There are many keyboard layouts and transliteration schemes to Type in Telugu. Many of users who type Telugu on computers use proprietary encodings and keyboard layouts like Modular, Apple, and Roma. If they have a way to type in Telugu in Unicode using the layout they are familiar with, it would boost the usage of Telugu on the Web specifically and on computers generally. This post explores the problem of keyboard layouts and introduces some Keyboard Layout Creators.
Lot of people who work with/write/publish Telugu on computers (ignoring Telugu bloggers and Wikipedians) use applications like Anu Script Manager (Anu Fonts), Shree-Lipi, iLEAP, etc. (Through out this post, I’ll refer to them as ‘these applications’.) These applications are good for printing purposes, but not for producing content for the Web. They are not good because they produce non-Unicode text. Non-Unicode text is bad on the web because–
- user must have the font that supports particular encoding/mapping (the mappings that these applications use are different)
- search engines do not understand it (because of the point 1 above, most people put the content as images, as against text)
Most people stuck with these applications and non-Unicode text because there was no other alternative until support for Unicode is available in Operating Systems and other software applications. Even the people who realize the benefits of Unicode are in a difficult position to move to Unicode. Reason one is their process gets disturbed. They need to use new set of tools.
Most of these applications support multiple keyboard layouts (including Inscript Keyboard Layout, which is the default keyboard layout that comes with Windows and Linux operating systems). However, most users of these applications are used to other layouts than Inscript. If any of these users want to use Unicode, they need to type using a different layout. If they frequently switch back and forth between Unicode and non-Unicode texts, remembering two layouts is very confusing. And, in those cases, they most likely decide abandon using Unicode.
It would be helpful if they can type in Unicode using the keyboard layout they are familiar with. And, the good news is that it is possible to make your own keyboard layout. There are at least a handful of options:
- Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator or MSKLC (Free, Genuine Windows Authentication required, easy to create layouts, the created layouts work on Windows XP and Vista)
- Keyman Developer (For fee, needs Keyman Desktop to use the layouts created.)
- Aksharamala (Free, needs Aksharamala to use the layouts created.)
- XKB in Linux (more)
Modular layout is the famous layout on non-Unicode Telugu generation applications. Using the MSKLC, I created Telugu Modular Keyboard Layout for Windows. By using this, you can type in Telugu wherever you can type in English.
Here are the instructions on how to use it:
- Download the Modular Telugu Keyboard Layout.
- Unzip the downloaded zip file.
- Execute the
- After the installation is complete, you can switch to the Modular Keyboard Layout by pressing Left Alt + Shift. Pressing again the same keyboard shortcut brings you back to the English.
- If you want to see an indication of which layout is in use, you can enable Language Bar in Windows.
I hope people would take forward this initiative and create all the keyboard layouts that are in use for Telugu and more number of people start using Telugu on the web and computers.
Update: I also created Apple Telugu Keyboard Layout for Windows.
Update 2011-02-03: In case you didn’t know any Telugu keyboard layout yet, I recommend you learn INSCRIPT keyboard layout, which is standardized by the Government of India. You can use my Inscript Lekhini for leaning or typing Telugu using Inscript layout.