Multilingual Editor from IIT Madras: Editor Help
About the Multilingual Editor from IIT Madras

Differences between Word processors and the IITM Editor

Some distinguishing features supported by the Editor

Languages/Scripts supported by the Editor

Areas of application for the Editor

Keymap for IITM Scheme (Picture guide)

Data Entry Methods

Using the Editor

Keyboard Mapping (Reference chart)
Opening Files
Selecting a Language
Basic Editing Operations
Mixing many Languages
Cut and Paste Options
On-screen transliteration
Search and Replace Options
Saving and "Saving as" Options
Inserting Text
Support Files
Outputs generated by the Editor
Printing Option
Companion Applications
Multilingual Local Language Browser - LB
Transliterated Text Viewer - TVIEW
Local language to HTML format Converter - LLF2HTML
Conversion Utility to generate PDF documents
Miscellaneous Information
Guidelines for avoiding problems
Minimal Troubleshooting Guide
Limitations in the Editor

About the Multilingual Editor

  This computer program allows you to prepare documents in one or more Indian languages (some World languages are included as well) in their original or native scripts. One can therefore use this program to type data into a computer in Sanskrit, Gujarati, Malayalam etc.. The writing systems followed by all the official languages of India constitute a set of ten scripts all of which are supported by the multilingual Editor.

  There are different versions of the Editor for use under Microsoft Windows as well as Linux. This version of the Editor (version 3.0 released in April 2006, works with Windows98/Me/2000/XP. There are equivalent versions of this program, which will run on other Computers such as DOS based machines, UNIX Systems and the Macintosh. The help file given here relates to the Windows version. The version for Linux was released in Nov. 2002. Most of the features mentioned here also apply to the Linux version.

  There are some distinguishing features of this program that are worth mentioning. The most important of them is that the program can be used with all the Indian languages/Scripts. Thus, it is one program for all of India.

  Interest in Word-processing and data entry in Indian languages is not recent. One sees many packages developed for Indian languages in use today (as of January 2001). The relevance of this IIT Madras Multilingual Editor, in the context of growing number of Word processors in Indian languages, deserves special mention. This Editor, referred to as the IITM Editor, can prepare documents which could further be processed and used in other applications e.g.,

To generate files for use with the Internet, where web browsers may be used to view Indian Language text just as easily as standard Roman text.

Perform Linguistic text processing such as Sorting, Indexing and Concordance generation.

Setup large data base systems using standard Systems such as Oracle, Mysql and provide an Indian language user interface client to access the data.

It is possible to use PERL to process text strings in Indian languages by using special PERL modules developed as part of the IITM Software. The required PERL program may be typed in using the Editor.

A speech enhanced version of the Editor may be used by Visually Handicapped users to prepare documents in Indian languages as well as obtain printed versions in Bharati Braille.

Differences between the IITM Editor and Word Processors or DTP Software

  In these paragraphs, the term IITM software will be taken to mean the Multilingual system developed at the Systems Development Laboratory, IIT Madras, to provide Multilingual user interface support for general computer applications. The IITM Editor is one component of this system.

  There are several Word processors and DTP programs in use in the country for preparing documents in Indian scripts. Many of these are rich in features, both in terms of editing operations as well as printing. What is special about the IITM Software ?

  The major point of difference with the IITM software is its ability to work uniformly with all the Indian Scripts. More importantly, a document prepared using the IITM Editor can be electronically processed in a uniform manner across all the Indian languages/scripts. The IITM software supports a library of functions to process text strings in Indian languages, using which many applications can be developed which support user interfaces based entirely on the scripts of choice. The Editor is thus a basic choice for preparing text in Indian languages, which can be electronically processed further using standard algorithms for text processing.

  Several attempts have been made in the past to develop programs that would allow all existing English language applications to work with Indian languages. While this approach allowed the applications to display their outputs in Indian scripts, data entry procedures were very cumbersome and worse still, string processing applications which worked well for Roman text gave substantial headaches in handling Indian language strings. This was a consequence of the coding methods employed to code the Indian language characters. In many word processors, the internal coding corresponds to the glyph locations in specified fonts or simply a scheme like ISCII or Unicode.

  The ISCII coding scheme is a standard used by many software packages and this scheme is probably good as a minimal standard. However it suffers from several inadequacies which include a not so easy data input scheme. Other word processors and DTP systems allow no further processing of the prepared text and use proprietary encoding methods, which have no uniformity across the languages.

  Unicode has gained strength as a World standard and current development of Multilingual applications are based on Unicode (July 2004). Unfortunately, the use of Unicode may not solve all the text and linguistic processing requirements in respect if Indian languages. Utilities to perform conversions between Unicode and the IITM syllable codes are available with the IITM Software.

  The IIT Madras software is perhaps one approach that addresses the issue of text processing in a generic manner and employs a coding scheme for characters which is very efficient in respect of size and fast string processing. It has been observed that very useful applications may be developed quickly using the IIT Madras scheme, based on public domain software. Thus, while most other software developed for Indian languages is limited to specified applications, the IITM software allows easy development of several applications, which are peculiar to the Indian environment. One such application is the ability of the software to perform searches for text strings where the exact word may not be known but approximate sounds of the aksharas in the word are known. This can be of great value while searching for strings in archives where the exact spelling of the search string is not known.

  The IITM Editor does not alter the Operating System in any way. It does not install or use any Drivers for the Keyboard and will therefore work on any machine that runs the specified Operating systems. The version for Linux is sufficiently universal to run on most machines running Linux. Xwindows support is required under Linux.

System Requirements

Platforms: The Software runs on systems running the Microsoft Windows or Linux Operating systems

MSWindows:  Win95. Win98, WinMe, WinNT, Win2000, WinXP

Linux: Almost al flavours of Linux- Redhat, Mandrake, Suse, Debian and Slackware. XWindows support is required as the editor runs under a graphical user interface.

The software is built only for CPUs based on the Intel-386 architecture. This means it can be used directly on any IBM PC compatible  hardware. The program has been developed as a true 32 bit Windows application. The Linux version is an ELF Binary and is by definition a 32 bit program.

 The software will run even on a minimal Win95 system with just about 16MB Memory. It requires about 3 to 5 Megabytes of free disk space. Almost any system running recent versions of MS Windows will be able to run the application without difficulty.

Installation may be done from diskettes or using a downloadable file from the Acharya website. Under Windows, a setup program is provided and under Linux, installation has to be effected by untarring the supplied archive. The diskette based installation is provided only under Microsoft Windows.