How to prepare InDesign CS5, CS6 for Tibetan script

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Introduction

InDesign CS5 for Mac OS-X supports a new composer called "World-Ready Composer". This composer correctly renders Tibetan Unicode fonts that work with Windows or Linux.

Unicode Tibetan pechas in Mac Adobe Indesign CS5

Installation

A script or a template needs to be installed in order to make the World-Ready composer accessible.

A very good overview and scripts for enabling Tibetan in Indesign CS4/CS5 is given by Thomas Phinney. The page also contains templates for Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Script coding

The minimal requirement to enable Tibetan rendering is a script (here JavaScript) that enables the World-Ready composer in one paragraph style by:

var paragraphStyle = doc.paragraphStyles.item ("somestylename"); 
paragraphStyle.composer = "Adobe World-Ready Paragraph Composer";

Note: When using the Chinese version of Adobe Indesign CS4 or CS5, the last line of the code-snip above needs to be changed to:

paragraphStyle.composer = "Adobe 全球適用段落視覺調整";

For more information on the Chinese version, see AtlasWu's Observer.[1]

A complete script that creates a paragraph-style for the Tibetan font Jomolhari would look like this:

Tibetan.jsx:

createTibetanParagraphStyle (app.activeDocument, 'Tibetan');  
function createTibetanParagraphStyle (doc, stylename)  
  {  
  if (doc.paragraphStyles.item (stylename) == null)  
     doc.paragraphStyles.add ({name: stylename});  
  var paragraphStyle = doc.paragraphStyles.item (stylename);  
  paragraphStyle.composer = "Adobe World-Ready Paragraph Composer";  
  try {
      tibFont = app.fonts.item("Jomolhari");
      paragraphStyle.appliedFont = tibFont;
      }
  catch (myError) {};
  } 

This script should be saved into a file named Tibetan.jsx and copied to

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\Version 7.0\<locale>\Scripts\Scripts Panel
  • Windows Vista: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\Version 7.0\<locale>\Scripts\Scripts Panel
  • Mac OS: /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version 7.0/<locale>/Scripts/Scripts Panel

where <username> is your OS-X user name and <locale> references your location and language, for example, en_US.

Once the script is in the folder, it appears on the Scripts panel inside InDesign. To display the panel, choose Window > Utilities > Scripts. [2]

Double-click the script to create a paragraph style Tibetan.

Once a single style that uses the world-ready composer is defined, InDesign exposes the world-ready composer as option for all existing and new styles.

Configuration

[1] Indesign CS5 includes a World-Ready composer that supports Tibetan.

Once you have installed a script as described above, you can enable the World-Ready Composer for different paragraph styles:

  • Either define a new paragraph style, or edit an existing style (e.g. [Basic Paragraph])
  • Then set Paragraph Style Options / Justification / Composer to Adobe World-Ready Paragraph Composer. (See image [1]).

Any paragraph that has such a style assigned, correctly renders Tibetan Unicode.

The new composer supports all Windows/Linux Unicode Tibetan Fonts.

Restrictions

It seems that the current version (CS5) of the Adobe World-Ready Composer does not handle correctly the OpenType element CCMP, which is used in a number of Tibetan fonts e.g. for handling of double vowel signs (like in oM, ཨོཾ). This is surprising, since the other composers do handle this correctly. So when using the World-Ready Composer with fonts that use CCMP, some glyphs might need to be fixed manually.

Compatibility

The World-ready composer was introduced with Adobe Indesign CS4, and enhanced in CS5.

Versions of Adobe Indesign CS3 and older do not support the World-Ready Composer and require external plug-ins for Tibetan support.

Notes

The techniques discussed here should also work with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

References

  1. How to configure the Chinese Indesign version for Tibetan script at AtlasWu's Observer: http://www.atlaswu.com/blog/2010/10/22/%E5%A6%82%E4%BD%95%E5%9C%A8-adobe-indesign-cs5-%E4%B8%AD%E6%96%87%E7%89%88%E4%B8%AD%E7%B7%A8%E6%8E%92%E8%97%8F%E6%96%87/
  2. See Indesign CS5 Scripting Tutorial, p.6

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