Learning how to read and write Gurmukhi text . . .
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Introduction . . .

There are a number of operating systems that you could be using on your computer but whichever it is, you need to be able to: see Gurmukhi characters on the screen and printed page, input your own Gurmukhi characters using various methods and know about problems you might encounter with various browsers. Some of the information is cross-platform (it doesn't matter what operating system you use) but for the rest, it does matter.

So, first you need to select the operating system you are using by clicking on a link below:

Windows Vista Windows XP Windows 98SE Ubuntu - Gnome
OpenSuSE - KDE OpenSolaris - Gnome OpenBSD - KDE

If your operating system/interface isn't mentioned here, choose one that is like it.


  • if you are using Windows ME, choose Windows 98SE;
  • if you are using the KDE GUI instead of Gnome, try a choice that uses KDE (OpenSuSE or OpenBSD) for the program options but stay with your OS for file locations if you need to use them.

You can always have a look at other OSes because the OSes remain choices for you in the menu that appears on the right.

Once you have done that, you will be able to access the rest of the links

Gurmukhi Fonts . . .

It is important that you have a font that is capable of displaying the characters that you need and, displaying them in the right way. So, 'ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ' displays correctly, looking like this: amritsar. Common errors are the paer rarra failing to display correctly and the sihari appearing after the mamma/paer rarraa, looking like this: amritsar - wrong.

Gurmukhi Fonts page.

Gurmukhi UniCode . . .

Another important feature is that the characters don't interfere with any other character set's address space. Some fonts use the normal output from the keyboard to produce Gurmukhi text but without the right font, they look like a string of normal ASCII alphabet that just happens to be nothing but spelling errors.

One example of this is the place name 'ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ' which should look like this amritsar but instead, when the right font isn't loaded, looks like this instead 'AMm@riqsr'

This will be pick up on by search engines as nothing more than garbage so if you want to have your web pages readable by search engines such as Google, you need to use a font that complies with a standard. That standard is UTF-8. This page shows you how to use such a font.

Gurmukhi UniCode page.

Browsers . . .

This page shows you what browsers on various operating systems are capable of doing. Using a special test string, you can see for yourself how well the browser is able to reproduce simple text.

Browsers page.

Other Applications . . .

Here are some cross-platform applications that support UTF-8 encoded writing (and an alternative for Windows 98SE).

The GIMP and's office suite are free programs that will run on just about any operating system (certainly any recent operating system - Asymetrix 3D/FX and Lotus WordPro97 office suite are used for Windows 98SE).

This page shows you how to input text into a text processor and a way of processing Gurmukhi text in images.

Other Applications page.

 Next - Gurmukhi Fonts
Copyright 2007-2008 Paul Grosse. All rights reserved.