[XeTeX] OpenType codes for non-European languages

Jonathan Kew jonathan at jfkew.plus.com
Wed Jul 30 23:45:03 CEST 2008

On 30 Jul 2008, at 8:10 PM, Robert Zydenbos wrote:

> I'm interested in using XeTeX for Indological work, using freely
> available OpenType fonts for Indian languages such as Kannada and  
> Tamil.
> The XeTeX documentation gives a sample of how to use Devanagari  
> script,
> with a command for complex layout features so that the ligatures are
> produced correctly, like:
> \font\body="Raghindi:script=deva" at 10pt \body
> Here the ":script=deva" tells XeTeX to use the ligature information in
> the font (in this case a Devanagari font).
> Does anyone know where to get a complete list of such script codes?

You can find all the registered OpenType tags in the spec on  
Microsoft's site:


See "script tags" in particular.

Regarding which scripts are actually supported in XeTeX, you'd need to  
check the ICU layout engine. According to http://icu-project.org/userguide/layoutEngine.html 
, "OpenType processing requires script-specific processing to be done  
before the tables are used. The ICU LayoutEngine performs this  
processing for Arabic, Devanagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya,  
Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, and Malayalam text." However, this list is not  
fully up-to-date; IIRC, we also have support for Sinhala, Tibetan, and  
Syriac, for example, and perhaps others -- I don't remember offhand.

Note that if you're using XeLaTeX, the fontspec package provides  
"real" names for the scripts, so you'd say things like


and so on. See the fontspec documentation for more details.


More information about the XeTeX mailing list