The Tibetan Machine font is a True Type font for Windows, created by Tony Duff of the external link: Tibetan Computer Company. The font consists of five True Type font files. These font files use a single byte ASCII encoding with the capability to hold 256 characters. As there are over 1,000 glyphs needed to represent Tibetan in a digital environment, a single ASCII font is not enough. Thus, it is necessary to use multiple font files to fully display Tibetan script. In the Tibetan Machine font the common Tibetan glyphs are contained in the first font file, while the remaining four files contain unusual stacks used to transliterate Sanskrit and the less-common punctuation marks.
The Tibetan Machine font was designed on a Windows platform and uses the ASCII codes above 126. However, some of these higher codes that are available in Windows are reserved in other operating systems such as the Mac OS. Therefore, Tibetan encoded in this font cannot be transferred between platforms. Furthermore, some browsers have difficulty displaying the higher encodings, which prevents this font from being web-viable.
The Tibetan Machine font was subsequently made freely available to the public, under a general public license, through the support of the external link: Trace Foundation. Due to this, Tony Duff with the help of the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library was able to create a cross-platform, web-viable Tibetan font called Tibet Machine Web. Both fonts are available for download from this site. However, neither is Unicode-compatible, and thus these are not used extensively at present. However, for those who prefer the Tibet Machine look, fortunately there is a new and well done Unicode Tibetan font available that uses the same typefaces - see Tibetan Machine Uni.
Documentation for Tibetan Machine
The description of Tibetan Machine's character set is found within the detailed documentation for Tibetan! 5.1, the Tibetan text editor developed by the font's creator, Tony Duff. While much of the material in the documentation for Tibetan! 5.1 is specific to that program, it also includes a general description of Tibetan fonts as well as an appendix (Appendix III) with all the technical information, needed by developers. This appendix includes both a chart of glyphs in each of the ten font files as well as a separate chart giving a list of glyph names, their Tibetan character, their ASCII encodings, and the encodings for the complete range of combining vowels associated with each character. Because of the extensive nature of this documentation, it has been included here as a separate download for those with a desire to learn more about Tibetan fonts and/or developers who need to know the font's technical specifications. This documentation is a PDF file that can be either viewed over the internet or downloaded onto one's computer. In either case, the Tibetan Machine font must be installed on one's computer to view the documentation file properly!