Date: prev next · Thread: first prev next last
2013 Archives by date, by thread · List index


To type and save documents in both Thai and English, which I do quite
successfully with LibreOffice and several other products, you need to
understand a few things that aren't at all obvious from the documentation.
At the end, I'll suggest an easy way to handle multi-lingual documents.

Since your difficulty is with LibreOffice Writer, let's start there. and
look at a couple things:

Open a new blank document. First, go to Format | Character and take a look
at the Font tab. In the top section, titled "Western text font" you will see
the font that is currently active.

The next two sections ("Asian text font" and "CTL font") are key to
understand what's going on.

If your base font (the one listed in the top section) is NOT a Unicode font,
or if it is a Unicode font that doesn't contain Thai characters, you will
see the font that LibreOffice - in a not always successful attempt to be
helpful - uses as substitutes when you type in a particular character.

What happens, therefore, is that Libre Writer gives you the impression that
all is wonderful even though it is doing substitutions behind your back. In
itself a good thing, but sometimes leads to confusion.

It also isn't very clear that "Asian text font" is NOT what you use for your
Thai substitutions. Aside from the fact that Thai is actually an
Indo-European language, the "Asian text font" section seems to be only
applicable to languages that use ideographs (i.e. little pictures) even if
they have alphabetic characters. It also relates to languages that are
written vertically, although I'm not too sure about that as I don't speak
Chinese, Korean, Japanese and similar languages.

Now look at the "CTL font" section. What you want to do is to pick a font
that you know supports Thai, and choose it in the "CTL font" section as a
substitute. The font is listed first, then the size stuff, and then under
Language, you would choose Thai to indicate which group of characters within
the font are to be used.

A CTL font is what's used for substitutions when you are using an "Input
Method" to type on the keyboard. Since there are several of these in use
it's hard to tell you anything specific, but you've probably already solved
that, since I presume you do some typing in English, hit some switch
command, type a little Thai, then use the switch command to get back to

By the way, the default you will often see under CTL font is one of the
Hindi fonts (I presume because of Thai's ancient relation to Indian
languages) - in Ubuntu, for instance, it is almost always "Lohit Hindi" - a
font that is part of the Ubuntu installation.

I used Format | Character as an example to make the explanation more clear;
obviously there are similar settings in various Paragraph and Style settings
as well, and they all work the same.

BUT - if you want to make things really simple, you could simply use a font
that has both English and Thai characters present, so no substitutions need
to take place. Unfortunately there isn't a great variety of really good
looking fonts (I'll list some below), but the advantage is that there are no
substitutions, and the font sizes are matched more closely than would be the
case with two different fonts. This is a matter of taste of course,
particularly with balancing Thai and English, since Thai nees room above and
below the characters for the various superscript and subscript vowels, tone
marks, and such things. (these same issues are not unique to Thai of course
- you'll run into them in both Hebrew and Arabic for instance).

So, here are my (so far) favorite combination fonts for easily mixing Thai
and English in the same document:

Free Serif (Serif)
Gentium Basic (Serif)
Gentium Book (Serif)
Norasi (Serif)
Kinnari (Serif)
Linux Libertine (developed for Linux, but works in Win)
Linux Biolinium (ditto)
Sawasdee  (go figure...) (light Sans Serif)
Droid Sans Thai (Sans Serif)
Garuda (Sans Serif)
Loma (Sans Serif)
Umpush (Sans Serif)
Waree (Sans Serif)
Purisa (informal handwriting style)
Tlwg Typist (mono typewriter)

Obviously if there are others who use both Thai and English, I'd be
interested in any of your favorite fonts.

As for moving your document to other machines, Libre Office now has the
ability in some versions to embed the fonts in the document file itself, but
I'm not sure if all versions and all platforms can utilize the embedded
fonts yet. (can anyone help here???)

I hope this helps you in your search.

-- Frank

View this message in context:
Sent from the Users mailing list archive at

To unsubscribe e-mail to:
Posting guidelines + more:
List archive:
All messages sent to this list will be publicly archived and cannot be deleted


Privacy Policy | Impressum (Legal Info) | Copyright information: Unless otherwise specified, all text and images on this website are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. This does not include the source code of LibreOffice, which is licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPLv2). "LibreOffice" and "The Document Foundation" are registered trademarks of their corresponding registered owners or are in actual use as trademarks in one or more countries. Their respective logos and icons are also subject to international copyright laws. Use thereof is explained in our trademark policy.