Lutheran Theological Seminary
at Gettysburg

Mark Vitalis Hoffman
mhoffman@ltsg.edu
Valentine 414
717.334.6286 x2414

MGVH HomePage at LTSG CrossMarks

Greek and Hebrew Font Support

The easiest way to accomplish get the fonts and a keyboard is to go to: "Fonts for Biblical Studies" (Tyndale House). Use the "Tyndale Unicode Font Kit" available for either PCs or Macs. Follow the installation steps, and you are set for now. (The only other thing you may want to confirm is viewing Greek in your browser.)
 

If, however, you kind of know what you are doing and want a bit more control over the process, take the following steps.

Get a Greek Font

In the past, you had to use different TrueType font sets to compose in and view different language characters. (An English set like TimesNewRoman or Arial, a Greek set, a Hebrew set, dingbat set, etc.) If someone else wanted to view your work, they would need the specific font sets that you used. 

The promise of Unicode fonts is that there is a spot for every single language character in just one font set. You need only have a way to access the different character areas in that font set. It is a great thing, because anyone can view your work just by having any Unicode font on their system. (If you want to know more about Unicode, check here.)

Until these Unicode fonts become system and web standards, however, there will be issues in the proper viewing of and composing with Greek fonts. Unicode fonts work very well with Windows2000 or WindowsXP, so if you have some other operating system, you will experience limitations.  With these issues in mind, I have decided that the best course is still to go with Unicode fonts, and in everything I print, upload, or post to the web, I will be using the Cardo Unicode font. 

SO, Step 1, get this font:

Cardo - This is an attractive, true Unicode font from David Perry. It is especially nice for Biblical scholars because it has both Greek and Hebrew characters. 

Option A

  • Go to GreekGeek.Net > Choose "Fonts" in the left-hand menu > Choose "Advanced Mode Installer" > in the drop-down menu, choose "Unicode for scholars/publishing (Cardo Font) > click Go > follow setup
  • (While you are here, it would be worth your while to at least get the SIL Apparatus font. If you are using Hebrew, be sure to get the SBL Hebrew.)

Option B

  • More information about the Cardo Font and a free download is available at: http://scholarsfonts.net/cardofnt.html. Versions are available for both Mac (check at the web site) and Windows. 
  • For more directions on downloading and installing this font, go HERE 

Typing in Greek

You have a number of options for typing in Greek once you have the fonts. For non-Unicode fonts, it is a matter of choosing the font and typing using that particular fonts key assignments. If you used the "Tyndale Unicode Font Kit" noted at the top of this page, it installs a keyboard and gives excellent, step-by-by directions for installation. It is a good keyboard layout, but I prefer a different way of entering some characters and especially dealing with accents. If you want to try this out, work through the following step:

Step 2:
Option A (Windows; for Mac, go HERE)

What should be the best solution is to take advantage of the built in capabilities of WinXP (or Win2000). There are a variety of keyboard layouts for typing polytonic Greek, but I have modified the Logos Greek keyboard layout so that it matches the 'standard' set by the earlier fonts by SBL's SPIonic and Silver Mountain's SGreek. Follow these directions carefully:

  • Download this file: greekmvh.zip which contains the msi install file and layout dll
  • Extract all the files and then double click on the GreekMVH.msi file
  • Use Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Languages tab > Details
  • Click Add
  • Input Language = Greek
  • For Keyboard Layout/IME, choose: Logos Biblical Greek Keyboard MGVH (custom) > OK > OK > OK

You can confirm that everything is working by holding down the (left) ALT key and pressing a SHIFT key. You should see down in the bottom of your screen, toward the right, where it changes between EN (=ENglish) and EL (=hELlas=Greek) [and also HE=HEbrew if you also added that keyboard].

For further reference and if you want to install Hebrew or Syriac or Coptic:

  • Logos Biblical Greek Keyboard - A slightly different keyboard layout but with good installation directions. Still in beta (as of 2006.06 - and please don't bother Logos about any problem unless you own one of their products) but everything works.
    Also note:
  • Logos Biblical Hebrew Keyboard. More Information.
  • Logos Syriac Keyboard. More Information.
  • Logos Coptic Keyboard. More Information.

