Re: remapping devanagari

Date: Sun Feb 18 2001 - 00:42:13 EST

On 02/15/2001 01:43:40 PM Pam Lothspeich wrote:

>I am a new user of unicode for devanagari (Hindi) in Microsoft Word. I am
>very impressed with this font, but I'm wondering if there is a way to
>the keyboard, so that I don't have to use shortcut keys which require
>multiple keystrokes in order to type devanagari.

You can create an input method with whatever layout you want using
Tavultesoft Keyman ( Since it's Devanagari, you will
need to work with Unicode as the character encoding, rather than an 8-bit
codepage (there isn't one for Devanagari). Keyman 5 (beta version
available) will support Devanagari characters on Win2K using any app that
supports Unicode. On Win9x, it can deal with entry of Devanagari characters
into any app that supports the WM_UNICHAR system message, but the only ones
I know of that do are not yet released.

>Also, I noticed that not all of the roman diacriticals for devanagari are
>available in independent form, requiring one to use the "spacing modifier
>letters." Does anyone know if there are plans to make the roman
>transliteration fonts more comprehensive?

You can use the SIL Encore font system ( - look for Encore in
the software catelog) to create a font with exactly the characters and
diacritics you need. You will still face a problem with getting correct
diacritic positioning, however. You can use Encore to create a font with
alternately-positioned diacritics encoded as distinct characters, but you
would need to encode these as private-use characters (or create the
transliteration font as a symbol font). It would be preferable to have a
"smart-font" rendering system to support this, but the system that Word
uses (OpenType / Uniscribe) does not yet handle Roman diacritics. That will
eventually change, hopefully soon, but I don't know just when. (I'm
assuming you're using Word on Windows; you'll probably have to wait longer
for Word on the Mac to support positioning of Roman diacritics.)

Note: Encore comes with a visual editor that works together with an
eloctronic glyph catalog, but the editor currently doesn't support Unicode.
You can use the visual editor to compile the inventory of characters you
need; the editor outputs a text file (*.cst), and you can edit that to
change the 8-bit character code values into the desired Unicode values. You
can also create the CST from scratch by hand, but it's probably easier to
do it in two steps as I described. The package includes a file called
UNICODED.CST, which can serve as an example of a CST with Unicode encoding.

Currently, we're at a point where some things are becoming possible, but
the solutions you're looking for are not yet available as finished products
- you have to build some of the pieces yourself. Probably not what you were
hoping to hear. Hope this is of some help.

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <>

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