On some of my webpages, I have had to use the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and wherever I have, the symbols appear as text in this shade of green, and within square brackets [like this]. To see these symbols properly, your computer has to have installed the same IPA font I use, namely the SILDoulosIPA font. If its not already installed on your computer, downloading it now and installing it should take about 3 minutes at most.

To see whether your computer already has this font installed, look at the following words in green, between the parentheses: [HELLO IPA FONT].

    If the word in green above appears as on your screen in normal capital letters as here [HELLO IPA FONT], then wherever on my pages you see green text in square brackets, you wont be able to see the correct symbols. To see them properly, youll need to install the font on your computer, as explained below.

    If the word in green above appears on your screen with exactly the same symbols as here [HELLO IPA FONT], starting with a small superscript h then an open Greek‑looking e, then you already have the font installed, and can keep reading my pages no problem. You can also print them out correctly if you print from the same computer youre using now. (If you print from a different computer, youll have to make sure that that computer has the font installed too, so read on.)

There are two versions of the phonetics font I use, the first edition and the updated 1993 edition. Unfortunately there are sometimes problems with compatibility between the two, so to be sure you see my pages correctly, I recommend you use the first edition too. If you use the 93 edition (the font name often appears in Word specifically as SIL Doulos IPA 93) you may have problems with my pages.

Also, there are actually three different IPA fonts, each with a different filenames, whose names are:

    SILDoulosIPARegular (true font) corresponds most closely to the Times New Roman font.

    SILManuscriptIPARegular (true font) corresponds most closely to the Courier font.

    SILSophiaIPARegular (true font) corresponds most closely to the Arial font.]


If you just want to see my files with the least trouble and without taking up much space on your computer, the simplest solution is just to follow my instructions below and only use SILDoulosIPA.


Download and Install the IPA Font
(very quick and easy!)

First, you need to download the font file to your computer (or if youve received this file from me as an email, just download the SILDIPA_.TTF instead). Once youve clicked on the link below, your computer should ask you where you want to download the file to. Pick a place on your computer where youll be able to find the file again in a minute, say anywhere on the hard drive C:/‌ (The normal place for fonts is C:/‌Windows/‌Fonts/‌ but you might have to hunt for it among hundreds of others later!).

The name of the file to download is SILDIPA_.TTF best not to change it or your computer wont recognise it as a font file it can install. The file size is 47KB, so it should download faster than this page did on your internet connection.

So, to download the file now, click here, and then save it to your disk where you can find it again in a minute.

Once youve downloaded the file and saved it to your disk, you need to install it as described below.

    Click on Start at the bottom left of your screen, or press the Windows key at the bottom left of your keyboard.

    Then select Control Panel.

    Within the Control Panel folder, click on Fonts (which might take a few seconds to appear).

    Within the Fonts folder, click on the File menu at the top, and select Install New Font.

    A dialogue box will appear and you have to select the folder on your computer which you saved the font file in when you downloaded it.

    Once youve selected that folder, wait a few seconds for the computer to look in it for the font file, and when it has found it, its name will appear in the box within the dialogue box, as SILDoulosIPA [true type]. If the font file name doesnt appear, check the drive and/or folder.

    Select that name and click OK, and the font should install automatically.

    Once its installed, you can exit from the Control Panel.

All the IPA symbols I use will now appear correctly on your screen on Web browsers, and in most Windows programmes like Word and Excel. They should also print out correctly on any printer connected to the computer youre using. To view my pages on, or print them out from, any other computer, it too will have to have the font installed, so youll have to repeat the above process on that computer too. (You dont have to download the file again, you can transfer it via diskette too of course).


Guide to Using New Fonts

What follows is intended for those totally unversed in Windows and its applications, so apologies for talking down to the initiated! If youre not too hot on computers, dont worry this all looks much more complicated than it is. Following these recommendations will make it much faster to use your fonts (and show you some powerful features of Word in general). Its well worth the effort.

As well as my stuff here, theres now a professional documentation package on using the fonts, which you can download from this website:

There you can automatically download the font, but beware that you might download the second edition which is not necessarily compatible with the first edition I use.


How Fonts Work

A font is switched on and switched off, just as are bold, italics or underline in Word. If you have a word in bold, and you move the cursor inside that word, so anything new you type at that position will also be in bold. The same applies to fonts. Any text you type within a section of text which has a given font switched on for that section will be in that font. Be aware above all, then, that you have to switch the font off to go back to normal text. (This is a particular problem with the [ ] and / / symbols, see the ideal solution suggested below.)


Switching A Font On

The font is switched on in various ways:

    By choosing it in the font list box on your format toolbar (the quickest way).

    By choosing it under Format Font.

    By choosing it under Insert Symbol Font (turning the font on only temporarily until you leave Symbol).

To get back to normal, of course, you must switch back to your normal font (Times New Roman, or Courier, or Arial, etc.), by the same method.

Getting Particular Symbols

Before anything else, be aware that there are ways of making everything very much easier very easy indeed, one button can do everything if you set it up right, as I describe below. What follows for the moment is the basics, however, without the fancy customising.


First the font must be switched on (see above). Once its switched on:

    The IPA symbols identical to the Latin lower case letters are brought up by simply pressing that key on the keyboard, in lower case.

