Posted on Mar 20, 2011

Type Malayalam on Mac OS X: Phonetically, Naturally

From the time I moved on the Mac, I have been rather upset with not having access to a good interface to type Malayalam on, though the reading problems were more or less solved by the excellent instructions on I really missed Mozhi Keyman, and Google transliteration was not a very good replacement, as text had to be copied from the browser every time.

So, I was excited to hear from Harold James of Workers Forum about the new transliteration service, KeyMagic, and the Malayalam phonetic keymap for Keymagic created by Junaid. Junaid has created Malayalam keymaps, for both the phonetic scheme Mozhi and the native keyboard layout Inscript, to work with Keymagic, and he has a packaged installer for Windows.

It was sufficient to add Junaid’s keymap files to the OSX IME package published by the Keymagic team, to make Malayalam typing possible on my Mac. The packaged app is available for download here.

To install, just follow the instructions below:

1. Copy to ~/Library/Input Methods.

2. Log out and log in again (or just restart).

3. Open System Preferences, go to Language and Text, and enable KeyMagic in the Input Sources tab.

4. Check the option Show input menu in the menu bar.

To type in Malayalam:

1. On the menu bar, click on the input menu and select KeyMagic as the current input source.

2. The input menu on the menu bar now shows the options Malayalam-Mozhi and Malayalam-Inscript. Select Malayalam-Mozhi for phonetic typing, and  Malayalam-Inscript for the Inscript keyboard layout (the one used by CDAC LEAP/GIST software).

I just tested this on Snow Leopard, but it should work on Leopard and Tiger as well, by following the installation instructions given along with the OS X installer on KeyMagic site (download).

അപ്പോ, തൊടങ്ങ്വല്ലേ  മാക്കിൽ മലയാളം ടൈപ്പിംഗ്?


  • Junaid says:

    Thank you Faisal for packing it for Mac, I am unable to do it for Mac since I have no experience with and no access on Mac systems.

  • hi faisal,
    i just tried keymagic for mac just now.
    i was really waiting for that… hope many mac users also … 🙂
    but when i tried to check it,
    all the installation is simple and woks nice.
    but the letters are showing in a different way.
    may be my problem.
    i am attaching a screenshot with this link.

    I didint installed any malayalam unicode fonts when i tried keymagic first time.
    then some squares came instead of letters
    so i installed following fonts.

    (i dont know how many of these are unicode. but anjalioldlipi, meera, thoolika are unicode, i think)

    then started typing
    many letters are showing ok. but ven combinations are thre, it shows problem.

    also want to know if there is any shortcut key to toggle between english and malayalam as in windows (ctrl+M).

    • Faisal Siyavudeen says:

      Hi Ajay,

      Thanks for trying it out. Are you able to read Malayalam blogs well? I guess not.

      AnjaliOldLipi, Meera etc. does not work well on Mac, as explained in the Mac section of the following article.

      Please uninstall all the current fonts and install Rachana for Mac ( as given in that article. This would enable you to view Malayalam properly on Mac. With KeyMagic installed, the writing issue should also be solved.

      Do let me know after you try. I have tried this only on Snow Leopard, I assume you are running the same.

      അപ്പോ ശരി, ശുഭാശംസകൾ. 🙂


      • Hi Faisal…
        Junaid told me about “RachanaMac” font.
        I just download and tried again.
        Now typing Malayalam is almost OK.
        But while typing some problems are there. I will inform those to you later.
        The last screenshot is here.
        Also I can name folder and files in malayalam!
        So my suggestion at this moment is, please include “Rachana Mac” inside the dowload folder.
        So users can easily install it too.

