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Posted: 2/17/14
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Unicode Polytonic Greek Keyboard Map

Here are instructions for typing in Unicode Polytonic Greek. This will enable you to create Greek documents, web sites, and emails which most current browsers will display properly. It also will allow you to change Unicode fonts without any confusion of characters.

1. Installation of Greek language and keyboard

2. Typing in Unicode Greek

3. Other (lesser) Options



1. Installation of mutlilanguage support and keyboard layout for Greek

All operating systems are not created equal. Currently Appel's Mac has a notable edge for typing polytonic Greek in Unicode when comparing their normal accenting systems. Mac operating systems allow for multiple dead key combinations (select breathing, select accent, select subscript and then finally select a letter) and Windows systems only allow for a single dead key. The result is that windows has a key for each possible accent, breather and subscript combination. However, I have created a remedy keyboard for Windows systems called EZAccent and have it freely available for you below (as long as this site remains the only place to download it - I may find some slight improvement tweaks in the future and down want multiple versions completing with each other.) I have not yet figured out how to do the same thing for Mac's but its native system seems sufficient. The following is how to step up a Greek polytonic keyboard on each of these systems.

Windows 7, Vista, and XP -

Download John Schwandt's EZAccent Keyboard EZAccent.zip
  1. Double click EZAccent.zip and then save the zip file to your local machine.
  2. Once you have the file on your machine (probably in your downloads folder), double click it to browse the files inside it.
  3. Double click on the setup file to install the keyboard.
  4. You will see a confirmation window once the keyboard is installed.
  5. You now can type in Greek. Simply press Alt+Shift to switch between English and Greek keyboards and make sure that you are using a unicode font like Palatino Linotype, Minion Pro, Gentium etc. See Greek Font Links and Downloads for a list of free Unicode fonts and where to get more.
  6. Please read my instruction document (Greek_Polytonic_Easy_Accent_Instructions.pdf) explaining how the keyboard works. There is a quick summary below in the Typing in Unicode Greek section.

Mac Lion & Snow Leopard-

  1. Click on the apple symbol in the the upper left of tool bar.
  2. On the drop-down menu select System Preferences.
  3. In the "system preferences" window that will open, click on the Language & Text icon.
  4. In the "Language & Text" window that will open, click on the Input Sources button/tab.
  5. Select the Greek Polytonic checkbox.
    1. Make sure the "keyboard & character viewer" box is checked as well.
    2. Make sure the "Show input menu in menu bar" box (in the lower right of the window) is checked.
  6. Close the windows and now you should see a US flag in your menu bar (upper right).
  7. Click on the flag to see a drop down menu with a Greek flag.
    1. Select the Greek flag to switch your keyboard to a Greek Unicode keyboard.
    2. Click on the keyboard viewer to see which keys produce which letters and accents (Pressing shift changes the contents of the viewer). Further down on this web page are tips for typing in Greek.

Mac (older operating system) OS X Tiger

  1. Click on the apple symbol in the the upper left of tool bar.
  2. On the drop-down menu select System Preferences.
  3. In the "system preferences" window that will open, click on the International icon.
  4. In the "Language & Text" window that will open, click on the Input Menu button/tab.
  5. Select the Greek Polytonic checkbox.
    1. Make sure the "Show input menu in menu bar" box (in the lower left of the window) is checked.
  6. Close the windows and now you should see a US flag in your menu bar (upper right).
  7. Click on the flag to see a drop down menu with a Greek flag.
    1. Select the Greek flag to switch your keyboard to a Greek Unicode keyboard.
    2. Click on the keyboard viewer to see which keys produce which letters and accents (Pressing shift changes the contents of the viewer). Further down on this web page are tips for typing in Greek.

 

2. Typing in Unicode Greek

After adding Greek to your operating system and installing the keyboard you are ready to start typing in Greek Polytonic Unicode. Note: Always make sure that your font is a font that supports polytonic Greek Unicode characters. If you are sending an email or publishing on the web, the most widely available polytonic Greek Unicode font is Palatino Linotype. Remember if you send an email or write a web page with a font that their viewer doesn't have, it won't display properly. Hear a couple ways of typing in Greek polytonic Unicode.

Windows EZAccent Polytonic Greek Keyboard -

If you have any Windows operating system I hope you have chosen to use my (John Schwandt's) EZAccent Windows keyboard. I have found that is the easiest system for typing all of the diacritical marks while typing Greek. It runs within your operating system so you can use in anywhere in your system (in any program). If you want a letter to have a breathing mark simply type 'q' first for your smooth breather and 'Q' for your rough breather. If you want to accent a letter (evening after selecting a breathing mark) simply remember that shift + your vowel is the acute, alt+ctrl (or right alt) + your vowel is the grave, and all three shift+alt+ctrl (or shift+right alt) + your vowel makes the circumflex. I explain the iota subscript combinations in the instruction document. I also have pictures of the keyboard layout there.

