The THL Toolbox > Fonts & Related Issues > Nepali Fonts
Nepali is written in the Devanagari (or 'Nagari' script), which is also used for Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit. Nepali Devanagari has 11 vowels and 33 consonants and is largely phonetic, which means that the pronunciation closely resembles the writing system. In order to view or input the Devanagari script in a digital context, it is necessary to have a Devanagari font installed on one's computer or to have a Unicode enabled computer which has a keyboard driver for Indian (and preferably Nepali) input.
To date, the use of Nepali Devanagari on computers has been limited by the lack of standard cross-platform fonts. There are a variety of Nepali fonts available, but many of these are mutually incompatible due to different encodings (numeric codes that are mapped to character images or glyphs). Also, such fonts are for the most part developed by individuals, thus limiting their widespread use and dissemination. Thankfully, however, most Nepali fonts are available for both of the major operating platforms, Windows and Mac OS, even though they remain difficult to use consistently in Internet browsers. The ultimate solution to such problems has been the development of a Unicode Nepali font.
Unicode is an international organization that provides a standard encoding for all of the world's major languages. Nepali is included in the Unicode standard, under Devanagari. Click here to download the code chart for Devanagari from the Unicode website. As of January 2003, thanks to an initiative of Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Kathmandu, a Nepali Unicode font package has been released. This release marks the concluding stage of the current phase of the 'Nepali Font Standardization Project' organized by the Computer Association of Nepal (CAN). At present, the Nepali Unicode environment is compatible with a Windows operating system (2000 or XP) and also Apple Mac OS X. The Safari browser for Mac OS X also renders Unicode Nepali correctly. If you are having difficulties viewing Nepali Unicode on an Apple Mac, read Alan Wood's helpful comments on setting up your browser to view Unicode fonts. The Nepali Unicode package is available either as a CD from the Computer Association of Nepal, or as a free download (see below). The full package for Windows includes an installer for the Nepali Unicode Environment, a Nepali Typing Tutor (TypeMaster), a Sort Utility (Krama) and a Font converter utility (Converter).