    Pressing these keys in UPPER CASE will give other symbols, usually closely related to the lower case symbol:

e.g. <t> gives [t] but <T> gives [t]
<h> gives [h] but <H> gives [H]

Some other symbols are brought up by other, non-letter keys on the keyboard, e.g. <{> gives [{]. Many others are, unfortunately, more difficult to get see the tables below showing how to get hold of the most common ones.


Calling Up Symbols From The Symbols Character Map

Others symbols cant be called up by a single key. One way to get them is from the Insert Symbols character map, as described above:

    On the menu bar, click Insert.

    From the Insert menu, click Symbol.

    In Symbol, make sure the right Font is selected.

    Select the symbol you want to insert with the mouse.

    Insert the symbol into your text by clicking Insert, or by just double clicking the symbol.


Calling Up Symbols By ASCII Numbers

Alternatively, symbols can be called up by their ASCII code number (the ones Ive given on the sheet below). Where Ive given a number, simply type in that number but you must observe ALL of the following:

    You must always be in your font, of course.

    Use only the separate numeric keypad, NOT the number keys on top of the QWERTY keys.

    Num Lock must be switched ON.

    You must hold the ALT key down continuously while you type the numbers.


Diacritics and Compound Symbols

There are two main types of symbol:

(a)   Simplex symbols, the ones I have described so far.

(b)   Diacritics on symbols are usually compound (composed) symbols in this IPA font.


These compound symbols have to be called up with a sequence of two keystrokes.

    First get the basic symbol, without diacritic, e.g. [a].

    Then get the diacritic symbol, e.g. [ )]. This will automatically appear over or under the basic symbol, to give e.g. [n)]
(the code for a diacritic symbol includes a backspace code).

    N.B.: to get just the blank diacritic, first press a space, then get the diacritic.


Possible Problems

Irregular Line Spacing Caused by the IPA Font

The IPA characters require slightly more space between lines than does normal text of the same font size. This can be a problem if your paragraph line spacing is set a mode such as At Least, Single or Multiple. Any of the other line spacing modes can be used, particularly Exactly (about 15 points is usually OK), which should solve the problem.


Failed Character Recognition Of IPA Symbols In Programming

In Excel, for example, I have had problems where character recognition is not case-sensitive. Since some of the different IPA symbols are effectively just upper and lower case versions of the same letters in normal fonts, if the recognition system is not case-sensitive then it cannot tell these symbols apart: e.g. [T] (= shift-T) from [t] (= lower case t).



Making Life Much Easier

All of these methods of getting the symbols, however, are more than a little tedious if you need them a lot. In Word at least, there are ways of making it all much easier and quicker. The simplest is this:

    On the Insert menu, select Symbol.

    Then in the dialogue box select SIL Doulos IPA in the Font box.

    Next find and select (click on) the symbol you want to make a shortcut for.

    Next click on the Keyboard Shortcut button, and choose the shortcut key combination you want to use for that symbol (just press the keys you want to use)


The Ideal Solution

The best solution is a bit technical, but very quick and very worthwhile: make your own macro.

    From the Menu Bar, select Tools

    From the Tools menu, select Macro, then Record New Macro.

    Click on the [Keyboard] button to assign your macro to a shortcut key, as above. I use Control‑[

    Type a name for your macro, e.g. SquareBrackets (no spaces)

    Click OK.


    You are now in record mode (you can tell this because a mini toolbar appears). Do precisely as follows:

type [ in normal font;

switch to IPA font (use the font box on the toolbar);

type shift-T to get T;

switch straight back to normal font;

type ] and one space;

move the cursor two spaces right, back in between the two brackets;

delete back (backspace) once, to delete the /T/ you have, but do nothing else.


    Now stop recording (stop button on the mini toolbar). Youre done.


This is the best way for entering examples in phonetic script. Any time you want to write an ipa transcription, just press Control‑[ and everything is done for you, you just type your transcription inside the braces, and once youve finished all you need do to go back to normal is move back outside the brackets and start typing normal text again. Everything typed inside the brackets is automatically in IPA, everything outside is automatically in normal font.

To do the same for phonemic transcriptions inside slashes, record another macro using / instead of [ and ] in the above descriptions, and assign it to key Control‑/.


N.B. You can also assign macros after you have recorded them to a new toolbar button or shortcut key using Customise, as above for fonts and AutoText, but in the Categories list box choose Macros instead.



How To Get Some Common Symbols

Here are some tables that might help. The numbers handwritten in red ink by each symbol are the key combination needed to bring up the symbol: they only work with Num Lock on, using the separate numeric keypad (usually on the right of the keyboard), holding down the Alt key as you type the digits, and with leading 0: so 0149, not just 149. This is a real pain if you have a laptop with a numeric keypad built into the main keyboard, so you might want to try the solutions described above for how to get symbols more easily).

If there is no number but a letter or other symbol in red ink, then type that to get the phonetic symbol instead. If you can't see them clearly enough, download the image and open it with a program which allows you to zoom in (e.g. PaintShop Pro). Lots more details on how to get the symbols are given below, including three tables of common symbols.












Q = shiftq

= 0129

Π= 0140






















= 0171

= 0206











= 0196












= 0246

= 0174

















= 0180

= 0201

= 0194










= 0248

= 0247

x) = x then )

= space )



= 0141

= 0191

= 0175

P = shiftP



= 0184












= 0168

{ = {

= 0212

= 0210















= 0172

= 0195

F = shiftF










= 0231

= 0229

= 0227

= 0181





















= 0214

= 0192


= 0249

= 0200

& = &






Accent Key Combinations


















































































































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