I want to specify a different font from my default font for runic characters in Emacs.

I tried both:

(set-fontset-font "fontset-default" '(#16a0 . #16ff) "Junicode:Regular")


(set-fontset-font "fontset-default" 'runic "Junicode:Regular")

and neither seemed to work. The first reports:

 (invalid-read-syntax "#")

and the latter seems to silently fail.

  • 1
    The problem Emacs complains about is that you used #. Characters in Emacs Lisp are just integers, but there's a special syntax to write them, which starts with ? and is followed by the printable version of the character. If you wanted to write a hexadecimal representation, then the proper way of doing it is 16#a0 and 16#ff respectively.
    – wvxvw
    Jul 14, 2015 at 20:11
  • @wvxvw I get the same error if I use 16#a0 and 16#ff. Jul 14, 2015 at 21:50
  • 2
    Sorry, I confused it with Calc, the proper syntax for Emacs Lisp hexadecimal is #xa0 and #xff.
    – wvxvw
    Jul 14, 2015 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


You were almost there (note the #x instead of #):

(set-fontset-font "fontset-default" '(#x16a0 . #x16ff) "Junicode:Regular")

One solution I found which seems to work is just to install the Emacs unicode-fonts package:


  • 1
    You are allowed to accept your own answer. Doing so lets people know that the question is already answered.
    – Drew
    Jul 15, 2015 at 1:25
  • This ends up working, but isn't exactly an answer to the original question. In the sense that it doesn't (immediately) allow a custom specification of a particular font to a particular range. Jul 15, 2015 at 16:17
  • See Clément's answer, which is exactly an answer to the original question. You should accept it.
    – Jim Balter
    Nov 2, 2018 at 14:21

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