Archives For unicode

I get periodic requests about fonts for Greek, so here’s a summary of fonts that include Unicode polytonic Greek. I’ve not listed sources or platforms (Google or Bing are your friends for that info.)

There may be others, but these include at least the standard fonts on Mac OSX 10.7 and Windows 7 along with other fonts that I am aware of that are free or have been available for free at one time or another. (That is, I’ve not purchased any commercial fonts, and I have legal copies of all of these on my system [which runs both Mac and Win7]; one might have been a review copy?) Not all versions of these fonts may contain polytonic Greek, but the most recent versions do. I’ve included a pdf sample sheet at the end.

If you know of others, let us know in the Comments.

Arial Unicode MS
Cambria (& Cambria Math)
Courier New
DejaVu Sans
[Galilee Unicode Gk: deprecated!]
Gentium Alt
Gentium Plus
Helvetica Neue
IFAO-Grec Unicode
Lucida Grande
Microsoft Sans Serif
Minion Pro
New Athena Unicode
Palatino Linotype
SBL Greek
Silver Humana 2
Times New Roman
Adobe Text Pro

Here’s a 2-page pdf that provides a brief sample of each of these fonts: lower case alphabet and a few caps and diacritics.

Fonts That Contain Unicode Polytonic Greek.pdf

To save you browsing the comments, here are some additional fonts mentioned by readers in the comments.

Greek Font Society fonts:
GFS Neohellenic
GFS Porson
GFS Elpis
GFS Didot

I also see on their site:
GFS Bodoni
GFS Olga
GFS Artemisia
GFS Theokritos
GFS Pyrsos
GFS Solomos
GFS Philostratos
GFS Goschen Cursive (a “cursive”/script font)
GFS Decker (This one I must definitely check out for no other reason than the name! It is an interesting looking font with old uncial style glyphs—event he lower case look like the old uncial shapes.)

(There are type specimins on their website. The ones I’ve listed here are only the 19th–21st C. fonts; they have older fonts also that I’ve not had time to explore or list.)

GNU FreeFont family

Another SIL font (that I don’t particularly like! but each to their own in this department…)
Galatia SIL

New version of Keyman

October 12, 2011

For those of you using Windows and doing polytonic Unicode Greek, there is a new version of Keyman available–and it’s on sale this week only. I think it’s good through Oct 14.

Keyman 8 is *finally* compatible with the 64 bit version of Win 7. Keyman is by far the easiest way for most English speakers to type polytonic Greek. If you haven’t tried it, by all means do so. There is a 30 day trial version available—though if you use the full 30 days the sale price will be gone.

Assuming that most of you are working in biblical studies, the standard/lite/Desktop version is adequate. It allows you to install 2 keyboards, so you can have use Greek and Hebrew.

Reg price is $24; upgrade price from v. 7 is $19; special sale price this week only is $18 (cheaper than an upgrade). You can only get the special price from this link. (That’s NOT an “affiliate” link; I get nothing from your clicking it. It’s just the special sale page on the Tavultesoft website–I think! It’s the link in the email they sent me; I assume it works for anyone. If it doesn’t, post a comment below.) See updated link below.

When you download the program, you will have the option to specify the language you want to use. Type “classical Greek” in the “Language or keyboard name” field and from the list of 3 or 4 choices you’ll get on the next screen, select “Greek Classical” (not one of the Galaxy keyboards). That will give you an installer which will automatically configure Keyman for polytonic Greek. (You can get the Keyman installer without and then download a separate keyboard file, but it’s much simpler to just get the combo installer.) If you want to do biblical Hebrew, you can download a separate keyboard for that and add it to Keyman after you’ve used the combo installer for Greek.

Later note: Marc from Tavultesoft (the Keyman company), suggests that:

You might want to change the link to purchase to – it has a bit more detail and gives the option for Pro for those users who might want more than 2 keyboards.

Keyman for Win7 64 bit

April 17, 2010

There is now a version of Keyman that runs under the 64 bit version of Win7. It is still beta, but in the very limited testing that I did, seems to work OK. It will be listed as v. 7.1.275 (it’s actually a beta of ver8) and can be downloaded here.

(If you’ve no clue what “Keyman is all about or why you might need it to type polytonic Greek, see my earlier post.)

I think I’ve seen this before, but didn’t remember where it was, but here’s a very helpful page on the blog by Erwin Ochsenmeier that lists all the necessary text critical symbols with their correct Unicode characters/values. I’ve included one chart, but there are others there as well as instructions for how to enter them.


