Typesetting Kannada Unicode using XeTeX

Thursday, 07 January 2010

Typesetting software yield better looking documents than word processing software. Word processing softwares are quick and efficient in producing documents for daily use. Books, thesis and works of art require better presentation.

Typesetting is an art and science and requires constant study and practice. However, software packages like TeX make typesetting accessible to all.

In the following paragraphs, I have made a note of setting up your Linux system to typeset kannada text using Unicode. The commands shown below were tested on a Ubuntu 9.04 operating system.

Install XeTeX

$ sudo apt-get install texlive-xetex

Download Akshar fonts and install

    $ cd /usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-kannada-fonts
    $ sudo wget http://www.kamban.com.au/fonts/akshar.ttf
    $ sudo fc-cache

Note: You may have to install ttf-kannada-fonts package if don't see the above directory.

Prepare document

Create a TeX file containing Kannada Unicode text. See attached ondu.tex for example.

Process the document

Convert the .tex file to .pdf using xelatex command

$ xelatex ondu.tex

View output

The above step outputs the typeset document in PDF format. PDF files can be opened using the evince program under Gnome desktop environment.

$ evince ondu.pdf


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