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Generating IPA in AbiWord


AbiWord is available for just about all versions of Windows, MacOS and Linux and is a free download from AbiSource. To go to the AbiSource download page for AbiWord click here.


First things first

You won't be able to use IPA with AbiWord until you have an IPA font installed, and most operating systems don't install one by default. So if you don't have an IPA font installed yet, go to Cool free IPA fonts to download and download one. If you need help installing it, go to How to install fonts on your computer.


General how-to and tips

You can insert IPA characters into AbiWord using the system method under General stuff to know about IPA on the main page for your operating system. (To go to the main page for your operating system click on one of the icons in the sidebar to the right.) Many users do this as their normal method. But if you just need to insert an occasional character it may be easier to use the Insert Symbol feature of AbiWord than to insert it with the system method above.


To do so click on Insert > Symbol and a window will pop up.



Note the font drop-down box in the upper left corner of the window - that will probaby show Symbol as the default. Use the drop-down to select the font you're using. Underneath the font drop-down on the left of the window note the list of Unicode blocks. You can go directly to a block just by clicking on it. The ones you will use most often will be "Latin-1," "Latin-Extended-A and -B," "IPA Extensions," "Spacing Modifier Letters," and "Combining Diacritical Marks." On the right side you will see the characters change as you select different fonts and different Unicode blocks. The default view is Character Table, which is what you probably will need most often. Once you select a character you can click on the Character Details tab and it will give you additional information about the character. Sometimes the names they use in the Character Details are not exactly what a Phonetics textbook would call them, but they're close enough for you to know what they are. More importantly, the Character Details tab shows you the decimal and hex codes for the character, so if you are going to use it a lot you can make note of the code and then insert the character as described under General stuff to know about IPA. on the main page for your operating system (click on the icon for your operating system in the sidebar to the right).


Sometimes you are working on a document where you will need only half a dozen different IPA characters or fewer. A trick that some people have used for such a situation is to insert all the characters at once and set them at the top of your document. Then copy them all to the clipboard and when you need one, paste them all and delete the unwanted ones.


Abiword is a fantastic word processor, but it does not have a spreadsheet, presentations or database application.



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