Greek/Transcription (for post-processors)

From DPWiki
< Greek(Redirected from Typing Greek)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

For most projects containing text in Ancient Greek, Proofreaders will have checked or directly input the Greek characters. This task is known as transcription: that is, they have ensured that Greek imaged characters in the source image equate to Greek text characters in the text version. The task of the post-processor here may still involve some editing of the Greek text, to correct any remaining errors or omissions.

Before the introduction of Unicode character sets in 2020, Proofreaders were instead asked to transliterate Greek text, for the most part ignoring accents. Some projects coming up for post-processing may have undergone transliteration, in which the Greek is represented by equivalent Roman letters, marked up as in [Greek: Biblos]. The Project Comments may contain further advice. For such projects the post-processor will need to input the Greek characters, including the addition of diacritical marks. Guiguts includes a Greek Transliteration Tool to assist with this.

In either case, the available methods of inputting or editing Greek text include direct input from the keyboard in (polytonic) Greek, or the use of an internet application such as those mentioned below.

Post-processors may wish to mark Greek text in the .html file with the Ancient Greek language tag "grc", for example:

  <span lang="grc" xml:lang="grc">ἀμφωτίδες</span>

Detailed information on the Greek alphabet is available here.

Typing Greek from a keyboard

It is possible on most systems to input Greek directly using keystrokes on a standard keyboard. Below are instructions to support this process for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. The proofing and formatting interfaces support this method of entering Greek characters. For Guiguts users, from version 1.3 onwards it is possible to enter polytonic Greek text direct. Other programs used by post-processors may not provide for direct entry, and to enter Greek into such a program requires typing into a standard text editor or using a web-based tool, then copying and pasting the result.


Chances are that if you want to type Greek directly on your Windows keyboard for DP, you will be using the Polytonic Greek characters. If you've never enabled additional keyboards before, be aware that with each new version of the operating system, there may be small differences in exactly where to look. These instructions are for Windows 10, but a similar process should work for other versions.


  1. Open Settings from the Start menu and choose Time & Language
Greek KB Win10 1 Time-language.png

  1. Choose Language from the menu on the left, then Add a preferred language
Greek KB Win10 2 Add language.png

  1. Choose Greek from the list of languages (you can scroll down or type Greek in the search box), then Next then Install
Greek KB Win10 3 Choose Greek.png

  1. Once the Greek language pack is installed, choose it on the languages settings page (note that the word Greek will be written in Greek, Ελληνικά) then choose Options
Greek KB Win10 4 Options.png

  1. Choose Add a keyboard, then pick the Greek Polytonic keyboard
Greek KB Win10 5 Add keyboard.png

  1. Unless you will need it, remove the modern Greek keyboard, leaving just the Polytonic
Greek KB Win10 6 Remove keyboard.png

  1. Use the Input indicator icon from the taskbar or the Windows key + Space to switch your input language to Greek and back


Basic letters

Most Greek letters correspond to their equivalent Latin keys.

Tip: You can use the <Windows key> + <Ctrl> + O to pop up the on-screen keyboard

Greek KB Win10 7 Lower Keyboard.png
Greek KB Win10 8 Upper Keyboard.png

Non-US keyboards

By referring to the the on-screen keyboard and your own physical keyboard, you should be able to work out which keys correspond to which accents if the ones listed below do not work. The location of the key on the keyboard is what is relevant, rather than what is printed on the key. For example, on a physical UK keyboard, Shift+' gives @ rather than ". So in the list below where " is used for polytonic Greek typing, on a UK keyboard you would actually press the @ symbol. Similarly, press # and ~ for \ and |. Physical keyboards for other languages may have other differences. In the worst case, you may have to use the on-screen keyboard (<Windows key> + <Ctrl> + O) to get the most obscure combinations of accents, breathing and subscripts.

Accents and Breathing

To type characters with accents, you first type the key for the accent, then the key for the letter. For example, the q gives an acute accent, so typing q a will give ά. In contrast with some other dead key systems, there is a single key press (possibly with <Shift> or <Right Alt> modifiers) for all combined accents and breathing - you do not press one key for acute accent followed by another key for smooth breathing followed by your letter. See below for details.

Accent Key Result
acute q ά
grave ]
circumflex [

Smooth breathing may be placed on its own or combined with other accents:

Accent Key Result
smooth breathing '
smooth+acute /
smooth+grave \
smooth+circumflex =

Rough breathing uses the same keys as smooth breathing, but with the <Shift> key held down when pressing the accent key:

Accent Key Result
rough breathing "
rough+acute ?
rough+grave |
rough+circumflex +

The iota subscript may be placed on its own or combined with the above accents:

Accent Key Result
iota subscript {

To add an iota subscript to any of the above accents, hold the <Right Alt> (maybe marked as Alt Gr) key when pressing the accent keys described above. For example, for acute accent and iota subscript, ᾴ, press <Right Alt>+q a. Don't forget for rough breathing you will need to press <Shift> as well as <Right Alt>.


