Download: RachanaMac.ttf 
(This is a Mac version of the Rachana OpenType font released by Rachana Akshara Vedi for Windows/Linux.
If you are looking for a font to use in Windows/Linux, while the above should work, you can download the original non-Mac version from here. RachanaMac is released under GNU General Public License, ver. 3 as are all the other software on this page. A local copy of the license file is available here. The Mac version contains no extra glyphs, but makes use of every Malayalam glyph in the original version.)

Installation: The easiest way to install this font is to copy it into ~/Library/Fonts. See this article for a detailed discussion. If you have previously installed a version of Rachana (or another Malayalam font), be sure to delete it and do a reboot before installing this version. You can test your installation by visiting this test page.

Alpha version: Please email us if you notice any issues (other than the ones mentioned below).

Known issues: 
Browsers: Apple's Safari does not render the Unicode pre-5.1 coded (non-atomic) chillaksharangal properly.  However, Firefox 3.x renders everything correctly. We recommend using Firefox for viewing Malayalam websites. (You might want to install the Padma plug-in for Firefox, to read some Malayalam newspapers without installing additional fonts.) The font doesn't work in Firefox 2; since Firefox 3 is available only for Mac OS X 10.4 and later, in earlier versions of OS X, Safari is recommended (tested only on Mac OS X 10.3.9).
Editors: (Aqua) and Pages (iWork09) work perfectly. Make sure you select Rachana font and not the default font; thanks to Tom Gewecke for the tip. (When the correct font is not chosen, they both have the same issue as Safari, with rendering old style chillaksharangal.) TextEdit seems to have stability issues when rendering Malayalam. NeoOffice renders the text around ഠൊ (o), ഠോ (O) and ഠൌ (non-standard au) signs wrongly. MacVim has multiple issues (ഠൊ (o), ഠോ (O) and ഠൌ (non-standard au) signs, character width, old style chillaksharam etc.).

For developers: If you are interested in adding an AAT table to your Malayalam OpenType font, you may want to look at the morph input file (mif) we used. More information and tools for developing fonts for Macs are available from Apple. We also found FontForge (a free font editor) useful. Do make sure that you have the necessary permission to modify a font before working on it.

Keyboard and input methods

Downloads: Malayalam.keylayout and Malayalam.icns (optional icon file)

: Copy the file(s) to ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts
(more details). Reboot (for good measure). Navigate to  System Preference -> International (Language & Text in Snow Leopard) -> Input Sources and put a check mark against Malayalam.

Usage instructions: To engage the Malayalam keyboard, pull down the input method menu (typically located at the top right-hand side; look for a US flag if you are using a US keyboard) and check Malayalam. Also check the Show Keyboard Viewer if you want to see the key layout. Note that you need to use the shift key for some of the characters (press the shift key and observe the keyboard viewer), alt-key and alt+shift give you Roman characters.

Special instruction: If you want an explicit chandrakkala, hit the chandrakkala button twice. You might want to use this in certain instances like ഓഫ്‌ലൈൻ (offline) where we want an explicit chandrakkala as opposed to ഓഫ്ലൈൻ.

Caveat: The keyboard is in Inscript format with modifications proposed by an experts committee. (In fact, this is exactly the same keyboard as here, except for a revamped icon and a proper GPL notice.) The Inscript key layout may have evolved independent of these proposed modifications, but we do not plan to support this standard at the moment. The text produced by this keyboard does conform to Unicode 5.1 specifications (current as of September 2009).

Other input methods: We very highly recommend varamozhi, a stand-alone transliteration program and the following web-based transliteration tools: മലയാളം ഓൺലൈൻ and varamozhi online both of which use the same basic transliteration scheme as varamozhi, but without some of the smarts.

Update: A more recent option is to use KeyMagic. See here for more details.


Rachana Akshara Vedi (Chitrajakumar R, Hussain KH, Rajeev Sebastian, Gangadharan N, Vijayakumaran Nair, Subash Kuraiakose) for their beautiful Rachana font. Cibu Johny for varamozhi and Raj Neettiyath (a.k.a Peringodan) for മലയാളം ഓൺലൈൻ. The free software listed below, for being free and awesome. And Changampuzha for the lovely poetry.


Copyright © 2009 Manoj and Vinod Prabhakaran