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.
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.
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
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