Do note that there are some issues with this solution using Word2007. If you have a problem, use one of the solutions below.

OR

Step 2:  Option B

Using Option A above is superior, but some prefer, and some older operating systems require, the following:

  • Get the Keyman program (and perhaps also the WordLink program if you are using WinME or earlier). Both programs are free for personal, non-commercial use. Go here: Tavultesoft Keyman and download and install the latest Keyman file.

Then:

  • Get a keyboard layout. Go to: Classical Greek Unicode Keyboard - This is the most logical keyboard I have found for English users. (To get the keyboard directly, click here: GreekClassical.kmp ) Using the Keyman configuration, install this keyboard. I also would recommend setting an easy hotkey (I use CTRL-SHFT-ALT G for Greek) and then, under the Options tab, another one for the Keyman off (I use CTRL-SHFT-ALT E to get back to English)
  • Once set this way, when you are in your word processor, just use the hotkey to switch to Greek and start typing. (Make sure that you are using the Cardo font or some other Unicode font.)
  • For maps of the keyboard layout: Classical Greek (Manuel Lopez's keyboard) chart (UnicodeKybdLopez.pdf format)
    (Another keyboard layout based on the modern Greek keyboard is available here, but I find it much less intuitive to use)
  • (For fuller instructions on installing Keyman and keyboards, see Greek and Hebrew Fonts - Tyndale House)

 

  OPTIONAL STEP 3 FOR ADVANCED USERS:

Once you have either Keyman or the the Logos system installed, you may want to create/record a macro for Microsoft Word to simplify entry. What you want the macro to do is (e.g., with the Greek): switch to the Greek keyboard, turn off spell checking [so you don't get all those red lines under your Greek- look under Tools>Options>Spelling & Grammar tab], turn off smart quotes [which confuse the Greek accenting-look under Tools>AutoCorrect options>Autoformat As You Type tab], and switch to the Cardo font. Create another macro to undo all those things. (When recording this macro, use CTRL-SHFT+Z to return to your default font.) Create a similar macro for the Hebrew if needed. Then assign each of these macros to a shortcut key.
If you know how to use the Visual Basic editor in Word, HERE is a bas file you can import. (Note: you will have to change the file path for the dictionary entries.)

OR

  OTHER OPTIONS FOR TYPING IN UNICODE:
  • Unicode Classical Greek Inputter 2 - to enter and obtain proper Greek in Unicode (click on the link to work online or right click and "save target as" to your own computer to use it offline)
    OR
  • Download and install the free Shibboleth program from Logos. You can use it to type Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, etc. Copy/Paste into your word processor.
    OR
  • A Unicode editor such as UniPad (uses yet another keyboard layout, but it will copy/paste as Unicode nicely)

Viewing Greek in a Browser

If you see accented Greek here with no funny boxes > Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς < you are good to go. If you see some Greek, with little boxes, you need to set your internet browser correctly. At the top left of the window, go to View, Encoding, More and select Unicode (UTF-8). Look good now?

If not, on your browser menu, choose Tools / Internet Options > on the General Tab, click on Fonts, then in the left column under Web Page Fonts, choose one of your Unicode fonts.

Still problems? Try one of these pages (which include info for Macs): 


Hebrew Font Support

Another level of complexity is introduced with Hebrew due to the need to compose from right to left. Programs like Bibloi and BibleWorks come with right-to-left Hebrew support that can be pasted into other word processors. With Win2000 or WinXP or better, there are some built in ways properly to enter Hebrew, either with Keyman or with keyboard drivers. (See the info with the fonts below.)

As for fonts:

 If you are working with a pre-WinXP system and do not have a Bible software program to help you out, try:

Other Fonts supporting Greek and/or Hebrew


More about Unicode than you really need to know

Note that while all Unicode fonts have each character location specified, not all fonts have actually composed characters for every language set. For example, the Gentium font has all the Greek characters you need but not any Hebrew. The advantage to supporting limited character sets is a smaller font file size. Arial Unicode MS has everything, but the file is huge. (22Mb compared to well under 1Mb for more limited sets)