I think this is the most effortless system for typing in Greek since you select the accenting at the same time as the vowel rather than before it. It also uses the Greek national keyboard layout for the location for all of the letters. The only downside that in Microsoft Word there are a few shift states that Microsoft decided to use as hot-keys (which should have been reserved for foreign language keyboards). You can disable these in Word if the program attempts to do something other than type a character. (That is what I did and now can't remember what they were.) If you find any of these to disable (you can accent correctly in other applications like Facebook but not Word), please let me know so I can add this list and instructions for Word to the instruction document.

Remember take a look at the instruction document for all of the details and pictures of how the keyboard works.

Mac Polytonic Greek Keyboard -

There are a number of ways to type accents and breathers with the Mac keyboard. Some involve memorizing a long list of keys with all of the various accenting combinations like Windows symbols. I prefer simply learning one key for each accent type and then typing any number of them before the letter that you wish to accent. Why not use the advantages of your Mac?

This is what I do.

  1. Type the quote mark for a smooth breather and the shift plus this key with yield a rough breather.
  2. Type the colon for an acute accent (FYI the shift plus this key will yield a dieresis but this isn't used frequently.)
  3. Type the right bracket ] for a grave (FYI the shift plus this key yields the same thing.)
  4. Type the left bracket [ for a circumflex and the shift plus this key with yield a iota subscript .

Those four keys can be used in any combination to produce any combination of additional symbols on over your Greek characters. Remember to select your accents before your vowel.

 

3. Other (lesser) Keyboard Options

Native Microsoft Polytonic Greek Keyboard -

This is keyboard is awkward to use, but it works in most applications, especially Microsoft programs. To do this click on the "EN" in your bottom tool bar and switch your keyboard to "EL" (Greek). Often times ALT-SHIFT is a default hot key combination to do this. Now you should be typing in Greek according to this keyboard map.

The following is a list of key combinations to type in Unicode Greek using an English keyboard. It might differ between different keyboards.

ά type ;a

ὰ type ]a

ᾶ type [a

ἀ type 'a

ἁ type "a

ἄ type /a

ἅ type ?a

ἂ type \a

ἃ type |a

ἆ type =a

ἇ type +a

ᾳ type {a

ᾀ type {ctrl} {alt} ;a

ᾲ type {ctrl} {alt} ]a

ᾷ type {ctrl} {alt} [a

Setup instructions for Windows 7
  1. Click Start, click Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click on Clock, Language and Region.
  3. Click on Change keyboards and other input methods.
  4. A window will appear. Click the Change Keyboards button.
  5. A window will appear with three tabs. The "general" tab is the that is open by default. Click the Add button.
  6. You will see a list of keyboards based on languages. Scroll down and click on Greek, and then select Greek Polytonic keyboard.
  7. Click OK. You can now switch between typing in Greek (with accents) and English (when you are using a Unicode font). (You can see graphics of the Greek keyboard layouts below on this website.)
Windows XP-
  1. Go into the control panel
    1. In the Windows XP standard Start menu, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    2. In the Windows XP classic Start menu, click Start, click Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Regional and Language Options.
  3. Click the Languages tab, and then click Details under "Text Services and Input Languages".
  4. Click Add under "Installed Services", and then click Greek Polytonic to add and the keyboard layout for the language.
  5. To configure the settings for the Language bar, click Language Bar under "Preferences".
(Keyman Greek Keyboard):

There is a shell program that is easier to use than the native keyboard, but is a secondary program that runs in addition to Windows. The accenting is far more intuitive than the native Window polytonic Greek symbols, but some of the characters are different than the ethnic Greek keyboard. You type the accent or breathing after a vowel and only need to learn the location of five accent keys instead of fourteen (above). If you want a circumflex with a breather, click the circumflex key then the breathing key. You can watch the accented letter change before your eyes. If you click the wrong accent, simply click the proper one without having to delete. The accents change as you type them. This is very handy. In order to get a final sigma you have to download the Classical Greek keyboard by Mauel Lopez. The only problems that I have experienced is using with some non Microsoft programs like Word Perfect. Click here to go to the keyman site to download the program. This is the keyboard layout map for Keyman.

Other Options (Unitype):

This is a program for typing Unicode in Microsoft XP/2000 Software. There is a free demo available. Here is the link: http://www.unitype.com/

There is also a web page that allows one to type in Greek Unicode. You can right click on the page and click "view source". Then copy all and save it as an HTM page that you can run from your desktop rather than using it online. Here is the link: http://www.users.ox.ac.uk/~tay|0010/letters_caretpos2.htm

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