Install urdu fonts in Linux (Ubuntu & openSUSE)

UPDATE (28-05-2013): For geo urdu site, please refer to this comment below: http://anl4u.com/blog/install-urdu-fonts-in-linux-ubuntu-opensuse/#comment-902792743

UPDATE(11-02-2013): In the past, crulp.org was having down time issues, and now one of the commenter said that the site domain has expired. Keeping that in mind, from now on both of the fonts will be available to download from our server. So users have no need to go to sites mentioned below to download the fonts. Download it from here, password to extract the archive is ‘anl4u.com‘ without quotes. Thanks to Muhammad for reporting this.

Ok, this was not that easy stuff if you don’t know how to do it and where to find it. I mean 1st fonts, then installation or copying to the right directories. Websites like bbcurdu.com and urdupoint.com are common Urdu news sites which i am sure most of the Urdu reading surfers will surf for the latest news and articles. These two websites use different fonts rendering system for browsers like Firefox and Chrome. I am not using any Urdu keyboard here and not using translation for the whole system, its just how to read Urdu websites in Linux, this tutorial is just for installing fonts system wide for browsers in Linux not a language pack etc. I will focus on two distros at the moment, Ubuntu and openSUSE. Ubuntu 9.04,9.10 and openSUSE 11.2(KDE4.4.3) will be used for the installation with Firefox 3.6.3, Firefox 3.0.19, Chrome 6.0.400.0. If you are on 10.04(Ubuntu), you can install it there also by the mentioned way below.

Update(15-01-2012): This solution also works for Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10,11.04 openSUSE 11.3, 11.4, 12.1.

Before going further to discuss the installation, we need to download these fonts:

1- NafeesWeb.ttf (For urdupoint.com etc)
Go to this web page, [Link is DEAD]
Download the file with this title ‘Font with MS VOLT project source‘. Unzip it in the directory where it is downloaded. Until here we are done with this font.

2- asunaskh.ttf (For bbcurdu.com etc)
Download directly from this site, http://www.quran.or.kr/urdu/font/asunaskh.ttf

So lets start from openSUSE, the easy one which will make your life easier.
1- Open ‘Personal Settings(Configure desktop)‘ and click on ‘Font Installer
2- Click on ‘Add‘ button and navigate to the fonts where you downloaded it.
3- It will ask for three options like: Personal, System, Cancel. Which means you want to install it just for this user or system wide for all. I went for System to install it system wide for other users too. It will ask for the root password upon installation.
4- Repeat step 2 and 3 for the 2nd font.
5- Restart your browser and there you go.

Easy i would say!

Now its turn for Ubuntu. Here also have two types of installation/copying, one is system wide and another is user specific.
Method-1 (User specific):
1- You are not much familiar with this terminal thing?, so lets do it the easy way then. Go to your home directory like my case /home/mian. You can use nautilus for this. Click on Places -> Computer and then navigate to your home directory.
2- Now click on ‘View‘ in the menu and check ‘Show hidden files‘. Alternatively you can use Ctrl+h, just press and hold Ctrl and press h.
3- Search for folder .fonts, is it there?, if yes then no worries. Ohh..is not there?.. don’t worry, lets create it, right click and create a directory with name without quotes ‘.fonts‘. (Note the point before fonts, don’t be confused. It’s dot with fonts, so that it becomes .fonts).
4- Now copy the fonts from the downloaded directory and paste it in .fonts directory.
5- Now a little bit terminal thing, but don’t worry its not rocket science. Just open terminal and type this.

sudo fc-cache -vf

If ask for the password, enter your password.
6- You are done, restart the browsers and check the websites.

Method-2 (System wide):

1- In this case, we will use terminal, but will be just two commands to get you these fonts working. Open terminal and type this:

gksudo nautilus

Enter your password to proceed.
2- Now go to this directory, /usr/share/fonts/truetype and create a folder named ‘urdu‘ without quotes, and paste fonts here from the downloaded directory. Close this window now.
3- Now in the terminal, run this command:

sudo fc-cache -vf

4- Done, restart Firefox or Chrome or other browser and navigate to your favorite Urdu site.

I haven’t tested this on new release of Ubuntu 10.04. I have to give it a try later.

Here are the two working examples in the form of snapshots for urdupoint and bbcurdu after font installation:

BBC urdu site

UrduPoint site

So now your fonts are installed and working. Enjoy reading and surfing these sites.
Good luck with it!

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

    I used to be in Mandriva camp and I never had any problems with Urdu websites, word or scrbd documents, etc.

