Is CSX the best solution?

John Richards jhr at
Wed Oct 18 10:01:42 UTC 1995

I have been using CS/CSX TTF format fonts now for some time, and there
is undoubtedly considerable advantage in having an agreed convention for
the allocation of the special Sanskrit characters in Romanised Sanskrit.
However, the more I use this convention, the less I feel confident that
this is necessarily the best way of doing things.

Before I came across the CSX convention, I had created a Sanskrit TTF
format font myself, on a quite different principle. Whereas the CSX
convention uses the extended ASCII range, thereby interfering with the
"normal" use of the primary ASCII characters less, I had deliberately
chosen locations in that primary range, using the characters that are
certainly not needed for Sanskrit text - @#$%^&*+={}[] etc. I have never
found an instance when I have needed these in a Sanskrit text or

There are certain advantages to this principle over the CSX one. Apart
from the minor one that Sanskrit text can then be transmitted as-is
through the Internet, there is one in particular which I keep stumbling
against in using the CSX fonts. A number of the most widely used word
processors will not permit extended ASCII characters to be used in
Search functions dialog boxes, not even by using ALT-numeric-key. This
makes a proper search or search-and-replace almost impossible, though it
is possible sometimes to get round this by using the Character Map
utility, or by typing the word/phrase in another windows, and
copying/pasting it into the dialog box. But both these methods are
slow and cumbersome for more than the odd word. (I speak, of course,
as must be obvious, as a PC Windows user.)

There is also the advantage that text CAN be typed in direct, without
the use of either ALT-numeric-key or Templates/Macros. At times, and in
some circumstances, and for computer-beginners, this can be quite a
considerable advantage.

There are quite sufficient keys in the primary ASCII range to allow for
all the Sanskrit characters used in practice - particularly if one
follows the Indian convention of having no capital letters.

I can see the advantages of the CSX system, in its fulness and, not
least in the fact that it is now becoming quite widely accepted (by
myself as much as by others), but I am not sure that this issue has been
widely discussed, and it might be useful to throw it open for review.

John Richards
Stackpole Elidor (UK)
jhr at

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