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Monday, August 20, 2001

Gurmukhi support for Office XP

USERS of the latest version of Microsoft Office program, XP, will be able to use Indian languages, including Gurumukhi, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Marathi, Konkani and Gujarati. The software has been enabled in these languages as a result of which the entire experience, including the menus, is in the specified language.

Launching the Indian languages version of Office XP last week, the Union Minister for Information and Technology, Mr Parmod Mahajan, said the product would take the IT revolution beyond the seven crore English-speaking Indians to the more than 50 crore who are literate in Indian languages. Mahajan was speaking at a function organised by Microsoft at Delhi in which the entire theme was Indian —down to the kurta-pyjama-wearing Microsoft top brass.


The software supports multiple keyboards including phonetic and Remington that would make it popular among users who know typing in vernacular languages as well as those who would prefer to type in English.

All this software language effort is in Unicode, a broad industry-wide initiative that seeks to standardise Indian language fonts.

Mahajan also called for voice support that would enable users to bypass the keyboard. The latest Office has such support, though it is not yet available for Indian languages.

A new proofing tool kit that provide spell checks for all supported Indian languages was also released. It is priced at Rs 3,800.

A team of 120 developers worked on the project for over two years at Redmond, USA. They worked closely with organisations like NCST, Web Duniya and Modular Infotech. Some 500 special Indian templates have been created for the product. This came in for criticism from the Minister who wondered aloud whether there would be anybody who would need so many and that it would have cost a lot of money to create these in the first place. Present on the occasion were Rajiv Kaul, Managing Director, Microsoft India and Rajiv Nayar, President, Microsoft India.