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Internet Explorer

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 10 months ago

Setting up Internet Explorer for IPA


Most people in the know about computers and the web have little use for Internet Explorer. On the other hand, maybe you have to use someone else's computer and they won't let you install Firefox or Opera. Or maybe you really like it. OK, it's hard to believe, but some people really do. Whatever. We're here to make it work for you, not to make judgments about your computer habits, so here goes.

Internet Explorer, in case you were not aware, has shipped with all versions of Windows since Microsoft became aware that the internet existed. The current version is Internet Explorer 7.0. However, you have to run Windows XP or Vista to use Internet Explorer 7. Windows 2000 and earlier users are stuck with version 6.0. Even Windows XP shipped originally with 6.0. Special note: IPA doesn't work nearly as well in version 6 as it does in version 7. Not that it works terribly well in version 7 either, but if you can upgrade to version 7 you ought to. That is, unless we can convince you of the folly of your ways and get you to install Firefox or Opera. Who us? Biased? Whatever makes you think that?


Viewing IPA on web sites with Internet Explorer

When setting up a browser for IPA there are two problems - viewing web pages and entering IPA in online forms and webmail. Viewing web pages is easier, so we'll start with that. The first thing you need to do is test your browser because, amazingly, we occasionally find people whose Internet Explorer is properly set up for viewing IPA. If so, you can forget about the rest of the viewing instructions. To test your browser go to our Browser test page and scroll down the page looking at all the IPA characters. If any of them are missing, empty boxes, or otherwise trashed, then you need to fix your Internet Explorer for viewing IPA on web pages (see below).


Fixing view properties of Internet Explorer

On the main menu click on Tools, then on Internet Options. That will pop up a window that looks like this:



See the Accessibility button toward the lower right corner of the window? Click on it. That will get you this window:



Notice how we have checked the box for Ignore font styles specified on webpages? If yours is not checked, check it. Yes, we know it makes no sense. You would think you'd want Internet Explorer to adhere strictly to the font styles specified on a web page because if the web page designer put a style on a page with IPA on it you would assume they did so for a reason, right? Well, Microsoft decided that this was the way to get Internet Explorer to read IPA on a page corrrectly, so just check the box and quit complaining. Send a stern letter to Bill Gates if you like, but check the box.


Now go back to the Browser test page and see if it looks better. (You may have to restart Internet Explorer first, or clear the cache, or both before the page will display correctly.)


Entering IPA in online forms and webmail with Internet Explorer

This is more difficult, but if you need only really basic IPA characters you may luck out and get it to work. Before we go on with how to set up Internet Explorer for this, review the Basic stuff on the main page for your operating system by clicking on the icon in the sidebar to the right. You can just click on the back button to get back to this page.


OK, we assume now that you have figured out that you need to use Alt+decimal, or Alt+hex+Ctrl-x, or install an IPA keyboard. And you got the decimal and hex codes by downloading the RTF or PDF file from the Download IPA chart page. And now you want to enter IPA in an e-mail that you send via webmail. Ah, there's the rub. The first part of the problem is that there are tons of different web-based e-mail outfits - gmail, hotpop, yahoo mail, and so on. And each one pops up a "send message" window and in each case the options available to you in the "send mail" window are different.


The second part of the problem is that Internet Explorer lets you set only a limited number of fonts that you can use in such a window, and they're all monospaced (like Courier, where each character takes the same space on the line), and none of the monospaced fonts has a complete set of IPA characters. To get to the spot to specify the text font, go back to Tools, click on Internet Options again (see first screenshot above), and this time click on Fonts instead of Accessibility. That will get you a popup that looks like this:



Note the window on the right listing options for Plain text fonts. The above screenshot is from Internet Explorer 6.0, but the 7.0 screen is identical except for offering a bigger list of Plain text fonts. All of them are monospaced, and none of them have a very complete list of IPA characters. So what do you do?


If your "send mail" option allows sending mail as HTML, you may have an out. It's clumsy as hell, but can get the job done. You do it by entering the decimal or hex code with HTML markers around it. For example, to type IPA in HTML using the decimal code you type "&#" in front of it and ";" at the end.  If you use the hex code you do the same thing, but put an "x" after the "&#." So to type "text" you type:


Decimal version: [t& #  603 ;kst] (We had to put spaces between the characters to stop the browser from rendering it as the IPA character)

Hex version: [t& # x 25b ;kst] Note the "x," and note the hex code, which is 25b instead of 603. Again, don't use the spaces.


Now, that should properly send the e-mail with HTML codings for the IPA. But now you're going to run into an even worse problem: What e-mail client does the recipient use? Some e-mail clients won't even render HTML e-mails. Some people have their spam filters set to auto-delete all HTML e-mail because most spam comes in HTML formatting. So you compose a brilliant discussion of how a syllable-final l in English is not always velarized and you send it to your Phonetics professor. You expect an e-mail back from the professor congratulating you for your insight and giving you an A+ for the effort. Only your professor is a diehard old fuddy-duddy who uses a strictly text based e-mail program and gives you an F because your e-mail was unreadable.


There is no sure-fire way to send IPA via e-mail with Internet Explorer. You may get lucky if your recipient can read HTML e-mail, but even then it is a pain in the ass to type the codes with the "&#" and ";" before and after. There are two better solutions: Get Firefox or Opera, or get a better stand-alone e-mail client.


Note that all this crap would be unnecessary if you would just use Firefox or Opera for webmail. Both just take the regular input and send it as IPA. No need to struggle with a handful of monospaced fonts that don't have a complete set of IPA characters. But as one of our favorite profs says "we digress." We probably also bitch too much about Internet Explorer. Bill Gates is so gonna sue us. Oh well.

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