Jskad Editor

THL Toolbox > Tibetan Scripts, Fonts & Related Issues > Using Tibetan in Windows > Tibetan Input Tools for Windows > Jskad Editor

Jskad Editing Tool

Contributor(s) to this documentation: THL Staff.

Because Jskad supports Rich Text Format (RTF), Jskad can read and exchange documents with most major word processors. Jskad also supports RTF copy and paste, which means that you can copy and paste text directly from applications such as Microsoft Word.

Jskad has facilities for converting back and forth between THL Extended Wylie, Tibetan Machine, Unicode, external link: ACIP Tibetan Input Code, and Tibetan Machine Web. This can be done either by selecting text within Jskad and using convenient menu options, or by using a powerful conversion tool documented external link: here.

Jskad is meant to be used both as an efficient tool for entering unformatted Tibetan text using an attractive Tibetan font, and as a modular and programmable component in larger applications that rely on Tibetan text-entry.


There are two methods of installing Jskad: "launch" via Java Web start, and "download" which allows you to manually save a local file you can run from your desktop. In fact, both install a local copy of Jskad on your hard drive that you can use while off-line. However, both require you have support for the Java programming language on your computer.

Mac OS X 10.1+: No installation necessary for Java. Earler versions of Mac OS simply don't support Java adequately, and hence can't be used for this and many other Java programs.

Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP: external link: Java can be installed painlessly (really!)

Once Java is installed, click on "launch" or "download". Launch installs the program for you over the Web and will ask you if you want a shortcut on your desktop - say yes, and subsequently you can use the program offline. The advantage of the "launch" method is that whenever you are online and either open Jskad, or click on this "launch" link again, the program will be automatically updated with any new versions. If you accidently delete the shortcut, for Windows users you should find a Java Web Start on your Program list from the Start menu, and there be able to recreate a shortcut. You will get a warning message saying this program requires "unrestricted access" to your computer, but don't worry - this just means it needs to access a file that contains your saved preferences and the files that you tell it to access, and in no way opens your computer up to THL's use!! If you still don't feel confident, then feel free to download the source code, read it to ensure that it's not going to do anything unsavory, build it yourself, and use that.

"Download" allows you to save a single a Jskad file which can then be used to run the program offline. To update it with new versions, you will have to manually download the new version subsequently. This may be preferable if you have a slow Web connection and don't want automatic updates, though in general "launch" is more convenient.

You can choose to run a stable version of Jskad (the top links), or the very latest and greatest, last night's build (the second links). Last night's Jskad may have more features and bug fixes than the stable version, but some nights it may contain new bugs that the stable version does not. If you have trouble with the stable version, then try last night's version and see if the problem has already been fixed.


Jskad consists of four menu tabs, and two drop-down select boxes.

These instructions need to be updated. Until then, use the information that you get from Jskad's 'Help' menu.

FILE: new, open, close, save, save as, exit. Jskad opens and saves in RTF format. It does not work with other formats, such as Word "doc" format, html, txt, etc. To create a file first in Word, and then open it in Jskad, one must first save it as RTF within word (file:save as:specify file type=RTF).

EDIT: cut (ctrl x), copy (ctrl c), paste (ctrl v), select all (ctrl a), preferences, save preferences to:. In Windows, you can copy and paste Tibetan script, as well as formatted text (colored fonts, bold, etc.) back and forth between Jskad and Word. However Jskad at present lacks any ability to change that formatting once imported.

Preferences allow you to set the font size for Tibetan script, the Roman font used, and the Roman script font size. Plese note that there is no way to change the size of the text once entered - changing preferences will only change the size of newly input text from that point onwards. The final menu note specifies where the preferences file is saved on your hard drive.

TOOLS: convert Tibetan to Wylie, convert Wylie to Tibetan, Import Wylie as Tibetan. By selecting a range of text and using the first two menu options, one can selectively transform Tibetan into Wylie, and Wylie into Tibetan. The third menu option allows you to open a TXT file which is automatically converted into Tibetan script. You have to first save your file in plain text format (TXT). Then choose "import Wylie as Tibetan" in Jskad, specify the file to be transformed, and specify the file name for the result. Jskad will then transform the file and save it as a RTF file which can then be opened in Jskad, Word or other programs that understand RTF. It will NOT work if you try it with a RTF file.

