Indic Language Input

Diwali 2009

If you have tried inputting Indian languages in Windows you know it’s a major pain. That is particularly sad because Windows comes with very good support of Indian languages. I had almost given up using my native language Bengali on a computer due to this. Even when I was creating the About Page for this blog and wanted to have a version in Bengali, I had to cut it short a lot because typing it out was so painful.

There are web-based tools like the Google Transliteration tool that works well for entering text into web-pages where they are integrated (e.g. Orkut). However, I wanted a solution that pans the desktop, so that I can use it for say writing a post using Windows Live Writer.

Enter the Microsoft Indic Language Input tool. Head over to the link and install the desktop version. You can install the various languages individually (currently Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu is supported). I personally installed the Bengali and Hindi versions.

Since I am on Windows 7 which comes pre-installed with Complex language support I needn’t do anything special. However, on older OS like XP you need to do some extra steps which are available through the Getting Started link on that page.

Once you are setup you can keep the Windows Language Bar floating on the desktop. The tool extends the language bar to allow you to enter Indic languages using an English keyboard via transliteration.


Go to the application where you want to enter Indic language and then switch to Bengali (or any of the other 6 supported Indic language) using this language bar. Start typing বেঙ্গলি using English keyboard and the tool will transliterates. The moment you’d hit a word terminator like space it inserts the Bengali word.


I tried some difficult words like কিংকর্তববিমূঢ় and it worked amazingly well


I had a very good experience with the tool. The only issue I faced was that the tool was extremely slow with some WPF apps like Seesmic twitter client. However, I got to know from the dev team that they are aware of the issue (it’s for some specific WPF apps and not WPF in general). I hope they fix it before they RTM (the tool is in Beta).

Tip: You can hit alt+shift to cycle the various languages in the toolbar without having to use your mouse (which is handy if you typing using a mix of languages).

Comments (6)

  1. Pallab says:

    We Bengali users are actually lucky. An awesome solution called Abhro Keyboard has been around for ages. In fact it still works better than Microsoft of Google’s solution. But MS/Google way is definitely more convinient.

  2. Pallab I have used Abhro in the past. In my opinion MS ILIT is far superior. Give it a try and you would agree 🙂

  3. energex says:

    This is an excellent post, I am trying this for my user base.

    For some reason some pages on my application get a lot of hits for help pages in mulitple Indic languages, and this helps.

    My only questions is proof reading the translation.

    Great article!!!!

    I love the picture as well.

  4. Sami says:

    This is a very good software indeed. It’s easier than Avro. However, there are still some improvements to be made. For example, I couldn’t write ৎ (khondo ta) in words like বৃহৎ, চিৎকার etc. Is it a bug or am I missing something?

  5. vasudevg says:

    In this article why mention of "…web-based tools like the Google Transliteration tool.." while the same link of Microsoft Indic Language Input tool provides Web version also besides Desktop ver. I’m using Web ver and I’m liking it. OK, Google web version is OK, but now the MS Indic lang tool for Web also Works well.

    यहाँ पर इसका उदाहरण है !

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