Writing Miao text and the Ahmao font

Many of  the documents appearing in this archive have been written  using Microsoft Word for Windows, specifically the Word97 version. Since most of the characters in the Miao language do not appear in the standard western character sets and do not appear on the standard computer keyboards, it has been necessary to design to two extensions to the standard Word97 - the Ahmao font and the Miao template.

The Ahmao font.

A special TrueType font has been designed which contains all the Miao Intials and all the Finals. The font is call Ahmao. You can download a copy of the font here.

Download Ahmao.ttf
Download Ahmao.fot

In order to use this font you must install the font on your system.

  1. Download the two font files and place them in a conveneient directory
  2. Click on Start, then Setting, then Control Panel
  3. In the Control Panel, double click on Fonts. A window with all the installed fonts will appear.
  4. Click on File and in the drop-down menu, click on Install New Font... The Add Fonts window will appear.
  5. In the Folders box, choose the directory that contains the Ahmao files. Ahmao (True Type) will appear in the List of Fonts. Select this.
  6. Click on OK.
The font will be installed and will appear in all the drop down lists (e.g. in Word or Wordpad).

One way to use this Ahmao font is to install a special Word template called Miao.dot which links the standard Qwerty keyboard to the characters in the Ahmao character set.

The Miao.dot template

The Miao.dot template, written for Microsoft Word97 and later versions, contains special features that allow you to use the standard Qwerty keyboard to type Miao characters using the Ahmao font. You must download the template and install it on your system.

Download Miao.dot

  1. Download the Miao.dot template into a convenient directory.
  2. Copy the template into the Word Templates directory. Usually the Templates directory can be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates
  3. To use the template, start Word and then use File/New. Select Miao.dot
You can tell that the correct template is in use because of the  button in the Word toolbar.

Entering Miao and English text

In order to enter Miao characters you must have a document to which the Miao.dot template has been attached. The simplest way to do this is to Open a New file (click on the File menu, then on New in the drop-down menu and select Miao.dot from the list of templates).

The  on the Word toolbar allows you to switch between typing English characters and typing Miao text using the Ahmao font. For instance, the text below consists of a row of Miao text using the Ahmao font follwed by english text using the Courier New font.

Yuo can tell which font you are using by looking at the font name in the Formatting toolbar.

If the toolbar shows "Times New Roman" then any characters you type will use the Times New Roman font.

If the toolbar shows "Ahmao" then any characters you type will use the Ahmao font.

To get the correct characters using the Ahmao font, you must type upper case letters for the Ahmao Intials, and a combination of lower case letters and the Alt key to get the final correctly positioned.

Typing Initials

With the Ahmao font showing in the toolbar, type and upper case (Shift + alphabetic key) letter to produce the Initial. The table below shows all the Key/Initial combinations.

Typing Finals.

With the Ahmao font showing in the toolbar, type a lower case letter which will appear as a roman letter. To turn this into a character in the Ahmao font, press Alt and 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 to position the final correctly. The table below shows all the Key/Final combinations.

These typing instructions can be downloaded as a Word97 document.

Writing Miao in Pin-yin

It is possible to write Miao text using the standard roman characters. This form of Miao is know as "romanised pin-yin" and the Miao to pin-yin equivalences can be seen here. These eqivalences can also be downloaded as a Word97 document.