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Linux IPA: Main page

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago

Generating IPA Characters on Linux


Jump to how-to sections for ...

Office Applications        Web browsers         E-mail clients


First things first You won't be able to use IPA on your Linux computer until you have an IPA font installed, and most distros 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 stuff to know about using IPA on Linux

Basic way: If you’re using a kernel later than 2.6.18 (e.g., Ubuntu Edgy or later) then hold down Ctrl-Shift, type u, then the hex number (column 3 in the RTF file that you can download from Download a table of IPA codes). For earlier kernels, hold down Ctrl-Shift and type the hex number. To see what kernel you have, open a terminal and type "uname -a." Works system-wide, in all applications.

Alternative method: Use the character map utility that is part of your desktop. “Character Map” is what it’s called in Gnome (Applications > Accessories > Character Map). In KDE it is "Kcharselect" and will be also be found on your applications menu. If you are using some other desktop poke around, but if you can't find one you can probably install the Gnome or KDE version. Once you select the character in your character map utility you can copy it to the clipboard and then paste it wherever you want it. Pasting usually works either by Ctrl-v or center-mouse-click, or both ways, depending on the application. Note a special feature of whichever character map utility you are using - when you select a character it will tell you the hex code for that character. If you're going to use the character a lot it might be faster just to make note of the code and then insert the character with the Basic way above.

Application method: Some applications (e.g., full-featured word processors), have an Insert Special Character feature. See further details under the applications below.

Custom keyboard method: Go to Mapping Your Keyboard to learn how to set up a custom keyboard for IPA on Linux.


How-to pages for office applications


OpenOffice (Writer, Calc, Impress, Base)



Abiword word processor


KOffice (KWord, KSpread, KPresenter, KChart)



How-to pages for browsers

Firefox web browser


Opera web browser


Konqueror web and file browser



How-to pages for e-mail applications

Using IPA in e-mail is problematic for many reasons. First, there are more e-mail programs than there are IPA characters. A lot of people use Microsoft Outlook (we express our condolences), others use Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus, or other standalone e-mail clients. Some use programs that have e-mail utilities built in, such as the Opera web browser. Yet others view their e-mail in browser windows ("webmail"). If you use webmail you are probably better off because in most cases it is possible to get your browser working with IPA. Some of the others may work using the system methods listed above under General stuff to know about IPA.


If that isn't tough enough, there is the problem of what your recipient is using. You may compose an e-mail with stunning IPA characters only to discover that your recipient uses an e-mail client that cannot display it properly. Or if your recipient does read your e-mail with a program that can display it, they may not have the program properly configured for IPA. Because of all this supporting IPA in e-mail is a challenge that we have so far only been able to scratch the surface of.




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