing to do is to find a third-party font viewing tool that doesn't have this problem? (No, I do not have a suggestion.)
That "feature" is called "font fallback", and indeed it's meant to be helpful. As far as I know there is no user setting to turn it off or to specify which fonts to use as fallback.
Thanks for the information.
Why was this done, do you know? I can't think of a circumstance where this would actually be helpful, especially since, as you say, there is apparently no mechanism for the user to have control over the face that's used to fill empty glyphs. For anyone purposely using fonts, it would seem to be more of an intrusion than assistance. Nobody using fonts as part of purposeful design will want glyphs from a different face inserted out of their control; you either use the font as is, or do something about the incomplete character set (if you have that capability), or you choose a different font.
But maybe I'm missing something? What am I not understanding?
And why does it not happen with every font, just the overwhelming majority? I haven't been able to spot a pattern to those where this "fallback" doesn't kick in, but in some instances it doesn't. The Font Viewer fills any missing glyphs with the .notdef character; in others, it inserts its own characters, and ignores the .notef character. I can't figure out why.
By the way, John, as I said every font manager I've tried just shows what Font Viewer does, which is why I was sure it was an OS issue. And Dov, yes I realise the problem itself has to go back to Microsoft, as I tried to make clear, but already I've got more information on the issue from posting here than the questions I've asked in Microsoft and Windows forums, where most people know nothing about fonts or their use.
You could have a look at Popchar for Windows (Ergonis Software). It's an excellent, inexpensive font viewer and does not use 'fallback' characters. I bought it several years ago precisely to get around that problem in Vista. I'm now using Win 7 and it works just fine.
Hope this helps,
Thanks indeed for the suggestion. I'll check Popchar out.
Edited to add:
Oh I see, this is like a replacement for Windows' Character Map. Could be very useful - I'll check it out further - but I was really looking for an actual font manager.
I know this thread is about 1 year old, but I hope my contribution could bring some useful information into this.
I have the same problem - sometimes I need to find a font containing certain glyphs and most of the font managers apply this "font fallback" offered by windows.
But this is NOT a system-wide substitution. You can notice this by comparing wordpad and notepad.
Just type this text: A Ǽ E in notepad and in wordpad, then change the font in both to Agency FB (included with windows 7).
The character in the middle (Ǽ) is U+01FC in unicode (latin capital letter AE with accute) belonging to Latin Extended B range.
You will notice that only notepad applies "font fallback", while wordpad just replaces the missing characters with rectangles/boxes.
What I am trying to say is that, if wordpad is able to ignore "font fallback", would it be so hard for other programs to do the same?
Please let us know if you found a font manager that doesn't do it.