Lao Fonts

Why this page?

I'm learning to read Lao, the language spoken in the land-locked country of Laos, South East Asia.

I'm approaching this from a somewhat obtuse angle. I'm a software developer familiar with the Microsoft platform, and have been using Unicode for many years. [Typically Laos! The Unicode has some errors: the consonants are not alphabetically sorted, and some of the letter names are wrong...]

On the web there are pages written in Lao. Unfortunately some do not use Unicode, but other arbitrary encoding. That means I cannot easily copy and paste Lao text I've found into Lao - English dictionaries.

Now there's a way to convert text from these different font coding conventions to Unicode.

Transcoding Tools

I have written 3 web hosted transcoding tools: they perform character translation between various custom fonts and Unicode, and from Unicode back.

Alo <=> Unicode

Alo <=> Saysettha 2000  

Saysettha 2000 <==> Unicode

Now a forth:

SaysetthaLao ==> Unicode


Instructions on setting up and using the transcoding tools are here.

Big Brother Mouse

Do you remember the excitement of rushing home to read the next chapter in a book that you hoped would never end?

Many Lao children have no such memories, because they've never seen a book that was fun or exciting to read. Some have shared textbooks; others have never seen a book at all.

Big Brother Mouse is a Lao-based book publisher that print "books that make literacy fun!"

Several of their books are published on-line. They're especially useful as they have English text alongside Lao. Their Alo font system is described here.

Visit Big Brother and find out more.

A Lao Keyboard

My Lao keyboard driver

An experimental virtual Lao Keyboard

Work in progress...


Ishida's Lao character picker

font grid

Phetsarath OT

Phetsarath OT is a font that's Lao government approved.

Download it here,  Read about the approval here. See it in use here.


TrueType Hinting

The Socio-economic ATLAS of the Lao PDR is an interesting read. It uses the Saysettha 2000 font.

Big Brother Mouse has several PDF files of books using the Alo font. 

KPL news publish stories in Unicode, complete with zero width space word breaks.
(I may not know what's being written - but I do know where the word breaks are!)

WAZU JAPAN's Gallery of Unicode Fonts

Alan Wood’s Unicode Resources - Lao

Experimental JS vector

SEAlang Library Lao 


Standalone Version

Download the standalone version here...

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13th December 2009, [email protected]