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Pango is a library for layout and rendering of text, with an emphasis on internationalization. Pango can be used anywhere that text layout is needed; however, most of the work on Pango so far has been done using the GTK widget toolkit as a test platform. Pango forms the core of text and font handling for GTK.

Pango is designed to be modular; the core Pango layout can be used with different font backends. There are three basic backends, with multiple options for rendering with each.

  • Client-side fonts using the FreeType and FontConfig libraries. Rendering can be with with Cairo or Xft libraries, or directly to an in-memory buffer with no additional libraries.
  • Native fonts on Microsoft Windows. Rendering can be done via Cairo or directly using the native Win32 API.
  • Native fonts on MacOS X with the CoreText framework, rendering via Cairo.

The integration of Pango with Cairo provides a complete solution with high quality text handling and graphics rendering.

As well as the low level layout rendering routines, Pango includes PangoLayout, a high level driver for laying out entire blocks of text, and routines to assist in editing internationalized text.

For more information about Pango, see:


Pango depends on the GLib library; more information about GLib can be found at

To use the Free Software stack backend, Pango depends on the following libraries:

Cairo support depends on the Cairo library. The Cairo backend is the preferred backend to use Pango with and is subject of most of the development in the future. It has the advantage that the same code can be used for display and printing.

We suggest using Pango with Cairo as described above, but you can also do X-specific rendering using the Xft library. The Xft backend uses version 2 of the Xft library to manage client side fonts. Version 2 of Xft is available from You'll need the libXft package, and possibly the libXrender and renderext packages as well. You'll also need FontConfig.

Installation of Pango on Win32 is possible, see README.win32.


Most of the code of Pango is licensed under the terms of the GNU Lesser Public License (LGPL) - see the file COPYING for details.