Bengali input methods
Bengali input methods refer to different systems developed to type Bengali language characters using a typewriter or a computer keyboard.
Fixed computer layouts
With the advent of graphical user interfaces and word processing in the 1980s, a number of computer typing systems for Bengali were created. Most of these were originally based on Apple Macintosh systems.
Bangla Jatiyo (National) (জাতীয় Jatiyo) Keyboard layout developed by Bangladesh Computer Council, is currently the most popular layout and is addressed as the standard layout. This layout is widely used as official layout in Bangladesh.
This keyboard layout is designed in order to type all the indic scripts with a uniform layout on computer. This layout is officially accepted by Microsoft Corporation and is provided by default in their Windows operating system. This layout is mainly popular in India.
প্রভাত Probhat is a free Unicode-based Bengali fixed layout. Probhat is included in almost all Linux OS(s). Its key mapping is similar to Phonetic pattern but typing method is fully Fixed.
Ananda Computers, owned by Mustafa Jabbar marketed the Bijoy (বিজয়) keyboard layout in 1988. This is the most popular keyboard layout in Bangladesh. Bijoy is a proprietary, ASCII-Unicode based Bengali input software and requires purchase of a license to use on every computer.
Phonetic computer layouts
Akkhor অক্ষর ôkkhôr Bangla Software, developed by Khan Md. Anwarus Salam, was first released on 1 January 2003 for free. Akkhor implemented first Bengali transliteration system for Bengali. The free Unicode/ANSI-based Akkhor Keyboard has support for Akkhor Phonetic, National (Jatiyo) fixed keyboard layouts. Akkhor also provided customization feature for designing fixed keyboard layouts. It provides Keyboard Manager which works system wide and also provide independent Akkhor Word processor.
Avro Keyboard (অভ্র কী-বোর্ড), developed by Mehdi Hasan Khan, was first released on 26 March 2003 for free. It facilitates both fixed and phonetic layouts. Avro phonetic allows a user to write Bengali by typing the phonetic formation of the words in English language keyboards. It is the most popular and widely used Bengali input system especially by the diaspora who do not have access to a physical Bengali keyboard.
Avro is available as a native IME on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux distributions. It is shipped as the default Bengali input method of Firefox OS. On April 2010, the Avro Keyboard faced a conflict with Bijoy.
Google Bengali Transliteration
Microsoft Bengali Transliteration
Bangla-অঙ্কুর (onkur), developed by S. M. Raiyan Kabir, was first released on 30 March 2011 as an open source software. It facilitates only phonetic typing in Macintosh platform. Bangla-onkur phonetic allows a user to write Bengali by typing the phonetic formation of the words in English language keyboards. This is the first phonetic input method developed for Mac OS X.
This is an m17n library which provides the Saon Bengali input method for touch typing in Bengali on Linux systems and the project was registered by its creator, Saoni at SourceForge.net on 8 July 2012. This free and open source IM is Unicode 6.1 compliant in terms of both normalization and number of keystrokes used to input a single character. Saon Bengali enables touch typing so if a user can type in English, they won't have to look at the keyboard to type in Saon Bengali. It is also phonetic and has something in common with all Bengali phonetic layouts making the transition smooth for new users. As of Jul 2012 it not yet a part of the m17n-contrib which allows installation of all m17n contribbed libraries through Linux's software channels and it may be too early to say whether it will be incorporated. This depends firstly on its author and then if it is offered to m17n then probably on m17n. The m17n IM engine currently works with IBus inter alia on Linux. The copyright notice on Saon says, "You can redistribute this and/or modify it under the GNU LGPL 2.1 or later"
Mobile phone layouts
There is also software for users for typing Bengali on mobile phones and smartphones.
Ridmik Keyboard (রিদ্মিক কীবোর্ড), is the input system with advanced UI and also most popular input system for Android users. Users can type in Bengali (in Unijoy (ইউনিজয়), Avro (অভ্র) and National (জাতীয়) layouts), phonetic Bengali and English using this keyboard. It also comes with lots of smileys. Features like Cut, Copy, Paste by long pressing on X, C, V are unique.
Mayabi Bangla Keyboard (মায়াবী) is the first on-screen Bengali soft keyboard for Android platform with phonetic support released on March 18, 2011. This is first version of Mayabi Bengali K TVeyboard with phonetic input support only. Later on new version Mayabi Keyboard released on October 29, 2011 with both phonetic input support and fixed keyboard layout. The fixed keyboard layout was made after lot of analysis on frequency of character appearance in Bengali scripts. Most frequent characters are placed on normal (non-shifted) layout and remaining others placed on shifted key layout that people can write fast with less key presses. Bengali word dictionary with almost 250000 words of most frequent words from Bengali scripts included with the keyboard as well for word prediction. This keyboard is widely accepted by the Android users and Internet community.
Google Indic Keyboard
Google Indic Keyboard is an Android keyboard that supports several Indic languages, including Bengali. It offers a handwriting input method and a Latin letter transliteration layout, as well as a traditional Bengali keyboard.
- "Google Transliteration". google.com. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Microsoft Indic Language Input Tool". Microsoft. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- "Bangla is my life". Bangla-অঙ্কুর.
- "Saon". SourceForge.
- "Google Indic Keyboard". Google Play Store. Google, Inc. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Shahid Lipi
- Akkhor Bangla Software
- Avro layout
- Mayabi keyboard lite
- Mayabi keyboard