Use of Macros in Microsoft Word for Gujarati Typing

When using non-Unicode fonts, the biggest frustration is typing conjucts because they can't be mapped on regular keys. Hence, we end up using ANSI codes to type such characters. However, Microsoft Word allows using macros to insert these special characters. I have created macros for Microsoft Word 2003, 2007, and 2010 that works with Harikrishna-like fonts, such as Ghanshyam, Nil, Sarjudas, etc.

Microsoft Word 2003 Toolbars

Microsoft Word includes the ability to record or write macros, which are scripts used to run frequently-used tasks. These scripts can be assigned to buttons. Word 2003 uses the traditional toolbars with buttons. I created macro buttons that are assigned to the conjuncts, half forms, and some punctuations that require ANSI codes. Each button image was drawn pixel-by-pixel in a 16x16 grid. Image 1 shows the 3 toolbars for half forms, conjuncts, and punctuations.

Image 1: Gujarati Toolbars in Word 2003
Gujarati Toolbars for Word 2003

Once the macros are created and the buttons are assigned to the macros, the default Word template called will have been modified with the toolbar changes. It can be copied elsewhere and be used to replace the default on other computer. The default template is found in "%userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates" folder in Windows XP and "%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates" folder in Vista and 7.

Microsoft Word 2007 Tab

With Word 2007, the Ribbon interface was even more versatile albeit much more difficult to customize. However, the effort was worth the benefit. I created a Gujarati Tab, which not only includes the buttons for conjuncts, half forms, and punctuations, but also font-selection drop-down, special glyphs, and KeySavers.

Image 2: Gujarati Tab in Word 2007
Gujarati Tab for Word 2007

As with Word 2003, once the Ribbon UI was modified, one can save the template and replace the default one on other computers.

If you want to learn how to customize the Office 2007 Ribbon UI, follow my guide here: Modify Office 2007's Ribbon UI.

Benefit of such macros are apparent. One doesn't need to carry sheets of codes for these special characters.

Again, these fonts are not recognized at the system level. Fortunately, Unicode fonts do away with having to use code sheets.

To learn more about the Gujarati Tab, see my pages here: The Gujarati and Uniocde Tabs. I have also provided downloads of the Word 2003 Gujarati Toolbars and Word 2007 Gujarati Tab for use with Harikrishna and Nilkanth type fonts.

Non-Unicode to Unicode Conversion

Text in Unicode format is searchable. It may be worthwhile to convert non-Unicode text to Unicode text. The Gujarati and Unicode tabs that I created (see above) includes a macro that converts non-Unicode text in Harikrishna-like fonts to Unicode text. I have also created an online program that converts text written in Harikrishna-like fonts to Unicode text. You can find the converter here: Harikrishna to Unicode Text Conversion.

An interesting project for converting non-Unicode to Unicode is the Padma project. They offer a great extension for Firefox that converts sites that use non-Unicode characters to Unicode characters. A great example of this is Gujarat Samachar news site. This site uses Gopika.ttf font, a non-Unicode font. This site renders some alien characters that hinders reading in Firefox. After installing Padma extension, the conversion to the Unicode font Shruti is flawless.