    Now I Have switched over to OpenSuse 11.2 due to their better implementation of KDE and better availability of packages and management through YAST.

    Coming to my PROBLEM.

    I have installed at least different 9 Urdu fonts from Jameel Noori Nastaleeq to Tughari and few others including two Arabic fonts and two mentioned by you above but still, some websites are not appearing correctly:

    For example, this Scribd document:

    Link is deleted by Scribd

    It is appearing as (see screen shot, just in case it is appearing correctly at your end)

    Broken Link

    Do I need to install some other pack for Urdu support? Any help will be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  • http://anl4u.com/blog Admin

    Hi,
    There are many Urdu fonts around, different sites uses different fonts. To be more specific to your problem, i have found this link which mention some fonts for the site you mentioned. Download the fonts, i am not sure from where you can get it. Google is your friend, and install it the way written in the above post. Hope it will help.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for responding – but are you sure it’s not an issue with OpenSuse? Because I just ended up migrating my Thunderbird from Mandriva 2010 to Suse 11.2, the emails that I had in Urdu Jameel Noorie was being shown in the same manner as I gave screen shot in my post above.

    In addition to this, could it be a problem of encoding?

    Thanks for your time again.

  • Anonymous

    Update:

    I spent my whole day searching and install various Urdu fonts – now I have at least 20 different Urdu and about 6 Arabic fonts installed. The display is still the same as in the screen shot link given in my post above.

    Based on my experience with Suse 11.2 is that, it has no match for Urdu support that it is there in Mandriva 2010. Although SuSe is good in some things but Mandriva is more better in some areas.

    Cheers!

  • http://anl4u.com/blog Admin

    Actually browser specific fonts are not distro related issue. Fonts are rendered separately for browser than OS itself. I am pretty sure this is not openSUSE related problem. If that fonts are working in Mandriva, you can copy and use it in openSUSE, give it a shot.
    Regards

  • http://ashfaqshinwary.wordpress.com/ Ashfaq

    Great job! Worked perfectly!

  • A Saleem Sajid

    Thanks.
    I installed the fonts in /usr/share/truetype as advised
    But the display is same with many empty boxes for urdu bbc

    I use ubuntu 10.04 lts i386

  • http://anl4u.com/blog Admin

    Salam Sajid,

    I am pretty sure, it will work with no issue. But i feel that you are missing some thing in the steps. Try to repeat the steps carefully and restart the browser.

    P.s: Also make sure that the fonts are copied correctly and are the correct fonts needed by the site.

    If this did not solve it, you can take screen shots of the site, fonts copied to specified directory, terminal output etc and post the links for the screen shots here, so that i can help you.

    Good luck!

  • A Saleem Sajid

    Yes it worked after I rebooted

    Thanks

  • Muhammad

    The crulp.org website is down as the domain has expired. Can you attach the fonts with your post for us?

    Thank you!

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      Thanks for reporting this. We have uploaded the fonts to our server. Please read the update in the post.

  • Ali Raja

    hey guys what is the prosedure for linuxmint 14

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      You can give the Ubuntu method a try, as mint is based on Ubuntu. I haven’t tested it in mint by the way.

  • Muhammad Haseeb Nasir

    is there any way to add Jameel Noori Nastaleeq Urdu Fonts in ubuntu?

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      You can install it the way like others fonts above in the article.

  • Haisum Bhatti

    thanks for this guide. I followed it, fonts on urdupoint and bbcurdu work great now. However, fonts on http://urdu.geo.tv/ don’t. Any suggestions for making that work too?

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      The font mentioned on get.tv urdu site does not work well in Linux(as far as i tested it). The only way to find the solution is to contact geo tech team(if they have any).

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      Just found a solution to this. Download the fonts from the following site, and unzip it. Copy the fonts to .fonts dir in your home dir. If .fonts dir is not there, create that dir and paste the fonts there. Refresh geo website and all will be good this time.
      http://urdu.ca/1

      • Aamir

        Thanks a lot for your help.
        The fonts from urdu.ca/1 solve the problem of FaceBook.

        • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

          Glad to hear that.

  • Bilal

    Hi Admin,

    I have Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal. Mostly Urdu sites i.e urdupoint, bbc urdu, renders urdu font nicely except Facebook .. Do i need some special font ????

    • http://anl4u.com/ Admin

      Hi Bilal,

      The problem is most of the sites use different fonts for Urdu language. I am sure Facebook is using some thing else to render it. Any sample or link i can look at?

  • Zubair

    Brother mere pas linux install hay is per bbc urdu to theek hi hay per Facebook Urdu Theek nhi prhi ja rhi??