asg at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Sun Oct 31 19:51:45 UTC 2004
The situation with Devanagari has improved enourmously in the last
couple of years. The basic requirements are three-fold:
1. Operating system support
2. a Devanagari font
3. a means to input values in this font
3a. a keyboard mapping utility
3b. a conversion utility
It is important to note that as long as the operating system support is
there, any unicode devanagari font will work with any keyboard input system.
1. Operating System:
Correct rendering of Devanagari unicode fonts is partly dependent on
support from the operating system. This support is available in Windows
XP, Linux, and Max OS X.2. Users of Windows 2000 are able to use this
font if they have installed a recent version of Microsoft Office, i.e.,
Office XP, or Office 2003. Or otherwise obtained the required dll file.
Older versions of Mac OS can use Devanagari if the appropriate language
pack has been installed.
As Stefan Baums recently mentioned on this list, Ulrich Stiehl has
compiled a list of 'all' conjuncts that occur in Sanskrit and Pali. This
was then used as the basis for a comprehensive Devanagari font, called
Sanskrit 2003 by Omkarananda Ashram. There are other Devanagari fonts
out there but this is the only one I know which is really suitable for
Sanskrit owing to the extensive coverage of conjuncts. The appearance of
Sanskrit 2003 is fairly classic, but not quite as elegant as Arial
Unicode. However, Arial Unicode lacks many conjuncts and even contains a
Both Arial Unicode and Sanskrit 2003 are OpenType fonts which will work
on Windows XP, Linux, and Max OS X.2 or later.
The Sanskrit 2003 font can be obtained for free directly from the
The Arial Unicode font was distributed with Microsoft Office 2000, and
is not freely available.
More options and reviews of Devanagari fonts can be found here:
2a. Keyboard Input:
I have written a Keyboard input system for Unicode encoded Devanagari
which allows the user to type transliteration and get the correct
The keyboard system I wrote will work for any Unicode encoded Devanagari
font, but only work on a Windows system. I have no plans to make it work
for other platforms, however, I am happy to share the source code of
this keyboard with anyone who is able use it to this end.
This keyboard program can be obtained from my web page:
There is also an input guide:
Windows 2000 and XP also support Sanskrit input using a built-in
Sanskrit keyboard, however, this departs entirely from the QWERTY
standard, and so requires dedicated study. This keyboard is also not
well documented. However, I do know some who are using this system quite
happily. The end result is the same regardless of which input system one
I am not aware of the situation with Devanagari input on Linux and Mac
2b. Conversion Utility:
John Smith has made a conversion utility which will converts a text file
from transliteration (UTF-8) to Devanagari (UTF-8), this program is
available from his website:
I am planning to write an MS Word macro which will convert selected text
in transliteration (UTF-8) to Devanagari (UTF-8). I will make this
available from my website when it is ready.
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