How to write Hindi using Unicode font

Hindi is a wonderful language to speak and write. The Devnagri script, used for writing Hindi, is also easy, scientific and logical. And given the number of people using Hindi, one would think it would be easy to work in Hindi. Yes, it is. But, not on computers. Not for all purposes and certainly not in all settings. 

Recently, I had to key-in a few articles in Hindi for my school magazine. Thanks to Microsoft’s dedicated support to non-English languages, Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as other Microsoft products,  do have an in-built Unicode support. It made typing the articles in Hindi on MS Word a breeze.

All the articles were keyed-in within a short time and sent to the printers.

But, soon after, I got an SOS from the printers. They wanted to know which font I had used for Hindi articles and why was this font not being accepted by their software.

I told them I had used Mangal font, which is a Unicode font and works well on my computer. I had to tell them that there was no virus or file corruption either. I was called by the printers to get an overview of  the problem they were facing. I learnt that no one knew how to write Hindi using Unicode font.

And what I learnt there more really startled me. The printers in our city invariably use either CorelDRAW or Pagemaker for typesetting and page designing in Hindi.

I found that none of them were using Quark Express or Adobe Indesign. And since both Corel Draw and Pagemaker are dated softwares, they did not support Unicode.

I was told to re-type the entire matter. I hate typing long texts in Hindi. And going through the same travail was a pain for me. I, finally, managed to resolve the problem.

But, this problem had given me nightmares. And it also made me think why Hindi Unicode was not being supported by companies that manufacture some of  the most useful and wonderful softwares, e.g. Adobe Indesign and Quark Express.

Adding display languages and adding keyboards

The Unicode technology has made life easier for those who work in Hindi and other Indic and regional languages. Adding Hindi as a display language and adding Hindi keyboards or input methods is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

For adding Hindi as a display language on Windows 7 follow these steps:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Choose Region and Language
  • Click Keyboards & Languages tab >
  • For installing Hindi as a display language click: Install/Uninstall Languages
  • For changing keyboards, click Change Keyboards >General>Add>Hindi
  • Choose Hindi and tick the checkbox against Devnagri-Inscript.
  • Now you can change your keyboard from English to Devnagri-Inscript by pressing Alt+Shift. For changing the keyboard back to English press Alt+Shift again.

The process for Windows XP is somewhat similar. Only the names of some of the tabs and buttons are slightly different.

Most of the printers use Kruti fonts or its hundreds of variants for designing and publishing Hindi text and documents.

Kruti is a good font and has served the Hindi publishing industry well for a long time. Being freely available, it is widely used in the publishing industry.

But, it is a true type font and rather an old one. It has become dated.

It can not be used on websites unless embedded into codes. Besides, it is rather an old fashioned one and can’t fulfill the requirements of the fast-expanding publishing and media industry.

There are also several proprietary fonts used by Hindi publishers. Most of the Hindi newspapers have been using proprietary fonts.

Given the need of the media houses to have internet as well as print editions of their publication, many media houses have now started converting to Unicode fonts.

The problem is that among leading pagemaking softwares, neither Quark Express (widely used in India) nor Adobe Indesign have inbuilt support for Hindi unicode fonts.

But, there are proprietary third-party plugins  available, which make it possible to work with Hindi unicode fonts even in Quark Express and Adobe Indesign.

However, these have not become very popular and are not easily available. So, the small and medium publishers are unwilling to abandon Kruti font yet.

And since latest pagemaking softwares do not support Unicode font, they are forced to continue using Corel Draw and Pagemaker.

One fails to understand why Quark Express has not provided Hindi Unicode support to its latest editions.

Some feel that it is because piracy is prevalent in India.

Whatever be the reason, the Hindi publishing industry does need a good pagemaking software that can support Hindi unicode fonts and is as convenient as Pagemaker and CorelDRAW.

Well, I resolved my problem by converting Mangal text into Kruti Dev by using a proprietary converter. There are several such converters available on different websites. You may choose one that suits your needs.

 

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About Akash Tiwary

Akash Tiwary is a freelance writer and a keen blogger. He has been writing regularly for newspapers and has been a columnist.
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  • Rnddabba

    for indesign cs6 is supporting indic languages; you can update this in your blog; but as for as quark is concerned No free plugin is available for this;

  • manish

    i want to add text box like bhaskar news comment section ,
    http://www.bhaskar.com/article/RAJ-JAI-teacher-recruitment-result-3528813.html
    in that case select the language from drop down and keyboard works according to the selective language . how its works . can u help me about this matter.
    send me feedback on this ya on my mail..- manishsharma31@gmail.com

  • paras

    adob PM5 me kurti dev saport nahi kar raha hai

    • Rajesh

      Kruti Dev is a true type font. So, it should work in Adobe Pagemaker. Please check whether Kruti Dev is installed in your system or not and whether it displays in the font drop down menu or not.

  • Kishore

    Hello, I’m working in CorelDraw with few Hindi pages. Fonts like Mangal, Kruti give a problem of displaying boxes as soon as I click outside text box. While font like Yogesh doesn’t display “sh” of lakshay, instead converts into two letters “k” and “sh” as well fails to display half letters of Hindi. Any solution sir.

    • Sally

      Hi, Kishore! Kruti Dev font should work fine in CorelDraw. Since Coreldraw does not support Unicode, you cannot use Mangal font in it. But, Kruti will work fine. Just ensure that Kruti is installed in your system.

  • Rajesh

    Dear Akash,
    Thanks for useful info…
    one question how did you converted your mangal files into krutidev.?can we also convert krutidev to mangal.?ThanksRajesh

  • Kalaiyappan

    very useful information,i am trying to copy and paste in tamil,i am unable to copy and paste in notepad,kindly help

  • Kalaiyappan

    I am trying to do this in windows 7,do i have to change any settings,please help,after following this blog i am able to type in tamil,but copy paste is not working what to do for that?

    • Akash

      Open a notepad file. Click on ‘Save as’. Before saving with some file name change the encoding to Unicode on the lower right side. Save it and close. Then open the same file and paste Tamil text easily.

  • avanish

    how to type in hindi in adobe pagemaker.
    pease answer me.

    • Sally

      Download Kruti dev font from an internet source. Install it in your system. Now you can write in Hindi in Adobe Pagemaker by selecting Kruti Dev font. It is so easy. Or do you want to use a Unicode font? For that you need to use Adobe Pagemaker’s latest version or some other solution. Hope this helps you.

  • PrincePratik …

    very useful for me …

  • Rohan

    Helped me too!

  • राजेश

    मुझे मदद मिली है, धन्यवाद.

  • http://www.akashtiwary.com Akash

    You are unable to paste in notepad, because you have not changed the encoding to unicode. Follow these steps:
    1. open a notepad file.
    2. Save as –
    3. On the right bottom side, see encoding. Change it to Unicode.
    4 Save the file giving it some name.
    5. Now open again and then paste Tamil text.

    It should work now.
    If you like the answer, please Google+ this site and like it on Facebook.