Project Ben-Yehuda

Hebrew Diacritics in Two Minutes

[ Windows | Unix | Contact ]

Microsoft Windows

(The following works in almost any Windows application: Word or even Notepad. You will need a version of Windows that supports Hebrew, though.)

To add diacritics, make sure CAPS LOCK is turned on. In this mode, certain key combinations output diacritics. To add them to a particular letter, place the cursor after the letter. Note the order of diacritics is important, and you must add diacritics in the following order:

1.      First add Dgeshim (or the Shuruk--unfortunately this is the same character).

2.      Then mark the Shin as right- or left-Shin (e.g., שׁח vs. שׂח).

3.      Now mark vowels.

שְווא

shift-~

חטף-סגול  (ֱ)

shift-!

חֲטף-פתח

shift-@

חטף-קמץ  (ֳ)

shift-#

חִירִיק

shift-$

צֵירה

shift-%

סֶגול

shift-^

פתח

shift-&

קמץ

shift-*

שׂין

shift-)

שׁין

shift-(

חוֹלם

shift-_

דגּש או שוּרוּק

shift-+

קובוץ

shift-\

These standard key bindings may be changed (in Word) in the Tools|Customize menu, though doing so is not recommended.

Note: the separator character (קו מפריד, "—" )  is bound to Ctrl-<Gr->, that is, the minus usually located at the right end of the keyboard. When typing works for the project, please take care not to use a hyphen (מקף, "-") instead of a separator.

Unix

To render and edit Hebrew diacritics on modern Unix systems (on Linux this will probably be easiest), install GTK+ 2 or higher, and Pango, both freely available from here. Any GTK2 application will then automatically have bi-directional Hebrew and diacritics support, provided you configure your keyboard to enter them and your X server to display them. See Dov Grobgeld's page on Using Hebrew in Gtk 2.0 for instructions.

XFree86 keyboard note: the keyboard layout given and described in that page is different from the Microsoft layout given above. Also, it uses the right Alt key as a toggle between Hebrew and English input modes; some people prefer to have both a "LOCK" key and a "shift" key for Hebrew. To change that, modify the line

 
 
  include "en_US(pc105)+group(toggle)"
 

with something like

 
 
  include "en_US(pc105)+group(switch)+group(caps_toggle)"
 

. This will turn your right Alt to a temporary language shift key, and CAPS LOCK to a toggle control. Look at the file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/group for more options (such as utilizing the Windows or Menu keys for these functions).

Contact

Contact Asaf Bartov with any questions at editor@benyehuda.org, or by phone (052-3593996 or +972-52-3593996 if calling from outside Israel).
Gaal Yahas <gaal@forum2.org> is also willing to help with diacritics in Unix.

[ Windows | Unix | Contact ]

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