Using Dzongkha in Open Office

What is Open Office ? is a free and open source (FOSS) office application suite developed by Sun Microsystems and others which has features equivalent to Microsoft® Office and other commercial office application suites. Since it can open and save documents in Microsoft Office formats, it can be fully interoperable with Microsoft Office. is free software with no licence fees, and so you may download and install it on as many PCs as you like, and use it for any purpose - private, educational, government, public, or commercial. It therefore offers an opportunity for all organisations to save money on software purchases while ensuring they are able to use high quality, up-to-date and fully licensed software. is certified by OSI as open-standard compliant, and it uses the OASIS OpenDocument Format (ISO 26300) as its native file format.

The Utility of this software for Dzongkha was the first Word Processing and office application to offer native support for Dzongkha. Dzongkha support was added to the application suite in large part due to the efforts of developers from the DIT's Application Division as part of their Dzongkha Linux Project. and its derivitives are still the only office suites with native support for Dzongkha. The DIT is also currently fully localising for Dzongkha - which means it will soon be available with a complete Dzongkha language interface including all menus and help files in Dzongkha.

Downloading and Installing Open Office

Installing support for Dzongkha in Windows XP

To properly use Dzongkha in OpenOffice Windows XP users must first enable support for complex scripts and then update Windows Uniscribe (usp10.dll) to a version with support for Dzongkha script.
See: Enabling Dzongkha support on Windows XP

This step is not necessary when using OpenOffice under Windows Vista or Linux.


Download and install OpenOffice

When you download and install a new version of OpenOffice, it replaces any older versions of OpenOffice on your system and you keep all your personal OpenOffice files from the earlier version.

Downloading OpenOffice can take 3 or more hours on a good dial-up connection and sometimes much longer if the server is busy or your connection poor. So if you only have a dial-up connection try to obtain a copy on CD. This should be available free of charge or for a minimal amount from any good IT supplier.

One source we like is They have OpenOffice 2.3 for $0.99 (US) plus $1.50 (US) shipping

The following are the steps used to download and install 2.3.1:

Connect to the Internet.

    On the Internet, replace the http:// address with (The Address Box is the wide, flat box that contains the address that starts with http://.) (To replace the address, click anywhere on the address then type Press Enter. (The " Home" page" appears.)

    Click on the green "get version 2.3.1" box. ("Get" appears on your screen)

    Click on the green box that has the words Download Click on your operating system. For this tutorial we will click Windows. IF you want to make a donation, click Donate Funds. To download, click the green Continue To Download.

    In the small window "OOo-2_3_1_Win32Intel_Install_wJR", click Save File. (You can watch the downloading progress on your screen)

    When the download is complete, close all windows so you see the desktop.

    On your desktop, open the "OOo_2.3.1 _Win32Intel_install_wJRE_en-USA.exe" file. (To open, click on the OOo_2.3.1_Win32Intel_install_wJRE_en-USA icon > right-click  >  Open.) (The "Thank you for downloading 2.3.1" window appears.)

    Click Next. (The "Select Folder" window appears) Click Unpack. (The "Welcome to the Installation Wizard for OpenOffice.org2.3" window appears) You will get a message to wait. When available, click Next

    Scroll down to read the license. Select "I accept the terms in the license agreement". Click Next.

    Enter a User name. (normally your name.) Under "Install this application for:", select Either "Anyone who uses this computer (all users)" Or "Only for me". Click Next.

    "Complete" installation is already selected. Click Next.

    Under “File Types: Select the file types that 2.3. will automatically open. There are 3 choices (Microsoft Word Documents, Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets, and Microsoft Power Point Presentations.)

    IF a check-mark IS NOT placed in the boxes, Microsoft Office will be used to open a Microsoft Office document.

    IF a check-mark IS placed in the boxes, OpenOffice will open Microsoft files into the OpenOffice file format. Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office can still open your Microsoft files into the Microsoft file format. More information is available in our tutorial "Microsoft Word files". (Click here if you would like to see that tutorial now. To get back to this tutorial, use your browser button .)

