Information Technology

Bamarlay’s experience with Myanmar Unicode 5.1

Bamarlay has started using Myanmar Unicode 5.1. A few days ago, with the recommendation of my father, who is a PHP geek (although he is an old man), I tried using Myanmar3 font and keyboard. After a few days of testing, frustration, error, searching for help, retrying, I finally decided to make a switch to a Myanmar Unicode 5.1 font.

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I used to use Zawgyi-one on my blog as well as to write word documents. I have success and failure. Zawgyi is the only Myanmar font I have ever used, and the only one I know how to type. I cannot type the famous Win fonts and keyboard. A few articles on this blog were written in Zawgyi. However, today, I have decided that it is time to switch to a more advanced and standardized as well as easier system. It is time to change.

Here are my experience and impressions using Myanmar Unicode fonts.

Fonts

There are a few Myanmar Unicode fonts available for free download. The supposedly official Myanmar Unicode font, Myanmar3 is free to download, as well as the keyboard and keyboard layout. Others are Padauk font, Parabaik font and MyMyanmar fonts. Among them, Myanmar3 font is the ugliest and the MyMyanmar font the most beautiful. However, none of them are as beautiful as Zawgyi.

Keyboard

I use the keyman keyboard with Myanmar3 keyboard. At first, it was quite strange to use this keyboard which is quite different from Zawgyi keyboard. However, after a few hours of trying, I found it much much easier to use Myanmar3 keyboard. There are only two position of keys – normal and shift, which is different form Zawgyi which has 4 positions. This means easier to write difficult “Pat-sints” which are so common in Burmese language.

Using with Microsoft word

One of the problems I consistently found when using Zawgyi with Word 2007 is that, whenever I open the word file written in Zawgyi, it only shows boxes. I have to manually change the font every time I open the document. This is quite annoying. More annoying is that when I write the document in more than one Myanmar languages (sometimes I have to write in Burmese and non-Burmese ethnic language in the same document). In that case, I have to manually change line by line whenever I open the word file. With Myanmar Unicode 5.1, it eliminates this problem.

However, the problem is not altogether gone if you use supposedly official Myanmar3 font. I have Zawgyi, Myanmar3, MyMyanmar, Padauk and Parabaik fonts installed. I don’t know why, but Word cannot recognize Myanmar3 if there are other Myanmar Unicode fonts installed. All words written and saved in Myanmar3 are changed into Padauk font whenever I reopen the file. Well, no problem. Padauk is more beautiful than the ugly Myanmar3. And as they all use the same Unicode standard, the words stay the same. Usually, I end up writing and saving in Padauk font rather than the Myanmar3 font.

On the internet

Now, here comes the biggest problem. My current site, Bamarlay, is written in Zawgyi-one (at least a few articles). Most blogs I follow use Zawgyi-one. All my facebook friends use Zawgyi-one. My Firefox and Chrome refuse to show Myanmar Unicode fonts if I have Zawgyi. If I change the default fonts to a Unicode font, I cannot read Zawgyi. That is too frustrating. Moreover, if I write in Myanmar Unicode, none of my online friends will be able to read what I write down. Sucks!

My solution

I now use Myanmar Unicode 5.1 standard font when writing in Microsoft Word. I stick to Zawgyi with my browsers (both Firefox and Chrome). I use Zawgyi-one to write comments in blogs and updates in Face book so that other people can read what I write down.

My Suggestion

Try Myanmar3 keyboard to write in Microsoft Office Word. It is very easy to learn and fun to use. You will definitely fall in love with this keyboard. But use Padauk or other Myanmar Unicode 5.1 standard font. They are more beautiful. Use Zawgyi-one for your online use. If you use Unicode font online, none of the people out there will be able to read what you write down.

For Bamarlay site, I will stop posting in Burmese for a while. If I post any post in Burmese, I will write in both Zawgyi and Myanmar Unicode (two separate articles, more time consuming!).

If you have any experience using Myanmar Unicode font, please share your experience here. Any comments are welcome.

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