The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 9: Nastaleeq vs. Nastaliq? Either way, Windows 8 has got it!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/11/16 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

Previous blogs from this series:

So I've talked a lot about new keyboards and new locales and such, and everything I have talked about so far has four things in common:

  1. They are all features of Windows 8 (and.Net 4.5, where applicable), and
  2. They are all things that I think are really cool, and
  3. They have all been a long time coming, and
  4. I have been intimately involved with every of them.

Some casual (and not-so-casual) readers might assume that I am perhaps only going talk about stuff that meets all four criteria.

But today I'm going talk something that only the first three apply to; my involvement has been limited at best.

In other words, you can think of it as proof that I believe there are cool features in Windows 8 that I had very little to do with! :-)

I'll start with a blog of mine from this last March, Nastaliq is not just another script....

And the new Windows 8 font: Urdu Typesetting., a new member of the Arabic script font family:

It will be (and given how many people have or are installing the //Build Developer Preview of Windows 8, is) the first widely available Unicode font to support Nastaliq.

Here you can see it contrasted with Arabic Typesetting, a Naskh based font, for the same text:


That's in WordPad.

And here is in Notepad:

Now as I pointed out yesterday:

That Nastaleeq and not Naskh should be the writing style used for computers is also based on this misconceived “Nastaleeq or Naskh” notion – which in turn is an unfortunate legacy of Urdu word processing packages which supported one style or the other. So far as Unicode is concerned, for example word Pakistan would always comprise of characters Pay, Alef, Kaf, Seen, Tay, Alef and Noon.

The underlying text here is equivalent underneath, but the Nastaliq is quite simply overwhelming preferred by many people for use in Urdu documents -- like Urdu poetry, for example.

Anyway, if you have the Windows 8 Developer Preview, you can try out Urdu Typesetting to see how it works for you.

Keep in mind that it is mostly meant to be a Document font, not a UI font -- which should suit the needs of most of the people who have been asking for it, though I imagine people trying it out might try it many different places and at many different sizes. This is a font that really does need a little space -- you have been warned!

One caveat: a lot of work happened over the last few months to improve the font: lots of kerning was added, for example,and some compatibility work to fix minor bugs people found in Word vs. WordPad vs. Notepad. I was almost tempted to say nothing until beta, but someone would have stumbled on the font. Perhaps someone already has. So after talking to the owner of the font in MST, I decided to go ahead and write this up. I figured everyone understands about pre-beta vs. beta vs. release, and there are probably some people who would be very, very interested to find out about this long-requested feature -- now a part of Windows 8!

I have several people I'll be forwarding this blog to who have been asking for it over the years, and if you know people who have been looking for a good Nastaliq font you should do the same. Enjoy!

Special thanks to colleague and friend Irfan Gowani for loaning me some of his Urdu poetry for the screenshots -- I will probably be using them in another blog or two in the future....

John Cowan on 16 Nov 2011 8:08 AM:

What's with the strange effects in the WordPad ribbon?

Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Nov 2011 10:21 AM:

Which strange effects?

Simon Buchan on 16 Nov 2011 2:24 PM:

It's probably worthwhile pointing out that the second Wordpad image is the Arabic Typesetting font, it's a little confusing with those two as the first introduction :)

That pseudo-ized Arabic LIP looks interesting, I'm guessing it's designed to show up BiDi and line-height issues? Does Microsoft make it's pseudo-izations public anywhere? Translations are something we are going to be dealing with soon....

Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Nov 2011 3:45 PM:

I wanted to show the visual distinction between Nastaliq and Naskh. :-)

We do not currently make the pseudo builds public, though it has been requested before and can be considered....

Simon Buchan on 16 Nov 2011 9:40 PM:

Sure, I just meant you have to see the other shots before you know which is which. Re: psuedo, I was more asking about what the pseudo-ization actually does (and why, if it's not obvious) so we can test that our own text handling and layout is i18n friendly, though the LIP is probably useful for testing in RTL contexts, which would also be nice.

Nasar Malik, Copenhagen, Denmark on 29 Jan 2012 11:12 AM:

A great achievement, congratulations.

Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui on 30 Jan 2012 6:33 AM:

That's great. Windows has recently started taking up the issue of Urdu typing, though much belated, it's a much-awaited and progressive move. I'm eagerly looking forward.

Founding Editor,

Haiku International

Karachi, Pakistan

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referenced by

2013/10/09 It feels good to be the hero of the story, but...

2012/10/26 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 28: We finally fixed that 'Install New Languages' thing!

2012/10/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 27: No, the T and the H aren't silent...

2012/08/20 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 26: Hey Windows 8, there's someone on the phone for you.

2012/07/11 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 25: Something old, something new, something repurposed, and something...

2012/06/07 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 24: I Adar you! Hell, I Double Adar you! (Windows 8 ed.)

2012/06/05 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 23: Tamazight? Outta sight!

2012/04/12 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 22: Digit Substitution 2.0

2012/03/08 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 21: The Windows 8 Hijripalooza extraordinaire!

2012/03/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 20: Yes, it's Bangla. Not Bengali!

2012/02/21 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 19: In honor of International Mother Language Day...

2012/02/15 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 18: Two scripts that share ten digits can be trouble

2012/02/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 17: Today I feel like translating you more than before

2012/01/24 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 16: We can't scale to a Xishuangbanna Dai locale, but…

2012/01/17 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 15: Fixing our listings up in Windows 8!

2011/12/22 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 14: Tifinagh, Tamazight, and Berber? Oh my!

2011/12/21 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 13: Divvying up locales, yet again!

2011/12/09 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 12: Logic dictates that we keep a sense of proportion about the RATIO

2011/11/23 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 11: What language is that keyboard for?

2011/11/22 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 10: Perhaps it is best to think of it as unintelligent design?

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