In this first part, a Devanagari keyboard is selected and viewers are taught how to easily switch between keyboards.
In this second part we look at a few Hindi fonts and also learn some of the most important keystrokes for typing in Hindi using the "Devanagari - QWERTY" keyboard.
In this video we learn how to use Nisus Writer Pro to type in Hindi.
Last Updated: May 31, 2021
Typing in Devanāgarī (the Hindi script) on your Mac computer is simple to set up and relatively easy to master. Here I'll walk you through how to enable a Devanāgarī keyboard layout, how to conveniently switch between keyboards, and finally what software to use for writing in Hindi. The following instructions have been written according to macOS Big Sur (version 11.4). If you are running an older operating system, the steps may be slightly different.
Enable a Devanagari Keyboard
- Go to System Preferences
- Click on Keyboard
- Navigate to the Input Sources tab
- Click on the + sign
- Scroll down in the list of languages and select Hindi
- Highlight Devanagari - QWERTY and then click on Add
- You're done!
You'll notice that on step 6 it gives you three different keyboard layout options:
- Devanagari - QWERTY
- Hindi (A→अ)
The "Hindi" option potentially allows you to type faster in Hindi once you've invested the time to learn its layout. "Devanagari - QWERTY" is basically phonetic and so it allows you to start typing in Hindi with some degree of fluency from the get-go. "Hindi (A→अ)" requires you to write in Roman letters while the system guesses what word you're trying to write in Hindi (and it gives you several options). Overall, I would recommend starting with "Devanagari - QWERTY."
Create a System for Easily Switching Keyboards
- Back on the Input Sources tab of Keyboard within System Preferences, make sure the box that says, "Show Input menu in menu bar" is checked
- Now click on the Shortcuts tab
- Within the left-hand box, click on Input Sources
- Check the box that says, "Select the previous input source"
- Now within the left-hand box, click on Spotlight
- Uncheck the box that says, "Show Spotlight search"
You can now easily switch between your English and Hindi keyboards. On your system menu bar (the very top of your screen) you should now see a flag associated with the language of the keyboard you're currently using (e.g. it'll be an American flag if you're running American English). To switch the keyboard to Hindi, you can left click on that flag and choose your Hindi keyboard (e.g. क Devanagari - QWERTY). Alternatively, you can simply press 'command' and 'space bar' together to swap back and forth.
Use the Keyboard Viewer
The macOS in-built Keyboard Viewer is the best way to quickly learn the Hindi keyboard you've installed. To see the Keyboard Viewer:
- Click on the language icon in the upper tray (e.g. the American flag if you're currently using American English)
- Select "Show Keyboard Viewer"
- You can resize the Keyboard Viewer by dragging its corners
- It'll show you all the possible keystrokes for whatever language you're currently using
Software to Use for Typing in Hindi
All of the built-in programs within your operating system (macOS) will support typing in Hindi. This means that you can freely switch into Hindi as you're composing an email in Mail, you could make a Hindi note in Stickies, Notes, or Reminders, or type in Hindi within any input field when you're surfing the web.
You can also use the in-built TextEdit and/or Apple Pages to create documents in Hindi and these programs will allow you to format your text however you'd like.
However, if you're looking for something more powerful and especially if you want to combine the Hindi and Urdu scripts in a single document, Nisus Writer Pro is my option of choice. It's a premium software solution for word processing and it's especially capable when working with multiple languages. It allows me to smoothly write in English, Hindi and Urdu within single documents, using a wide range of formatting.
To make the font Devanagari MT (which is quite good and comes with your operating system) the default within Nisus Writer Pro, you can do the following:
- Within Preferences, go to Languages
- Input your chosen Hindi font in Secondary Font (including the font size)
- Within "Switch Font," choose "Switch to secondary font"
- Check the box "Also switch font size"
- For Keyboard, choose "Switch to chosen keyboard" and then select your preferred Hindi keyboard from the dropdown
Next, in order to take advantages of the Nisus Writer Pro settings above, we need to create a way to switch between English and Hindi within Nisus Writer Pro. While you can still switch between languages using the system-wide shortcut (e.g. command + space), the automatic font style and size won't work within Nisus Writer Pro when you switch languages that way. Instead, we need to install what's called a Macro. You can download the macro you need here. Once you've downloaded the Macro, follow these steps:
- Unzip the file
- In Nisus Writer Pro, go to the Macro menu and then choose "Add Macro to Menu from File"
- Once installed, go to Preferences and then Menu Keys
- Assign shortcuts for "Cycle Language Next" and for "Cycle Language Previous" (personally, I like to use command + . (period) and command + , (comma)
Putting It All Together
Assuming you've enabled the Devanagari - QWERTY keyboard, you'll find that it's fairly intuitive but there are a few idiosyncrasies to learn.
Typing most consonants is straightforward. To type ग you simply type "g." If you want an aspirated घ, you type "shift+g" (the shift key adds aspiration to a consonant).
Most of the independent vowels are typed using the option key. For example, to produce independent इ, type option+i. To make it the long ई, type shift+option+i.
Finally, you can type conjunct consonants using the "f" key, which is used to stop the inherent अ of a consonant. To type the word हिन्दी, for example, type the following:
As you're getting the hang of it, I'd recommend enabling Show Keyboard Viewer. Now you're on your way!