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Mac IPA: Main page

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 12 months ago

Generate IPA characters on your Mac


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First things first

You won't be able to use IPA on your Mac until you have an IPA font installed, and Mac doesn't install one by default. It is true that some Mac fonts have some IPA characters, but they lack a complete set. Just go to Cool free IPA fonts to download and get a real IPA font. If you need help installing it, go to How to install fonts on your computer


General stuff to know about using IPA on a Mac

The Character Palette

If you're going to be using IPA fonts for more than just viewing, you'll definitely want to make sure the Character Palette is enabled:

  1. From the Apple menu, go to System Preferences.
  2. Click on International.
  3. Click on Input Menu. 



























  4. If the Character Palette box is not checked, check it now.
  5. If you want to be able to easily bring up the Character Palette from your menu bar, click the box labeled Show Input Menu in Menu Bar.  An icon should appear to the left of the date and time displaying the symbol for your default input language and method.  If you click on the icon, "Show Character Palette" will be one of the available choices.


For more information on this from the Apple site, see:  http://www.apple.com/pro/techniques/glyphspalette/


Another way to enter IPA characters on the Mac is to use IPA Palette created by Brian Hall. IPA Palette creates a "keyboard" on your screen so you can just click on the characters to enter them:



IPA Palette is free and you can get it from http://www.blugs.com/IPA/ .


Typing Hex Codes on a Mac 

If you want to make use of the hex codes in the IPA chart to simply type IPA characters on the fly with your keyboard, you'll need to first enable the Unicode Hex Input keyboard (installed with OS X).  To do this:

  1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > International.
  2. Click the tab called either Input Menu or Keyboard Menu (whichever your OS version has).
  3. Check the keyboards you want to activate.  In this case, the one you want is called Unicode Hex Input.  (If you haven't yet enabled the Character Palette, you can do this now from the same screen.)
  4. Make sure "Show input menu in menu bar" is checked.
  5. Close the International control panel.


Now, when you want to type Unicode hex codes (Note: these are the codes with numbers in the range 0-9 and A-F.  Yes, A through F are numbers in hex world), switch keyboards from the flag icon drop-down menu on the upper right of your screen, then hold down the Option key and type the four-digit code corresponding to the IPA character you need.

(If the Unicode Hex Input keyboard is greyed out in the input menu, it means you're working in an application that doesn't support it.)


Office Applications


Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Publisher)


OpenOffice (Writer, Calc, Impress, Base)



Abiword word processor





Safari web browser


Firefox web browser


Opera web browser



Email Applications



Mac OS X Mail







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