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Ethiopic Unicode Support and LaTeX

This section discusses software requirement, installation procedure and configuration. All these are tried and tested with MikTeX, a distribution which is compatible with Windows platform.

Software Requirement

  • MikTeX: The complete MikTeX distribution is about 250MB, but if you have a concern on disk space or download time, you may just get Basic MikTeX which is a much smaller version; about 24MB. If there is a need for extra package, the MikTeX installer is capable of retrieving and installing the needed package given that there is an Internet connection.
  • Unicode support for LaTeX: This package is by Dominique Unruh and already bundled with MikTeX distribution. There is need for separate download, but it is listed here in case if there is a need in your part.
  • Adobe PDF Reader: Needed to display or print TeX files generated by pdftex.
  • Saddis 1.0: Ethiopic Unicode text editor. This is a basic editor capable of saving files in Unicode text, and UTF-8 formats. Sadiss requires the Java Running Environment (JRE) 1.5.0 or better.
  • LeJireT: A readily available package that includes Ethiopic Unicode Truetype font, its TFM and ENC files, and the necessary configuration files.


  • MikTeX: The procedure how to setup and configure MikTeX is available on its official site.
  • Saddis 1.0: You will also find setup instruction at Senamirmir page. You must also install JRE.
  • LeJireT: This package comes compressed in ZIP format in the file and its folder hierarchy is shown below.
                      |      + tfm
                      |      + truetype
                      |      + enc
                      |      + latex
    Follow the instructions below to setup LeJireT and you must do so after MikTeX installation.
    1. Uncompress with its folders hierarchy into a drive where you have installed MikTeX. If you decide to decompress it into another folder, make a note of it for step 4.
    2. Locate the file under the MikTeX folder "/texmf/ttf2tfm/base" and add the following statement at the end of the file.
         jiret@Unicode@   jiret.ttf
    3. Under DOS box, run the mkfntmap utility program from "/ethtex/web2c/" folder. This program updates font mapping configuration files that belong to pdftex.
    4. The last step in this process is to tell MikTeX where the LeJireT folder is and here is how.
      1. Click the Start button, select All Programs, then MikTeX, and finally click on MikTeX Option.
      2. On the open dialogbox, select the Roots tab. Click the Add button and locate and select the ethtex folder. In the list move the ethtex folder all the way up by clicking the Up button. Now, select the General tab and click the Refresh Now button. Finally, click the Ok button and terminate the process. Note: If you make any change in the listed steps above, you may have to repeat this again.

Testing Setup

The usual step after installation or configuration is to check if the system works as it should. In this case, it is even more series since LeJireT's setup involves error prone procedure. To help test the setup, Amharic LaTeX documents are provided and you can find them in ethtexdoc folder. Follow the instruction below.

  • You should be in DOS box or command line environment.
  • Locate the folder ethtexdoc and you will find four or more LaTeX files.
  • Typeset anyone of them using pdflatex

    pdflatex math

    If everything goes well, this produce a PDF document called "math.pdf". At this stage however, if you have installed Small MikTeX, you may be prompted to install missing package which you must do. If you choose Internet as a source, the setup program is capable of downloading and installing the required packages.

  • View the document using PDF Reader and ensure that when you zoom in about 800%, the fonts appear smooth and free of jag. If it appears jagged, then LeJireT's configuration has a problem. You may have to backtrack and repeat the configuration step by step while inspecting possible errors.
  • Warning: The ucs package, even though it seems to work fine with these documents, hyphnation, kerning and ligature may not work properly and these are series drawbacks.
  • Sample documents in PDF format: page.pdf math.pdf article.pdf ethiopia.pdf
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