[XeTeX] Lao typesetting in XeTeX

Wilfred van Rooijen wvanrooijen at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 29 07:34:49 CEST 2010

1.  Where do I start? I have found several manuals for LaTeX, but when I compile a new document, the Lao fonts do not show.

That's because LaTeX does not support Laotian, I suppose. Take the following steps:
1. Make sure you have an OpenType font with glyphs for Laotian (i.e. the Laotian script is available). OpenType fonts are available as OTF or TTF fonts; both types should work with xelatex
2. Make sure that the fonts are properly installed on your system. This is system-dependent, more info is online
3. Now make a tex file with some Laotian in it
4. Make sure to use the fontspec pacakge in xelatex, and make sure to select the Laotian-capable font, and all should be fine.
2. Tomorrow I will be going to Laos for other business and will take time to meet with the director of IT integration for the government who created the national font (yes, they have a national font). Is there any information that I should get from him that would help in my Lao XeTeX project?

The font should be "Unicode", i.e. the glyphs should show up in the locations assigned to the Laotian script in the Unicode tables. Make sure that the fonts are available as OpenType. Also make sure that there are no strange limits on the copyright. For example, in PDF files the font is usually embedded, i.e. the characters that are used in the document are actually included in the PDF file. Thus, proliferation of the PDF document means that one is also proliferating a (subset of) the font used in the document. If copyright limits this kind of embedding, the font is not very practical.

Thank you,

Brian Wilson

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