Chances are that if you want to type Greek directly on your Mac keyboard for DP, you will be most likely to be using the Polytonic Greek characters. If you've never enabled additional keyboards before, be aware that with each new version of the operating system, there may be small differences in exactly where to look. As of macOS 10.15 (Catalina), go to System Preferences->Keyboard. Under the Keyboard tab, select "Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar. Under the Input Sources tab, click on the + to add a keyboard, and choose Greek - Polytonic from the list. If it's not already chosen, click the checkbox for "Show Input menu in menu bar".

In the menu bar, click on the menu that shows which keyboard you're using. The top section shows the keyboards you have enabled. The next section down allows you to bring up the Emoji & Symbols Character Viewer and the Keyboard Viewer. If you open the Keyboard Viewer, and choose the Polytonic Greek keyboard, the display should look similar to:

Keyviewer mac greek diacriticals.png

The orange outlines are around the keys that are considered dead-keys: type the key that shows the diacritical combination you want, followed by the letter that you need that takes that diacritical. The above keyboard shows the unshifted marks -- where there's a breathing mark, it's smooth. The following keyboard shows the shifted marks -- where there's a breathing mark, it's rough.

Keyviewer mac greek diacriticals shifted.png

Once you release the appropriate mark, the keys on the keyboard with an orange outline will show those characters that are eligible to take that mark. The following example shows the letters (unshifted) that can take a rough breathing mark with a circumflex.

Keyviewer mac greek diacriticals allowed.png

The iota subscript and breve are available by holding down the option key [no screenshot].


On Ubuntu 20.04 the process to install a Greek keyboard is:

Settings | Language and Region | Manage Installed Languages | Install/Remove Languages

Add Greek (polytonic)

Web-based tools for inputting Greek

These tools do not require any language or keyboard installation or setup on your computer. They allow you to type using standard letters from your keyboard, but with Greek letters appearing in the text window of the tool. Once you have the Greek passage correct, you can copy and paste it where you need it. Each tool uses a system of additional keystrokes to add the accents and breathing, such as typing 'ha' or 'a(' in order to get the letter ἁ.

Greek4 utility

As the set of Greek characters exceeds 300 distinct items, it can be difficult for even an experienced Grecian to pick out the appropriate characters from all the rest in an all-in-one table. To assist with this, the internet application "Greek4" is available. This produces both a transcription in Greek characters and a transliteration (in a similar way to the regular Greek Transliterator in the proofreading interface). Characters (with diacritics) are selected (clicked) successively in the Transcription window and, when complete, copied and pasted into the text area.

Opening the tool

The Greek4 transliterator is accessed thus:

  • In a NEW window or tab, open the web-page [1]
  • Click the "Launch" button. This will invoke Greek4 in a pop-up mode.
  • Close the launch window/tab. (Bookmark first for convenience.)
  • Size the Greek4 window. It is suggested to use full width and as little height as convenient.
  • Position the Greek4 window over the top of the proofing page at such a height that you can see the Greek text in the proofing image and preferably also the insertion point in the text editor.

Character selection

Greek4 displays a numbers of selection buttons and 2 bars of Greek characters.

The static, upper bar (2 rows) contains characters without diacritics. Any Greek character without diacritic may be selected from the upper bar.

The lower bar (2 rows) contains those characters which do have diacritics and changes its display dynamically according to preselector buttons. Please assess the image character carefully to determine what diacritics it may have. There are 4 groups of possibilities which can be combined together.

  • Breathing mark. This can be plain (non-existent), rough "(" or smooth ")".
  • Accent mark. This can be plain (non-existent), acute "/", circumflex "^" or grave "\".
  • Dieresis mark. This can be plain (non-existent) or "..".
  • Iota-subscript mark. This can be plain (non-existent) or "i".
    As dieresis and iota-subscript can never appear on the same character, they have been combined into a single selector.

As the preselector buttons are set, the (lower) selection bar changes contents to match the settings. If the selection display doesn't include a match for the image character, you haven't got the selector settings correct. When you see the required, fully marked character in the (lower) bar, click it.

As characters are clicked they will be built into the collection area at the bottom of the transcription window. When the required Greek text is complete, it should be selected, copied and pasted into the edited text.

Further features

There are no editing tools at present apart from "Clear". If you make a mistake: make a space, continue at the appropriate word start and try again. You will need to edit out the erroneous parts later in the text area.

(The space character is the blank box in the upper bar: you won't see anything there, but if you click it, it will work.)

Other punctuation and special characters are also available in the upper bar. Note that this does not include alternate glyph forms of standard letters such as phi and kappa for which the standard form should be used. If you think that there is a need, please (if proofing) post in the project discussion or (if post-processing) consider a Transcriber's Note, but normally these are only a font distinction, not deliberately different characters.

There is a button for ALL CAPS mode but this is primarily for use when transliterating.


Other web-based tools for Greek include:

  • TypeGreek - Type from the keyboard - uses beta code with minor variations.
  • Lexilogos Ancient Greek - Click on-screen characters or type from the keyboard - uses its own system of adding accents.