PWG Logo
February 1, 2004

Best Practices Document


The Printer Working Group



Best Practices for use of the RepertoireSupported Element


Status: Approved


In traditional printing environments, clients rely on font downloads when they are not sure a given character is embedded in the printer. As printing moves to small clients, downloading may not be an option and clients have a need to know what characters are available in a given device.

There are many published named character repertoires, and a small client will not know about them all.  

[RS] describes the syntax and semantics for the Semantic Model element "RepertoireSupported".  The current document describes Best Practices for the use of that element, in order to maximize interoperability between client devices and printers.

The reader of this document should be familiar with the terminology and concepts in [RS].


Elliott Bradshaw, Zoran Imaging Division



Copyright (C) 2004, The Printer Working Group. All rights reserved.

This document may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on, or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice, this paragraph and the title of the Document as referenced below are included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Printer Working Group, a program of the IEEE-ISTO.

Title:  Best Practices for use of the RepertoireSupported Element


The Printer Working Group, a program of the IEEE-ISTO, reserves the right to make changes to the document without further notice.  The document may be updated, replaced or made obsolete by other documents at any time.

The IEEE-ISTO and the Printer Working Group, a program of the IEEE-ISTO take no position regarding the validity or scope of any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in this document or the extent to which any license under such rights might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such rights.

The IEEE-ISTO and the Printer Working Group, a program of the IEEE-ISTO invite any interested party to bring to its attention any copyrights, patents, or patent applications, or other proprietary rights, which may cover technology that may be required to implement the contents of this document. The IEEE-ISTO and its programs shall not be responsible for identifying patents for which a license may be required by a document and/or IEEE-ISTO Industry Group Standard or for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or scope of those patents that are brought to its attention. Inquiries may be submitted to the IEEE-ISTO by e-mail at:

The Printer Working Group acknowledges that the IEEE-ISTO (acting itself or through its designees) is, and shall at all times, be the sole entity that may authorize the use of certification marks, trademarks, or other special designations to indicate compliance with these materials.

Use of this document is wholly voluntary.  The existence of this document does not imply that there are no other ways to produce, test, measure, purchase, market, or provide other goods and services related to its scope.

About the IEEE-ISTO

The IEEE-ISTO is a not-for-profit corporation offering industry groups an innovative and flexible operational forum and support services. The IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization member organizations include printer manufacturers, print server developers, operating system providers, network operating systems providers, network connectivity vendors, and print management application developers. The IEEE-ISTO provides a forum not only to develop standards, but also to facilitate activities that support the implementation and acceptance of standards in the marketplace.  The organization is affiliated with the IEEE ( and the IEEE Standards Association (

For additional information regarding the IEEE-ISTO and its industry programs visit:


About the Printer Working Group

The Printer Working Group (or PWG) is a Program of the IEEE-ISTO. All references to the PWG in this document implicitly mean “The Printer Working Group, a Program of the IEEE ISTO.”  The PWG is chartered to make printers and the applications and operating systems supporting them work together better. In order to meet this objective, the PWG will document the results of their work as open standards that define print related protocols, interfaces, data models, procedures and conventions. Printer manufacturers and vendors of printer related software would benefit from the interoperability provided by voluntary conformance to these standards.

In general, a PWG standard is a specification that is stable, well understood, and is technically competent, has multiple, independent and interoperable implementations with substantial operational experience, and enjoys significant public support.

Contact information:

The Printer Working Group

c/o The IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization

445 Hoes Lane

Piscataway, NJ 08854



CR Web Page:              CR Mailing List:


Instructions for subscribing to the CR mailing list can be found at the following link:

Members of the PWG and interested parties are encouraged to join the PWG and Character Repertoire WG mailing lists in order to participate in discussions, clarifications and review of the WG product. 

All sections of this document are normative unless noted as informative.

1. Well-known Repertoires

[RS] describes a syntax for referring to a wide range of character repertoires.  In order to promote interoperability, this document designates a small number of repertoires as "well-known".  In this way a print client that only knows the names of the well-known repertoires can get useful results.

The repertoires designated as well-known are:

A conforming printer should support and advertise a well-known repertoire whenever it advertises similar repertoires.  For example, any printer advertising any Cyrillic repertoire should also advertise "unicode_cyrillic".  In this way a client that does not recognize a large number of repertoires can still recognize that some form of Cyrillic printing is possible on this device.

Printers will often support larger repertoires.  If a printer supports a repertoire that is a superset of a well-known repertoire, then it should advertise the well-known repertoire in addition to the superset.  Examples:

2. Printer Operation

A conforming printer should follow these rules:

  1. All printers should support and advertise:
  2. All printers should support the euro (U+20AC) character, even though it is not advertised.
  3. A well-known repertoire should be supported whenever similar ones are, as described above. 
  4. In some document formats (e.g. XHTML-Print) certain additional characters (e.g. as built-in named character entities) are supported for printing, without being advertised in any repertoire.

3. Print Client Operation

Printing protocols (outside of this document) specify how a print client learns about the supported repertoires in a printer.  [RS] describes how to determine which characters are supported in each supported charset.

Once it knows, a client may choose to use this knowledge in any of these ways:

  1. If multiple printers are available, look for one that can print all the characters in a job.
  2. If printing to a printer that can't print all the characters in a job, warn the user.
  3. Make a substitution for a character that won't print.

A. References

Available online at
PWG 5105.1-2004 The Printer Working Group Semantic Model, January 20, 2004, P. Zehler., Candidate Standard.
"RFC2119 - Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", S. Bradner. Available online at
Unicode code charts, version 4.0.  Beta code charts available online at
PWG 5101.2-2004 The Printer Working Group RepertoireSupported Element, February 1, 2004, E. Bradshaw., Candidate Standard.