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  • The Jaghbub font package

    This is a set of fonts for use in Middle Eastern languages transliterated to the Latin script. They have the most common diacritics used in transliteration of Arabic and Persian in various transliteration / transcription formats. The fonts are modifications of standard Times, Helvetica and Palatino, and will print on any printer in a quality similar to those fonts.

    A sample of the Jaghbub font:

    There are three TrueType fonts in the normal range of Roman, Bold, Italics and BoldItalics. They are:

    In the following the complete set is described as the "Jaghbub package". The three fonts share the same characters, so that a text written in one of them can be changed to any other of the three with all diacritics intact.

    The font package follows the standard called Unicode. This is a standard shared with Windows, so it makes exchanging documents with Windows users easy, and they can also be mixed with other Unicode fonts. The fonts can be used in all Mac OS X programs that support Unicode, such as Microsoft Word & Office, NisusWriter, Mail, TextEdit, and most other current programs.

    Along with the font package follows a "keyboard layout" that allows you to type transliteration in a relatively logical fashion (type "alt-s" to get s with dot under, "alt-a" for a with line above, etc.) It is not essential for using the fonts, but makes it more convenient.


    The fonts are packaged in the following files:


    The files are packed as .zip files, and should open directly into a folder.

    Install the fonts using either FontBook or by placing them in their appropriate Fonts folder.
    All the keyboard layouts you wish to install (with extensions ".keylayout" and ".icns) go into the Keyboard Layouts folder inside your Library folder (you must log off and on again, then go to International, to activate the keyboards. (In System 10.7 "Lion" or higher, the Library folder is hidden: Hold down the Option key while pressing the Go menu, the Library will then appear in the menu).

    In the above package, the normal, bold, italics etc. are separate files, which is the standard for both Mac and Windows these days. We have also the fonts packaged in the older Mac format of "suitcases". These are the same three fonts as above, but unified into one file for each font. However, a number of modern applications have problems with suitcase files, so we recommend installing the separated files linked above.

    For more details, see the ReadMe files of each package - more on making the Library menu visible is here.

    What the package contains:

    The fonts contain these characters:

    • The standard A-Z character set and normal European diacritics, unchanged from the origin font. Thus these fonts may be used for normal non-tranliteration texts as well.
    • SDTHZ with dot under (all in upper and lower case)
    • DT with line under
    • G with dot above
    • GSCZ with caron (small v above)
    • Yumushak G (= g with breve; curve above)
    • H with curly line below (for German translit. of kh)
    • AIUEO with macron (line above)
    • Dotless i / Dotted I
    • Y with circonflex
    • Hamza
    • 'Ain
    • Schwa (upside-down e)
    Additionally, these combining diacritics may be used with any character:
    • Dot below
    • Dot above (low position for lower case, high for upper case letters)
    • Macron (low / high)
    • Non-width accent aigu / grave (low / high)
    • Caron
    • Cedille
    • Two dots below
    • Line under
    JaghbUni also has k/dot under, and hooked b, d and k for Hausa-Fulani. They contain the full Latin1 character set.

    The "combining diacritics" are simply characters without spacing. In Microsoft Word and some other programs, their placement under / above another character will be approximate and often off-centre. There, it is thus advisable to use the complete characters above for optimal quality. NisusWriter, TextEdit and many other programs will however combine these characters more appropriately than Word.

    (See also the enclosed table showing the Jaghbub diacritics with the Arabic characters they may correspond to.)


    Jaghbub and Windows

    These fonts were originally made for Macintosh, but are suited to both Mac and Windows. The keyboards on this site are however for Mac only. For convenient typing of transliteration, Windows users should find a method to their liking; see a separate page on this that includes some information relevant to this:
    Typing diacritic characters


    Classic Jaghbub

    Some older programmes cannot use modern Unicode fonts, thus e.g. versions of Microsoft Word older than 2004. For these, there exist older pre-Unicode versions of these fonts, see the separate web page for these:
    Jaghbub Classic


    These fonts are provided free from all restrictions in both directions: anyone may use them to whatever purpose s/he wants (short of selling them!), and I take no responsibilty for them -- they are presented "as is".

    Caveats and restrictions

    Notice that I say the fonts are "based" on Times etc. They are in print quality identical to their origin fonts, within the limits of the font generation programs. Very discerning eyes may notice that one font is marginally thicker, or spaced just a bit tighter or looser than the origin font. An absolute copy is probably today impossible, but the difference between Jaghbub and Times are of the same order as the difference between Times and Times New Roman. On the whole, the diacritic and origin fonts may thus be used interchangeably.

    One difference I have noticed, is that Word, in particular, gives less line spacing for these fonts than for the original versions. This is not in the font file, the leading there is set to be identical to the original fonts, but something Word does. If you are going to mix these fonts and the originals in Word, you should be aware of this and set the line spacing manually.

    Helvetica does not have a separate italic style, only boldface, thus Bairut and BairUni are only Roman and Bold. The styles of the three fonts are "merged", so that only the basic font name appear in the Fonts menu, not "Jaghbub Italics" etc. Choosing the Italic style in your word processor will select the italics printer font (if your program supports this).

    Older versions of StuffIt Expander have problems with zip files. If you find e.g. that the folder you downloaded appears to be empty, upgrade StuffIt Expander to version 9 or higher.

    What do the names mean? I made these fonts originally for my own use, when I was writing on the Sanusiyya brotherhood. Mac fonts often use city names, and the Sanusi capital was the oasis of Jaghbub in Libya; later the brotherhood moved to Kufra (a font name must have six letters, so "Koufra"). Why Helvetica became Bairut? Figure it out!

    Postscript files

    These fonts are made in TrueType, which is now standard for Macintosh OS. If you must for some reason have PostScript versions, contact me with details.


    Knut S. Vikør

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