Can tabular numbers be a default set?

I know they can technically, but can they practically? As in – is it frowned upon?
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Comments

  • I think most fonts have tabular figures as the default. Times New Roman and Arial do, Georgia has Proportional figures. 
  • > Times New Roman and Arial do

    Wow, TIL
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 861
    I wouldn’t say “most,” these days. There are some. The practice is certainly not unprecedented.
    I think most of those that you will find with default tabular figures derive from or inherit from fonts conceived in previous technologies. It was not uncommon in hot metal fonts from Linotype and Monotype. For example, the Monotype “C” matrix-case had all figures on 9-unit widths.
    But I would venture to say that designers in the digital generation conceive of figures as proportional foremost, and thus fonts designed natively in this era generally have proportional figures as default and tabular figures as a secondary consideration.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    These days, I generally make the default for text fonts tabular.
    But I see no reason to do so for display styles.
  • Given a world with little confidence in proper alternates being selected by the typographer, ...

    ...oldstyle figs look worse in all-cap settings than lining figs look in mixed-case settings, so lining figs are a safer default (even if oldstyle figs look better in the most common situations), and

    ...proportional figs look worse in table settings than tabular figs look in prose settings, so tabular figs are a safer default (even if proportional figs look better in the most common situations). 
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,134
    The frequency of tabular settings is much less than normal settings.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,417
    Adobe long had a rule that virtually all Adobe fonts needed to have tabular figures as the default. This was questioned, but left unchanged, in the early years of OpenType. I don’t know if it was ever revisited.
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