10 November 2010

Writing Greek & Hebrew on a computer

Writing Greek & Hebrew on a computer


In the old days, a font only had as many characters as a keyboard, so when you made a Hebrew font, the A was Aleph, B was Beth etc.
Now we have Unicode, which is much easier to use, but a little more difficult to implement. This will show you how to install and use Unicode easily on your computer.

Unicode fonts

Tyndale Unicode Kit

Converting older fonts

Changing the layout


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Unicode fonts


Now, with Unicode, a font can have thousands of characters
- it can include English, all the strange European accents, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic etc etc
- not all fonts have all characters, so sometimes you have some nasty surprises.
What is in each font?
- use Word > Insert > Symbols > More Symbols   
- you can select different fonts and see what is in them
- Windows has a few very full fonts and other less full ones
- Times New Roman and Arial have most characters you need
- but some breathings and pointings for Hebrew are missing, so you need an academic font
- when you use something not in those fonts, Windows sometimes substitutes Tahoma which has more breathings etc
- Windows 7 now has most of these symbols, so soon we may not need other fonts.
Academic Hebrew & Greek fonts
- all you need for Greek is in Cardo, TITUS, SBL Greek, Galatia SIL
- all you need for Hebrew is in Cardo, TITUS, SBL Hebrew, Ezra SIL
- perhaps one day SBL and SIL will put the Hebrew and Greek characters in one font, but at present they are separate
- Cardo has everything you need, plus a lot of strange Latin characters needed for early Christian studies.
- it doesn't always look perfect on the screen, but printed out it looks wonderful

. Tyndale Unicode Kit


The easiest way to set up these fonts on PC or Macs is with theTyndale Unicode Kit.
- dowload the kit for PC or Mac
Here's how to install it on PC:  Just keep clicking "Agree", "Next" etc.
- if you are asked "Remove" or "Repair",  this means you've already installed it and you might be removing it. Click "Repair"
- you should now see "EN" on your taskbar. Click on it and you'll see Greek & Hebrew
- to write in Hebrew you select "Hebrew" AND make sure you are using the right keyboard
  (though, as I said, the default Times New Roman is very good now)
- when you've finished, go back to the webpage and download the "Summary Keyboard Layout"
- if you get stuck there is a long help page showing everything with screenshots.

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Converting older fonts


If you have old documents with old fonts, you really should convert them.
- BibleScript is now free (click on "Windows installer" or download here)
- it has a button RTL2000 which integrates nicely with Word

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Changing the layout


If you don't like the layout of the keyboards you can change them
- for PC use the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
-  for Mac use Ukelele from SIL

4 comments:

timbulkeley.com said...

I used trhe font kit while I used Win XP, now I use Ubuntu, any chance of a Linux version? (He says cheekily, because Linux users are meant to be geeks and not need such help, but I am only marginally geeeky, though much more cheeky ;)

David IB said...

timbulkeley, the Cardo font will work fine, but I don't supply a keyboard for Linux - sorry!
The conversation here may help.

Alan Cossey said...

Hiya,
The link in the line, "The easiest way to set up these fonts on PC or Macs is with theTyndale Unicode Kit." is broken.

David IB said...

Thanks - corrected