Sunday, April 1, 2007

Publishing with Complex Scripts

Those wishing to do serious desktop publishing, including books, in scripts like Arabic, Devanagari, or Tamil in OS X are handicapped by the fact that standard applications like Word, InDesign, and Quark cannot yet render OS X Unicode fonts for these languages correctly. Alternatives are the limited TextEdit or Pages (which is buggy for Arabic), or using Windows fonts with OpenOffice. There does exist a special ME version of InDesign for Arabic/Hebrew.

Recently I came across a DTP program called iCalamus that appears to combine a wide range of DTP capabilities with proper rendering of complex scripts. Users with this kind of requirement may want to download the free trial here and give it a try. Unfortunately iCalamus does not yet support direct input and editing of Indic -- you have to copy/paste your text from TextEdit or another app where this can be done. A somewhat similar app which does support direct input is Create.


Shaun McDonald said... ~2.0.4 and later is able to convert installed Mac fonts to fonts compatible with (X11). This should no longer be a problem after the release of aqua.

Tom Gewecke said...

I'm not sure what you are referring to, Shaun. The important thing about OpenOffice is that it can use Windows fonts for complex scripts which OS X itself (along with Adobe and MS apps) cannot use, thus providing the OS X user a valuable additional way to produce text in Arabic and Indic languages.