        I did not try reading malayalam page so far. I will check and inform you.
        Also in the “HowToInstall.txt” file you provided, there is a line:

        3. Open System Preferences, go to Language and Text, and enable KeyMagic in the Input Sources tab.

        I think it is,

        3. Open “System Preferences”, go to “international”, go to “input menu” tab and enable KeyMagic.

        Also earlier I just asked you about the shortcut key combination to toggle between Malayalam and English and think to go the apple way!
        ie. Open “System Preferences”, go to “Keyboard&Mouse”, go to “keyboard shortcuts” tab and enable Input Menu.
        so that we can ⌘+space to toggle input menu by default.


        • Hi Ajay,

          The screenshot is not available – I am getting the message “Sorry, the page (or document) you have requested is not available”.

          It is good to know that you are able to type Malayalam well now. Do let me know the what issues you face, we can at least document it. 🙂

          I will include Rachana Mac and instructions in the download as you suggested. Or better still, it would be great if an installer could be written that will do all this dirty work.

          ‘International’ was the name of the option in earlier versions of Mac, I guess. With Snow Leopard, it is ‘Language and Text’.

          And yes, you can configure the keyboard shortcut as you said. In Snow Leopard, there is an option for this in System Preference -> Language and Text -> Input Sources.


  • Shiju Alex says:

    See this site also for malayalam mac font.

    Faisal, could you please send me a mail at shijualexonline AT gmail DOT Com

  • unmesh says:

    ഞാൻ ഇതു ടൈപ്പ് ചെയ്യുന്നത് മാക് കീമാജിക് ഉപയോഗിച്ചാണ്. നന്ദി. വരമൊഴി ഓൺലൈനിൽ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്ന ഒരു പ്രശ്നം ഇതിലും ഉണ്ട്. Ctl+C, Ctl+V ഉപയോഗിക്കാൻ പറ്റുന്നില്ല. വരമൊഴിയിൽ അതു ശരിയാക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.
    ഒരിക്കൽക്കൂടെ നന്ദി.

    • നന്ദി, ഉന്മേഷ്.

      Cmd ഉപയോഗിച്ചുള്ള കോഡുകൾ TextEdit-ലും Word-ലും എല്ലാം ശരിയായി വരുന്നുണ്ട്. ബ്രൗസറിൽ ടൈപ്പ് ചെയ്യുമ്പോൾ മാത്രമാണ് പ്രശ്നം എന്നു തോന്നുന്നു. ശരിയാക്കാൻ പറ്റുമോ എന്നു നോക്കാം.

  • Dinesh says:

    hi faisal,
    this is my mac
    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
    Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
    SMC Version (system): 1.7f10
    I installed Key magic but the nput menu on the menu bar doesn’t show the options Malayalam-Mozhi and Malayalam-Inscript to select. what wud i do? pls help.

  • Hi Dinesh,

    DId you follow the instructions exactly as given in my blog post?

    1. Where did you pick up Keymagic from? Did you pick it ip from Keymagic site or the link given in my post?
    2. Did you restart after copying KeyMagic to ~/Library/Input Methods?
    3. Did you enable KeyMagic in System Preferences -> Language and Text -> Input Sources?
    4. What is your Mac OS X version?


  • സിബു says:

    വളരെ നല്ല കാര്യം. ചില പ്രശ്നങ്ങളുള്ളതു കൂടി തീർക്കാനാകുമോ?

    1) സമ്രാട്ട് – samraatt
    2) ഞങ്ങൾ – njangal. ‘nga’ and ‘nja’ at the word beginning does not need to double but in the middle of a word it can double. It will be really convenient for the user.
    3) I need separate output for ‘vaalmeeki’, ‘vaal_meeki’, ‘vaal~meeki’ (വാല്മീകി, വാൽ‍മീകി, വാല്‌മീകി) which I cannot do now. ‘lm’ need to be conjunct; ‘l_m’ need the chillu; ‘l~m’ should have ZWNJ (\u200C) after the virama ‘\u0D4D’.

    If the rule system is capable, I am happy to edit the rule file for you.

  • Ajith says:

    വളരെ നന്ദി, സുഹ്രുത്തുക്കളേ!