As the Internet, computers and other digital devices gain influence and market in Cambodia, it will become increasingly important to have access to Khmer fonts. Fortunately, free downloads of Khmer fonts are not difficult to find. While you'll need to adjust your QWERTY keyboard to use one, high-quality Khmer fonts are just a click away.
Where to Find No-Cost Khmer Font Downloads
There are a number of reliable resources where you can download Khmer fonts without having to pay a fee. A few of the best font repositories include:
- U+Fonts:Download a variety of different styles of the Khmer font at U+Fonts.
- SBBIC.org: This site offers a zip file of "every known Khmer fonts" on its website.
- The Cambodian Information Center: Download free download Khmer fonts at their website.
Font Download Cautions
It's important to be aware that there are risks associated with downloading free fonts, including the potential for exposure to computer viruses. There's also always a chance that a website owner is providing no-cost downloads of a font that he or she is actually distributing illegally. Limit your downloads to reputable websites and make sure that you have current virus and malware applications installed on your computer before attempting to download.
Using Khmer Fonts
The Khmer fonts were adapted to the QWERTY keyboard layout by putting characters up in each corner of each key. There are particular difficulties in creating Khmer words on the computer, as the language consists of clusters of words, not of characters. Today you can actually order keyboard overlays from companies that use the common KHEK layout for Khmer-capable computers.
KHEK is not necessarily a standard. Other Khmer fonts have also been created, such as the Limon Font and the Zero-Space Font. In Cambodia, the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority (NIDA) along with the Khmer Software Initiative has developed an open source initiative to let all Unicode-based fonts work with the Khmer language.
Khmer Unicode currently works with the following applications:
- Windows 7
- Windows XP (Khmer Unicode Keyboard driver required)
- Open Office
- Open SUSE (a Linux based operating system)
- Khmer Email App (based off of the popular Thunderbird email application)
- Mehkala Web Browser (based on Firefox)
Installing the Font
Once you have downloaded a Khmer font and have made certain that you have what you need to deal with the challenges of using it, you will need to install it on your computer.
Installing in Windows XP
- Click to open "Fonts" folder in the "Control Panel"
- Click on "Install New Font" in the "File" menu
- Choose the drive you desire
- Double-click the folder you need in the "Folders" file
- Click on the font you want
- Click "OK"
Installing in Windows Vista
- Open Control Panel
- Select "Fonts" under "Appearance and Personalization"
- Click on the Fonts icon
- You'll be given the option to add or remove fonts from your system
- Right click inside this folder
- Select "add fonts"
- A pop-up box will appear that lists installed fonts in your system folder
- Browse in "Drives" folder for the location where you downloaded your new font files
- Click "Install"
Installing in Windows 7
- Click "Start"
- Open "Control Panel"
- Click "Appearance and Personalization"
- Click and drag the font file you want to install
- Drop it into the "Fonts Control Panel"
- Click "Fonts"
- If an error message appears, see if the font file is compressed
Installing in Mac
- Open the Finder and browse to the location where you stored your new font files
- Select the font files that you'd like to install
- Drag the font files over to the Font folder (located inside the Library folder)
Installing in Ubuntu (Linux)
- Move the font files into "/usr/share/fonts" ( the system fonts folder)
- If the folder is invisible, you may need to include a "." in front of it: "/.fonts"
The Khmer script dates back to 611 AD and contains 33 consonants. Professor Gerald Difflot and Sokhoum Khek developed the first Khmer font for the computer in 1984. It was designed for the Apple Macintosh computer because of the advantages of Apple's computer structure over the IBM computers of the time.