HT: Christian Askeland on the Evang. Text Crit blog

This page, titled simply Unicode Greek Fonts by Russell Cottrell, is perhaps one of the longer lists of fonts which include support for polytonic Unicode Greek. It includes graphic samples of each so you can see what they look like. Some are quite ugly (and my Galilee Unicode would certainly be judged to be such if used as a text font–that’s not what it’s for!), others look quite nice. They are also categorized by how complete the font is. The list does not appear to have been updated recently, and many of the newer commercial fonts are not included. I haven’t checked to see if all the links are still valid. Cottrell has his own polytonic Greek font available: Aristarcoj, which looks interesting (but it has no Latin glyphs).

Unicode page updated

September 5, 2009

I’ve just done a light updating of my Unicode for Biblical Studies page.

Here’s a very helpful survey of the proper text critical symbols in Unicode.

Entering New Testament Textual Criticism Signs
Erwin Ochsenmeier at blog (with help from Luc Herren of the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung)

Don’t be tempted to use other gylphs that look similar! These are the official assignments. Very few fonts have them. There is info on the page linked above as to your best choices for these symbols (& Greek in general).

I just ran across two helpful pages with additional information on Unicode fonts for polytonic (i.e., ancient) Greek in Windows and Linux. (Some of the info on the fonts themselves is also relevant to Mac.)

First there is a series of posts on the Nerdlets blog (Tommy Keene). The link here is to one on fonts, but there are links to several related posts further down the page that deal with configuring and using them in Windows and also Ubuntu Linux.

Second, Vern Poythress explains how to use Unicode on Linux–something for which I hunted in vain a year or so ago when I started experimenting with Ubuntu. “Keyboard Entry of Polytonic Greek and Biblical Hebrew in GNU/Linux.”

Nerdlets also has an article on how to “Run Bibleworks 7 or 8 with Wine in Linux (Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10).” Not having a credible Bible software tool for Ubuntu was the deal breaker for me last year, so though I still have a Windows box set up to dual boot into Ubuntu, I haven’t messed with it much. Ubuntu may be the easiest of the Linux flavors to learn/use, but it’s still a long ways from the usability of Mac (or even Windows XP!). It takes more technical knowledge to do what you want to do and if you don’t already have that, it’s a steep learning curve. I’m also stuck with the older Windows box I use due to its video card not having drivers for the current version.

All in all, I finally decided last spring to upgrade my Mac instead. That’s a more expensive route than Ubuntu, but since I’m not sufficiently “techie” to grapple with Ubuntu, I decided it was worth the cost for me to get more work done more efficiently on Mac. (Now if Accordance ran on Ubuntu, I might have thought twice… 🙂 ) When it came to paying heating fuel costs, I decided to cut my own firewood and get some exercise at the same time. But for getting academic work done, I’ve decided to pay Apple to do the heavy lifting for me.

HT: Danny Zacharias at Deinde

I’ve just been made aware of an excellent Greek unicode font that is the most thorough I have ever come across. Designed for the papyrologist and text-critical scholar in mind. The font is called IFAO-Grec and can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. You will see also a documentation page, which lists all of the extra characters available.

IFAO = French Institute of Eastern Archaeology

From the documentation:

It is first of all a Greek and Coptic font which contains the most important critical and diacritical signs, and the sigla and symbols used in editing papyrological and epigraphical texts, as well as Greek texts of specialized content such as mathematics, astronomy, magic, music, and poetry.

The font is naturally compatible with other Greek fonts in standard Unicode format (Main Plane 0) and tries to be as compatible as possible with e.g. wAthenaUnicode in the Private Use Area (PUA) and the new Plane 1 area. But it offers several possibilities that do not exist in other fonts. The font is designed to harmonise with Times New Roman, in both style and dimensions.

It was conceived by Jean-Luc Fournet, and the Unicode version is the work of Ralph Hancock. Adam Bülow-Jacobsen helped in various ways.

IFAO-Grec Unicode is issued free of all rights.

Here are direct links:

The font: (The font file name when unzipped is IFAOGrec.ttf. It appears in font meus as “IFAO-Grec Unicode.”)

Glyph table:

English documentation

Here’s a graphic that shows the basic character set. (I left it large so you can see the detail; it will either be compressed horizontally or run off the screen to the right, so you’ll have to save it locally or right click it and View Image to see it undistorted or to see the entire image.)


There is a full set of NA text crit symbols, but they won’t display in MS Word 2008/Mac. I haven’t tried in the Windows version of Word or other word processors yet.