Recommended Fonts | Keyboard Layouts | Mac vs. PC vs. Linux Rendering Issues | Credits

Recommended Fonts

The SALRC recommends the following fonts for use with Tamil language pedagogy and Internet applications:

[Click on font names or samples for specific information and text samples for each font.]

[ A-S ] | [ T - Z ]

Akshar Unicode (akshar.ttf)

Free download from Kamban Software.

Note: This font also supports Devanagari, Kannada, Malayalam, Sinhala, and Telugu.

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Arial Unicode MS (arialuni.ttf)

A commercial font available as part of Microsoft's Office 2000/XP, FrontPage 2000, and Publisher 2002.

Note: To access this font, the 'International Support' feature of MS Office/FrontPage/Publisher must be installed. See Microsoft support for more details.

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JanaTamil (RRJanaTamil.ttf)

Free download via the Technology Development for Indian Languages (TDIL) site.

Font Image

Latha (latha.ttf)

Commercial font included with Microsoft's Windows XP and Windows 2000, as a part of "Supplemental Language Support." For installation details, click on "How to Install Fonts and Layouts" or see Microsoft support (Windows 2000 and XP).

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TheneeUni (TheneeUni.ttf)

Free download from csd_one.

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VaigaiUni (VaigaiUni.ttf)

Free download from csd_one.

Font Image

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Input Software and Keyboard Layouts

For typing in Tamil on Windows platforms, the SALRC recommends the following options:

  • Windows 2000/XP Keyboard Layouts: Microsoft Windows 2000/XP offer full support for typing with Tamil keyboard layouts in its multilingual support. These may be accessed through Control Panel > System > Languages, and are an optional installation (Click on "How to Install Fonts and Layouts" in the left navigation bar for more information). The keyboard may be viewed with the On-screen Keyboard Viewer (Start > Program Files > Utilities > Accessibility > On Screen Keyboard). See Microsoft's Keyboard Layouts page to view various layouts available for Windows XP/2000/Server 2003.
  • Tamil Indic IME: Microsoft's BhashaIndia site provides a set of phonetic input method editors (IMEs), compatible with Windows 2000/XP, for Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil. The IME is a separate application that must be run alongside Microsoft Office software. Note: The IMEs are designed specifically for MS Office, and do not function with other software.
  • OpenOffice.org: A free, open-source office suite project that is Unicode-savvy, OpenType enabled, and able to run on Linux/Sparc, Mac OS X (with X11), and all modern Windows platforms, including Windows 95.

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Rendering issues: Apple vs. PC

The fonts recommended on this page have been tested for functionality on PCs running Windows XP. They are, however, unsuitable for use with most programs under Apple OS X.

Since the release of the latest Mac OS version 10.4 (Tiger), Tamil Unicode support is available at the operating system level for Apple computers. The system software comes with a Tamil Unicode font called InaiMathi, which can display all Tamil characters. The OS provides two keyboard layout options: Murasu Anjal (somewhat phonetically based) and Tamilnet99.

Tamil Unicode webpages should display correctly by default. To enable Tamil Unicode keyboard support on Mac OS 10.4, do the following:

  • Open "System Preferences..." (available under the Apple sign)
  • Select "International" (under Personal)
  • Select "Edit List..." (under Language)
  • Click "Show" (next to Tamil)
  • Click "OK"
  • Select "Input Menu" (under International)
  • Click "ON" next to Murasu Anjal Tamil
  • Confirm that Anjal and Tamil99 are selected (under Murasu Anjal Tamil)
  • Close the window (press red button)
  • To input in Tamil, click on the national flag menu (likely US flag) on the vertical bar at the top of the screen and select one of the keyboards. The font will by default be InaiMathi.

These fonts are compatible with most distributions of Linux running Gnome or KDE. Most major distributions also offer or include free Tamil-language packages, which include keyboards and fonts.

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Additional Resources and Credits

The content and design of this page rely largely Alan Wood's Unicode Fonts and WAZU JAPAN's Gallery of Unicode Fonts; these sites are excellent and up-to-date resources to find fonts, text editors, browsers, and other Unicode resources. The statistics and other font details appearing on this page have been used with their permission. Visit Penn State's South Asian Computing Information pages for additonal Unicode support.

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