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Khowar Writing in Computer- Advent of Windows 8.1

Computer has infiltrated into almost every walk of human life. Writing, a very essential form of communication, has been revolutionized by computer. Initially computers could work only in English, and it took quite some time for other languages to come into the realm of computer. It was more difficult for languages written in non-Roman writing systems. Gradually computers were enabled to work with more and more languages.

Khowar being a small and backward language, had to wait a long to get into computer world. In the beginning, Khowar writers had no facility to write on computer. Someone improvised a system for writing Khowar. In this system, Khowar text was written in Urdu Inpage, replacing six additional Khowar letters with nearest Urdu ones. The page was then imported into a graphic application called Coral Draw, where Khowar letters were created and inserted to it. The page then became a picture, not a text document. This was a tedious process, more cumbersome than writing by hand.

In 2009, a breakthrough was made by incorporating Khowar letters in the UNICODE. Dr. Alina Bashir of Chago University made it possible with the help of a Pakistani University. But this was only a partial solution. One had to install a certain font (NafeesPakistaniWebNaskh), as well as a keyboard layout (crulp khowar keyboard). Even then, Khowar writing was not without problems. It only worked for text editing applications like MS Word, and putting Khowar text in websites was not possible. Text was rendered in only one font and could not be changed to others. Even in that font, four out of six special Khowar letters were rendered with some complications, because these were not fully supported in UNICODE.

There was yet another facility, but it needed a certain text editing application called Libre Office, and its own keyboard/ font. The text written thus could only be rendered in the same application. It was also useless for the web.

The latest advancement in this respect came when Microsoft Corporation released its latest version of Windows called Windows 8.1. This version has incorporated Khowar fonts into its system, eliminating the need of installing Khowar Fonts. With Windows 8.1, we only need install a proper Khowar Keyboard layout, and nothing more. We can write in any text editing application as well as on the web. Any of the basic windows fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Tahoma etc. can be selected. Even if no font is selected, you can write Khowar and it will be rendered in the default font.

The advent of Windows 8.1 is a big news for Khowar, but that is not the end of it. A lot more is to be done. The method only works on systems installed with Windows 8.1, and it will take quite sometimes before all systems are shifted to Windows 8.1. Older computers may not get it ever, because it needs at least 1.6 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. One chronic problem is of the font face. Khowar writers are used to Nastaleeq fonts, and find it hard to shift to Naskh. Unfortunately all of the window’s basic fonts are Naskh, and we will have to wait more in this respect.

Any how we should look forward and make full use of the facility. Further improvements will come along if more and more people use the method, creating a demand in the market.

=> Here are details of all these methods with resources

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