The same thing can be accomlished with a RTF file by opening it in Jskad, choosing "select all", and then choosing "convert Wylie to Tibetan". See the Troubleshooting section for known problems in the conversion process.

HELP: help, the four keyboards listed one by one, and about. "Help" is currently offline, and is likely to be more up-to-date than this page. "About" simply gives information on the program. The keyboards listed, if chosen, will give a popup reference as to the keyboard correlations to Tibetan script.

INPUT MODE: this allows the user to choose between typing in Roman or Tibetan script.

KEYBOARD: this allows the user to choose between the keyboard to be used for input of Tibetan.

Using Jskad to Convert THL Extended Wylie into Tibetan Unicode from an Excel Spreadsheet

Install the latest version of Jskad

1 Open the Excel file that contains the ETWS records.

2 Select the ETWS records that you want to convert to TMU.

  • It is assumed that the records are lists of words.
  • Longer strings, such as sentences and paragraphs, should also work.

3 Export those records from Excel as a Unicode .txt document.

  • Excel will export the Unicode .txt document as UTF-16 and not UTF-8.
  • Jskad will not recognize UTF-16 and the document must be converted to UTF-8.

4 Open the Unicode .txt document into a text editor which can convert UTF-16 to UTF-8 (e.g. Jedit).

5 In the editor, convert the document to UTF-8.

  • If you're using Jedit, click Utilities, then click Buffer Options, and select UTF-8 in the Character Encoding dialog box.
  • Save the document.

6 Open Jskad

7 Click on Tools, and then click Launch Converter

8 In the converter menu, set the Type of Conversion dialog box to Wylie to Unicode (Text->Text).

9 Browse and select the file you want to convert

10 Type a name for the output file

  • The default name for the converted file will be the original file name plus "Uni_" as a prefix.

11 Finally, click Convert

  • Even if most of the file was converted successfully, there still might be errors which have to be fixed manually.
  • For example, the converter will not accept "sphyi" as useable ETWS. One must either enter an "a" after the prefix "s" ("saphyi") before converting, or fix it manually.
  • The converter can handle tabs and newlines.
  • Jskad will not display the converted file.

12 Open the converted file in Microsoft Word.

  • You must have the external link: TMU font for the glyphs to display correctly in Word and Excel.

13 Select all the records.

  • Make sure that they are in TMU font.
  • If not, change the font to TMU.

14 Cut and paste the records into your original Excel file.


If certain Tibetan vowels are improperly spaced in the display, reinstall the latest version of Java. Due to external link: Java Bug Id 4498203, this problem afflicts Java versions including 1.3.0-02, 1.3.1, and 1.4 beta 2.

If you are having problems converting Wylie to Tibetan, it is probably because you are not following the external link: THL Extended Wylie transliteration standard. Your Wylie must rigorously adhere to this standard.

Also please note that for Tibet Machine Web you can never save the program in plain text format (TXT). The reason for this is that Tibet Machine Web actually is nine different fonts, which is necessary to display the various conjuncts attractively. TXT format doesn't keep track of fonts, so it converts the text into just one font, thereby loosing all the information.


Recent versions of Microsoft Word (Office XP onwards for Windows; not yet clear on Mac) use a kind of RTF that Java does not understand. If Windows users don't have a older version of Word, open the document in WordPad (which comes with all Windows OS - Start, Programs, Accessories; or just search on "wordpad") and save as RTF from there.

On the Mac, you cannot cut and paste Tibetan script or formatted text from Jskad into Word, or Word into Jskad- you must save it in Jskad, and then open up that file in Word; or save it in Word as RTF, and then open the file within Jskad. Finally on the Mac, "the import Wylie as Tibetan" doesn't work - you have to open the RTF file within Jskad, choose "select all", and then choose "convert Wylie to Tibetan" manually.


Jskad was created by THL, but is now largely supported and improved by the hard work of volunteers. Please visit our THL Toolbox site to get involved! Contribute source code, documentation, bug reports, feature requests, or just have a look.

Jskad Copyright 2001-2008 Tibetan and Himalayan Library Protected by the terms of the THL Open Community License, Version 1.0.

We would like to acknowledge the Trace Foundation for their generous contribution to enable the original licensing of the Tibet Machine fonts, and their subsequent support in altering the fonts to produce the Tibet Machine Web fonts.