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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

Generating IPA in KOffice


          (KWord, KSpread, KPresenter, KChart)


First things first

You won't be able to use IPA with OpenOffice.org 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 any KOffice application 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. KOffice also has its own Select Character feature. To access this, go to Insert > Special Character, which will give you a popup window like this:




A nice feature of KOffice is that whatever font your cursor was in when you went to Insert > Special Character will be the font that will be displayed in the popup window. However, a cumbersome feature is that there is no scroll bar to go down the list of characters displayed in the popup window. Instead you have to move up and down with the Table spinbox. And even then it doesn't tell you the name of the Unicode block you are in (e.g., "Latin-1," "Combining Diacriticals," and so on). However, most of the IPA characters and diacritics will be in the first few tables, so that is not as bad as it sounds. Note that when you select a character the Unicode code point box will display the code point for that character. This is also unfortunate, because what would be really useful are the decimal and hex codes for manual insertion. Oh well. You can always get that with the RTF file that you can download by clicking on Download a table of IPA codes.


If you really love KOffice you probably already know there is an alternative, although it may take a bit of configuring to get it working for you.


Diehard KOffice users will know we are talking about Insert > Expression. KOffice comes with a lot of preconfigured expressions, but you can add your own. Just because the preconfigured expressions are things like "Hello!" doesn't mean an expression needs to be long - it can be just one character, specifically, an IPA character. To add expressions go to Tools > Edit Personal Expressions. This will give you a popup window like this:



It would probably be best to give them their own group, so create a group called "IPA." Then add an IPA character to the group using one of the the system methods above and click on OK. (The above screenshot shows the IPA group with an esh added to it.) Now, when you go into Insert > Expression you will find your IPA group and your personal list of IPA characters in it. Beats the heck out of an Insert Character utility because you don't have to wade through thousands of characters looking for the one you want. You can just create your own personalized list.


KOffice also has an Autocorrection feature that some find is a good way to insert IPA characters. To do so go to Settings > Configure Autocorrection, and click on the Advanced Autocorrection tab. This will give you a popup window with tabs. Select the Advanced Autocorrection tab and it should look like this:



You will see a long list of typos and spelling errors in a column on the left and the correction in a column to the right. KOffice comes with several hundred of these, but you can add and delete as you wish. To make a new entry type a couple of characters that will never occur in the real world but that are still mnemonic for the IPA character into the Find box. For example, for the eth you might enter "d-." In the Replace box to the right enter the eth, using Insert Special Character or any of the above methods, then click on the Add button. Now, whenever you type "d-" followed by a space KOffice will automatically insert the eth character. Of course, you need to keep track of what special combinations you used for the different IPA characters, but if you aren't going to need more than a few of them this may be the best method for you.


KOffice does not come with a database utility, however, it can connect to a MySQL database. Unfortunately, MySQL (as with all databases) cannot handle any characters above ASCII 255, which leaves out all the IPA characters. If you need to keep IPA characters in a database you will need to use a workaround. The best way is to make up sequences of characters that would never exist in the real world and type them into your data in place of the actual character. Then, after merging the data from the database into a document in KWord or other application you can do a find and replace for the sequences.

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