Pango is the core text and font handling library in the GNOME platform. It is responsible for laying out and rendering text, and is used throughout GTK+.

The Pango layout engine can be used with different font backends and drawing backends. On most GNOME systems, Pango will use FreeType, fontconfig, and Cairo to access fonts and render text. On other systems, Pango will use the native font systems, such as Uniscribe on Microsoft Windows and ATSUI on MacOS

Pango has extensive support for the various writing systems used throughout the world. Many of the writing systems used for languages have complex rules for laying out glyphs and composing characters. With Pango, nearly all languages can be written and displayed correctly, allowing users everywhere to view text in their native languages. Pango's support for multiple writing systems is automatic; application developers do not have to write any special code to support other languages.

Pango supports the kind of text styling used in typical documents and interfaces, including italics, font weights, and underlines. Pango uses a simple XML-like vocabulary called PangoMarkup which enables you to set font size, color, styles, and other text attributes. Using PangoMarkup, you can specify inline styles without manually iterating over text blocks. PangoMarkup can be used directly from GTK+, enabling you to style text in your graphical interfaces easily.

You should use Pango directly whenever you need to lay text out on the screen or on a different medium. Using Pango will allow your text layout to work seamlessly with GTK+ and the rest of the GNOME platform. It will help you create portable code, and most importantly, it will ensure that your application can render text correctly in hundreds of different languages.