typing Devanagari

Will Tuladhar-Douglas w.t.douglas at ABDN.AC.UK
Thu Apr 30 10:15:35 UTC 2009

Gentle conscriptors and conscriptrices,

On the Mac, so far as I am aware, Nisus Pro (www.nisus.com) offers  
almost the best support for South, Central and East Asian scripts.  
Mellel is better for Middle Eastern scripts. Nisus is certainly better  
than Mellel or Open Office for displaying and printing Devanagari  
ligatures, so if you're looking for print quality Sanskrit with  
complex ligatures, then I would suggest Nisus.

If you're prepared to invest in the learning curve, then you could try  
XeTeX, which produces the best print output of complex ligatures in  
Devanagari. XeTeX is implemented to work with LaTeX so it's wonderful  
for things like critical editions, works cross-platform, lets you do  
amazing things with footnotes and cross-references and so forth: but  
you need to either be a *nix geek or have a slave geek at your  
disposal to get it working reliably.

Nisus, though, lets you use all the tasty font goodness produced by  
Ka'onohi Kai (www.xenotypetech.com) out of the box - so that gets you  
all sorts of beautiful Himalayan fonts (Limbu, Lepcha...), including a  
really good set of Tibetan fonts. It also integrates well with Sente  
which is an amazing reference manager. Nisus is made for the academic  
market so has good referencing support.It was also one of the first  
word processors for the Mac, and is a very stable product with good  

In short, for South or Central Asian work, then Mellel is adequate,  
but Nisus is much better, and depending on technical skill, you can do  
anything with XeTeX.


On 29 Apr 2009, at 14:30, Steven Lindquist wrote:

> Madhav is right and I forgot to mention that Microsoft Word for Mac is
> not 100% unicode compliant (but many programs are).  Microsoft only
> claims to be compatible with certain keyboards (I pasted below
> Microsoft's unicode/keyboard statement).
> Based on the recommendation of several people, I will be transitioning
> from Word to Mellel (http://www.redlers.com/) for this and other
> reasons, unless anyone here could suggest a reason not to or a better
> alternative.
> My best,
> Steven
> ---copied from:  http://tiny.cc/nsoAJ   "Unicode characters and
> international keyboards" --
> Unicode is an encoding standard that can represent the characters of
> most written languages with a single character set.
> In Office 2008, you can type, display, and print Unicode characters
> that are associated with the following keyboards:
> Australian, Austrian, Belgian, Brazilian, British, Bulgarian,
> Canadian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Dvorak, Estonian, Faroese,
> Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic,
> Inuktitut, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian (FYROM),
> Northern Sami, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian,
> Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss French, Swiss
> German, Turkish, U.S., Ukrainian, Unicode Hex Input, and Welsh.
> You can also use the following Mac OS X input methods: Hangul,
> Kotoeri, Murasu Anjal Tamil, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional
> Chinese.
> On Apr 29, 2009, at 7:39 AM, Deshpande, Madhav wrote:
>> In my experience, the procedure described by Steven works on Mac
>> OSX, but the MS Word (2008) does not fully support implimentation of
>> unicode Devanagari, and hence the conjuncts do not show up
>> properly.  However, this procedure seems to work fine in Text-Edit,
>> web browsers like Opera, and also i NeoOffice.  However, the MS
>> Office for Mac is not yet supporting Devanagari.  If someone knows
>> how to properly use unicode Devanagari with MS Word for Mac, I would
>> like to know how to do it.  Best,

- - -- --- ----- -------- -------------
Dr. Will Tuladhar-Douglas
Anthropology, History: Religion, Ecology		Scottish Centre for  
Himalayan Research
University of Aberdeen						+44 (0)1224 272 274

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