Legacy Tibetan Input Methods For Windows

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Legacy Tibetan Input Methods for Windows

Contributor(s): THL Staff.

Simply having a Tibetan font does not mean that you can now use Tibetan in a computer. You also need a keyboard or input mechanism to efficiently type in Tibetan, and you also need that input mechanism to work with the various types of software you typically use. Any serious use of Tibetan in a computer context should use Unicode Tibetan fonts and input methods that work with such funds, which are detailed in Tibetan Input Tools For Windows. The present page instead surveys pre-Unicode input methods for use in Windows, and is of chiefly historical interest.

Keyman Keyboards (Unicode and Tibetan Machine)

Chris Walke has created a series of keyboards for entering Tibetan script in Windows applications. The keyboards use Tavultesoft Keyman and are available at external link: Tavultesoft . Installation is simple, and the keyboards can be invoked either through a keyboard shortcut or an icon. These keyboards enable the user to enter Tibetan using the Tibetan Machine font. The following keyboard layouts are available for Tibet machine

  1. Sambhota Keymap #1
  2. THL Extended Wylie

For further information on and downloads of Chris Walker’s keyboards, click external link: Keyman.

In order to use any of these keyboards, the proper Tibetan font needs to be installed. See our THL Toolbox Fonts Page. One can also view descriptions of:

Jskad Editor: A Java-based Tibetan Inputting Tool

Jskad (pronounced “jay-kay”) is a Java-based text editor for entering Tibetan script through a variety of different keyboards. It requires the Java Runtime, as well as Java Web Start, and it runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X 10.1 (but not earlier versions of Mac OS). Jskad uses Tibetan Machine Web and supports four input methods:

  1. external link: THL’s Extended Wylie Transliteration
  2. Tibetan Computer Company’s Keyboard #1
  3. Tibetan Computer Company’s Keyboard #2
  4. Nitharta’s Sambhota Keymap One

Jskad can be launched from the web or run locally.

For further information as well as downloads, see the Jskad Editor homepage.


Tibetan! is a macro that allows for the entry of Tibetan script directly into Word or WordPerfect documents using the Tibetan Machine and Tibetan Machine Web font families. For Windows 95 and higher, there are three versions of Tibetan!: one for Word 97, one for Word 2000, and one for WordPerfect. For Mac OS 8.1 and higher, there is a version of Tibetan! which requires Word:Mac 2001 and the Tibetan Machine Web fonts.

The Trace Foundation has sponsored the external link: Tibetan Computer Company’s (TCC) Tibetan! program to be freely available. Tibetan! enables the Tibet Machine! to be easily input within Word and WordPerfect. Tibetan! was created by Tony Duff of the external link: Tibetan Computer Company. They were made public domain under a general public license through the sponsorship of the external link: Trace Foundation.

There are two keyboards packaged with Tibetan!. In one the Tibetan letters are assigned sequentially across the keyboard ‘ka’ is assigned to ‘q’; ‘kha’ is assigned to ‘w’, and so forth. In the other, the Tibetan letters are assign to the keyboard based on their frequency of use. This is meant to assist in speed typing, once the keyboard is memorized.

For further information as well as downloads, see the Tibetan! homepage.

Wylie Word: A Word for Windows Accessory

Wylie Word is a Microsoft Word for Windows template containing macros that allow one to enter Tibetan script directly into a Word document, as well as convert transliteration to Tibetan script or Tibetan script to transliteration. The macro runs on Windows 95+ machines with Word 2000 or later. There is presently no Macintosh version available. The latest version, 2.1 beta, allows for the entry of Unicode Tibetan using external link: EWTS Transliteration System. Tibetan transliteration is converted in block or as one types. The earlier versions produce Tibetan only in the legacy Tibetan Machine Web font.

Specific features of WylieWord (versions 2.0+) include:

  • Easy to use installer
  • Allows entry of Unicode Tibetan (only version 2.1 beta)
  • Fully compatible with mouse (unlike version 1.0)
  • Easily edit mixed Tibetan/English text
  • Easily type Tibetan punctuation and Sanskrit stacks
  • Convert Wylie transliterations to Tibetan script and vice versa
  • Search for Tibetan text
  • Produce pronunciations from Tibetan script or Wylie
  • "Interlineal mode" helps create aligned translation texts, with Tibetan, Wylie, and pronunciation produced automatically. This is useful for language learning and for preparing liturgy for use by non-Tibetan-speakers.
  • Facility for easily entering Unicode Latin diacritcs; this is useful in Sanskrit transliterations.

THL has also created Wylie Word, a program allowing one to type within Word utilizing true Wylie input. Both programs utilize Tibetan Machine Web.