    Click Next. Click Install. Wait until you get a message that the installation is completed. Click Finish.

    To start OpenOffice, click Start > All Programs > OpenOffice 2.3 > Writer. The "Welcome to 2.3" window appears. Click Next. Click Scroll Down. Click Accept.

    Some people enter a First name and a Last name. Some people in a corporation environment do not enter their name. Check Next. (The "Online Update" window appears. "Check for updates automatically" has been selected and can be changed) Next (The " Registration" window appears)

    Many users register, however, you can freely use OpenOffice without registering. For this tutorial select "I want to register now". Click Finish. A User Survey will appear on the screen. (You may have to delete "Untitled1 - Writer" to see the survey.) Look at the survey and then decide if you want to do the survey.

Enabling Complex Text Layout (CTL) within OpenOffice

Choose: Tools - Options - Language Settings - Languages…


  • User interface: Default.
  • Locale setting : choose "Dzongkha" if you want automatic dates and page numbers in Dzongkha script, - otherwise keep your own locale.
  • Decimal separator key: - Same as locale setting or may be changed.
  • Default currency: allows you to specify the default currency that is used for the currency format and the currency fields. Default is same as the locale setting so you may want to change this.
  • Default languages for documents:
    • Western: English (UK) - or whatever you want
    • CTL: Dzongkha ('Tibetan' not yet an available choice)
  • Enabled for Asian languages: - here you can activate support for 'Asian' (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) languages if you want to.
  • Enabled for complex text layout (CTL): - Activates complex text layout support - essential for Tibetan script, Devanagri etc.

Next, Choose: Tools - Options - Language Settings - Complex Text Layout…


  • Use Sequence checking: If Sequence Input Checking (SIC) is enabled, will not allow a character next to another if this is forbidden by a rule.
    • Restricted: Prevents the use as well as the printing of illegal character combinations.
  • Cursor control: Used to select the type of text cursor movement and text selection for mixed text (right-to-left mixed with left-to-right text direction) - this is for use with scripts such as Arabic.
    • Logical: The text cursor moves to the text end with Arrow Right and to the text begin with Arrow Left.
    • Visual: The text cursor moves to the right with Arrow Right and to the left with Arrow Left.

Setting default fonts for Dzongkha text

Choose: Tools - Options - Writer - Basic Fonts (CTL)…


Here you should type-in or select the names of OpenType / Unicode Dzongkha fonts for all options. These settings do not affect your default fonts for Latin script text and only apply when you enter Dzongkha Unicode characters in a document.

  • Basic fonts:
    • Default: CTL font to be used for the Default Paragraph Style. Can be overridden by explicitly defining another font in a Style used for paragraphs.
    • Size: Specifies the size of the font.
    • Heading: Specifies the CTL font to be used for headings.
    • List: Specifies the CTL font for lists and numbering and all derived styles.
    • Caption: CTL font used for the captions of images and tables.
    • Index: CTL font used for indexes, alphabetical indexes, and tables of contents.
  • Current document only: If you check this the settings will only apply to the current document. If you often work with Dzongkha, you should leave this option un-checked.
  • Default button: If you click this button the values visible in the dialog box will be set back to installation values. You probably don't want to do this!

The Utility of Writer for Dzongkha Writer (version 2.1 and above) works very well for Tibetan script.

  • Line breaks occur after a tsek character - not in the middle of a syllable.
  • Switching between Tibetan script and Roman fonts is automatic - depending on characters typed.
  • Lists of Tibetan or Dzongkha words can be automatically sorted in dictionary order.
  • Tibetan digits can be used in fields (automatic page numbering, numbered lists & headings, and in dates etc.)


Collation (sorting) of Dzongkha lists or tables in dictionary order works in OOorg 2.1x however there was a external link: bug which caused Dzongkha collation not work properly in OOorg versions 2.2x and 2.3x. This has now been rectified in OO version 2.4.

External Links