Charis SIL
Designer(s)SIL International
Date released2006
LicenseSIL Open Font License
Design based onBitstream Charter

Charis SIL (/ˈkɛərɪs/) is a transitional serif typeface developed by SIL International based on Bitstream Charter, one of the first fonts designed for laser printers. The font offers four family members: roman, bold, italic, and bold italic.

Its design goal is to "provide a single Unicode-based font family that would contain a comprehensive inventory of glyphs needed for almost any Roman- or Cyrillic-based writing system, whether used for phonetic or orthographic needs."[1]

Charis SIL supports Graphite, OpenType, and AAT technologies for advanced rendering features. Along with Doulos SIL and Gentium, it is licensed under the SIL Open Font License (OFL),[2] and can be downloaded free of charge.[3]

Version 6.2 of the font, with over 3,800 glyphs,[4] current as of 2023, was released on 1 February 2023.[5]

Gentium Book Plus font with 'a' and 'g' set to primer style
Andika font with two features selected

Variant forms of many characters can be chosen in the word-processor. For example, for primer-style 'a' and 'g', append ss01=1 to the name of the font in the font-selection window.[6] (Features are appended with a colon and linked with an ampersand – see images at left.) Alternatively, customized versions of the fonts can be created with TypeTuner, prior to download, that have those forms preset.[7]

Features that may be chosen include small capitals, primer-style 'a' and 'g', roman-style 'a' and 'g' in italic typeface, variant forms of capital 'Ŋ', large modifier letter apostrophe and Saltillo, Vietnamese-style diacritics, Serbian-style italics (in Cyrillic), staveless tone letters, and automatic fractions.[6]

Phonetician John C. Wells has recommended Charis SIL as an excellent font for displaying IPA symbols.[8]



  1. ^ "Charis SIL (Home Page)". 2 October 2014.
  2. ^ "SIL Open Font License (OFL)".
  3. ^ Download page on
  4. ^ "Character Set Support". Charis SIL. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Current Versions". SIL International. 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  6. ^ a b Charis: features
  7. ^ TypeTuner Web homepage
  8. ^ Wells, John (2012-06-04). "IPA transcription in Unicode". University College London. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02.