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Tamil99 Keyboard Help

Keyboard © 2008, 2015, 2018-2020 and SIL International

Download this documentation in PDF format.


This keyboard is designed for the Tamil language, and uses the Tamil 99 standard which has been officially approved by the regional government of Tamil Nadu. Typing follows a consonant-vowel pattern, and the Tamil characters are arranged to make typing simple and fast for users who are familiar with the script. It is designed for use with a normal QWERTY (English) keyboard.

Most computers will automatically download a special font if needed to display this language correctly.

Click here to see other keyboard layouts for Tamil.

Using this Keyboard

Keyboard Layout


This keyboard layout was designed for ease of typing. Characters are arranged on the keyboard according to how frequently they are used. Grantha letters, which are used for typing Sanskrit, are typed using the [S*] key. Short and long vowels appear next to each other. For example, (q key) is above (a key) , and (x key) is beside (c key). Characters which normally appear together are also close together on the keyboard.

Most of the characters used in Tamil are combinations of consonants and vowels, and these do not appear on the keyboard. Combined consonant-vowel characters are entered by typing the consonant, then the vowel. To enter ஙா, which is a combination of and , type b then q, and the combinant character will automatically be displayed. Pressing Backspace once will delete only the vowel component, so the character displayed on the screen will change back to , and change again if a different vowel is typed.


Keyboard Details

This keyboard uses a consonant-vowel order for text input, so the consonant character is always typed before the vowel, regardless of where (relative to the consonant) the vowel marker symbol appears. As syllables are typed, the characters entered are automatically converted to the appropriate consonant-vowel combinant. While only the combinant characters are displayed on screen, the consonant and vowel are both stored, so that pressing Backspace once after a combinant deletes only the vowel component. This means it is necessary to press Backspace twice to delete a combinant character. However, pressing the Delete key with the cursor in front of a combinant character removes the whole character with one keystroke.

The full keyboard layout consists of the twelve vowels அ ஆ இ ஈ உ ஊ எ ஏ ஐ ஒ ஓ ஔ, the eighteen consonants க ங ச ஞ ட ண த ந ப ம ய ர ல வ ழ ள ற ன, the five Grantha consonants ஸ ஷ ஜ ஹ க்ஷ, the SRii consonant ஸ்ரீ, and the Pulli and Aytham marks.

Pulli Marks and Vowels

Because the consonants contain the implicit vowel , to produce a pure consonant it is necessary to add the Pulli mark by typing a lower case f immediately after the consonant. Typing the same consonant twice in a row will also convert the first consonant to a consonant-Pulli combinant. This automatic conversion is then disabled, so that typing the same consonant a third time will not produce a Pulli mark on the second consonant. Thus typing the same consonant repeatedly results in Pulli marks on the first, third, fifth and so on: க்கக்கக்கக்க

Similarly, tying a soft consonant followed by the corresponding hard consonant automatically produces a Pulli mark on the first consonant: ங்க

The first vowel is implicit in the consonants, so typing this vowel after a consonant will not display the vowel or change the consonant to a combinant. However, this does de-link the consonant from the next keystroke, so that typing another vowel will result in that vowel being displayed independently, rather than combining with the consonant. This also prevents the Pulli mark being entered.

In general, typing a vowel after anything other than a consonant produces an independent vowel.

The SRii Character

This character is entered by typing T. Currently, some browsers do not display this character correctly. Click here if you are having difficulty entering this character.

Keystroke Examples

Note: for a complete table of characters and keystrokes, click here.

The following table gives specific examples of how to input characters based on the consonant . The Grantha consonants, which are entered with [S*] key combinations, use the same input method. Examples of these with the consonant are also given below.

Tamil Consonants Grantha Consonants
ConsonantVowel/PulliCombinantKeystrokes ConsonantVowel/PulliCombinantKeystrokes
க்hf ஜ்Ef
க‍ha ஜ‍Ea
காhq ஜாEq
கிhs ஜிEs
கீhw ஜீEw
குhd ஜுEd
கூhe ஜூEe
கெhg ஜெEg
கேht ஜேEt
கைhr ஜைEr
கொhc ஜொEc
கோhx ஜோEx
கௌhz ஜௌEz

Other Characters

Apart from the Grantha consonants, several other characters are also typed using the [S*] key. These include: Character


















The caret mark (6) is used to produce various other characters, such as the glyphs used as vowel modifiers. These can be produced by typing the caret mark ^ and then the corresponding vowel. Other characters typed in combination with ^ are given in the table on the right: Character












Using Tamil keyboards with Word 2007

Sometimes when using Word 2007, the Pulli mark is not suppressed correctly. For example:

Key sequenceCorrect outputWord output
க + அ + கககக்க
க + க + க+ க க்கக்க க்க்க்க

The easiest ways to deal with this are to move the cursor and press Backspace to delete the unwanted Pulli mark, or else enable the Text Services Framework Add-In if you are using Keyman Desktop Professional. Disabling Tamil language editing in Microsoft Office Language Settings will also correct the input behaviour, but this is not recommended, as it makes selection of fonts more difficult.


Some of the fonts included with Windows do not include all the Tamil characters that are available with this keyboard. In order to display every character correctly, we recommend you download and install Tamil fonts.

If the characters you type or those on the On Screen Keyboard do not appear to display correctly, please read the KeymanWeb troubleshooting guide.

Problem Solving

If the preceding consonant does not change to a vowel-consonant combinant character when you type a vowel, confirm that you have not typed a Pulli mark , which identifies the consonant as a pure consonant, or the first vowel அ, which identifies the consonant as the implicit-vowel consonant. Typing either of these after a consonant will prevent that consonant from changing to a combinant character.

Technical Information

System Requirements

It is recommended that you use an English QWERTY hardware keyboard with this keyboard.

Unicode Version

This keyboard complies with Unicode 5.1

Keyboard Authorship

This keyboard was created by Mugunth (, Umar ( and K. Sethu ( For more information about keyboards produced by these developers, see Tavultesoft gratefully acknowledges the contribution made by the authors in developing this keyboard and making it freely available for use with Keyman Desktop and KeymanWeb. Their effort assists in enabling people to communicate in their own language.

Copyright and Terms of Use

The Tamil99 Keyboard for Keyman Desktop and KeymanWeb is Copyright 2008, 2015, 2018-2020 and SIL International. It may be freely distributed and used, but must not be modified or adapted in any way without written permission from Tavultesoft.

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