Windows’ global reach expands with Universal Shaping Engine for language scripts

With Windows 10, Windows moves forward in becoming a truly global product with the help of a Universal Shaping Engine used for complex text layout, which is needed for about half of the world’s writing systems. Systems now supported using this engine in Windows 10 include Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Mongolian and Sundanese.

Microsoft Typography has been publishing specifications for its shaping engines for years so that font developers and other platforms can build compatible systems. By publishing the technical details for the Universal Shaping Engine, Microsoft Typography helps font developers understand how to create fonts for the world’s complex scripts so that they will display correctly on Windows 10.

In order to get a complex script to render correctly on Windows, linguists and software engineers had to study all of the features and requirements of that script and craft a shaping engine that would provide the necessary support. The Unicode Standard has made progress in defining and setting standards for how all of the world’s writing systems should be supported in the digital era. The most recent version of Unicode includes 125 different writing systems, 56 of which need shaping support.

A Microsoft team worked with experts from the Unicode Technical Committee to make sure that all of the necessary research to shape each script is made available in a machine-readable format, and that this data will be kept up-to-date when new scripts are added to the standard. This approach makes it easy for Windows to keep current with the latest version of Unicode.

This new engine is part of Windows 10, so if you want to type in Balinese or Tirhuta, or any of the other complex scripts included in Unicode 7.0, the shaping support is there and will keep up with Unicode as each new writing system is added to the standard. Font developers and language communities can now take advantage of this support.

Head over to Blogging Windows to get all the details on the Universal Shaping Engine.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff