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Page history last edited by Silent Rex 14 years, 8 months ago

  Setting up Opera for IPA on the web


Ah, you use Opera. Excellent choice! We are so impressed!


In case you are reading this just because you are curious about Opera, you should be aware that it is free and there are versions for both 32- and 64-bit Windows, MacOS and Linux. There are even versions for operating systems you may never have heard of, like BeOS, FreeBSD, Sparc and OS/2. You can get it here: http://www.opera.com.


 Viewing IPA on web sites with Opera

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 most of the time people's Opera is properly set up for viewing IPA right out of the box. 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 Opera for viewing IPA on web pages (see below).


Fixing Opera for viewing web pages

One of the things Opera lovers (the browser, not the stage production, silly) is that it is the most user-configurable of all the browsers out there. Opera offers a bewildering array of options, but we'll cut to the chase and show you where the ones are that are most likely to enhance your IPA viewing pleasure. If your Opera does not render the Browser test page correctly click on Tools (in the top menu), then on Preferences, then on the Advanced tab, and finally on "Fonts" in the options along the left side of the window. If you managed to follow those instructions you will get a window that looks like this:



(Side note: The above screenshot is from Opera 9.5 on a Linux computer using a particular desktop theme. Don't fret if the borders around the window are different on your computer. Opera works the same way on all operating systems.)


Looking at the above window, note that you can select any font installed on your computer for all the different pieces of web pages. Talk about customization options! The user of the computer where that screenshot was taken had installed the Junicode font (get Junicode and other IPA fonts from Cool free IPA fonts to download) and had set "Web page normal text" to it. The font you set "Web page normal text" to is the one that you probably need to make sure has a complete set of IPA characters.


However, having said that, there is another problem. Most web designers these days set their pages to use a particular font. If so, Opera will display the page using that font instead of the one you specify in "Web page normal text." The only time the page will use Junicode for this user is if the web page is set to a font that the user does not have installed. So you should also make sure that you have the "eleven core fonts" installed:


Andale Mono    Courier New Trebuchet MS
Arial Georgia Verdana
Arial Black Impact Webdings
Comic Sans Times New Roman









These are called the "eleven core fonts" because (theoretically) all operating systems install them by default. Clever web designers know this, so when they set a font on a web page they try to stick to these eleven fonts. Ever wonder why reading web pages for a long time makes your eyes fall out? Ever wonder why web page designs are so horrible? 'Cause these eleven fonts would all win an ugly contest. Now you know.


But here's the rub: None of the eleven core fonts have a 100% complete list of IPA characters. They tend to be especially lacking in the combining diacriticals (to see what "combining diacriticals" means download a list of IPA characters here: Download IPA chart). Worse, each operating system installs a slightly different version of the eleven fonts. So even if you set Opera to the most awesome IPA font, a given page may still not view correctly.


So what do you do? If a web page does not view properly, go back to Tools in the top menu (or to Opera in the top menu on a Mac), then click on Preferences, then on the Advanced tab, and then on "Content" in the options along the left side of the window. This should give you a window that looks like this:





And then click on the Manage Site Preferences button. This should popup a window like this:



Check all the boxes as we have in the above screenshot, then cliick on the Presentation Modes tab and check all the boxes as we have like this:



That should do it, but if it does not, there is one other possibility. Go back to the top menu and click on View, then on Source. If you do this for this page in our wiki your screen will suddenly change to this:



Omigod! What the heck is this? Well, calm down, it's just the source code that pbwiki uses to display the page in your browser. Fortunately you don't have to understand it really. All you have to do is scan through the gibberish looking for the name of a font. In the case of this page you will find eventually find "Verdana." That's because we set all our pages to Verdana, one of the eleven core fonts. But if you are looking at a page with IPA on it somewhere and it does not display correctly, and by looking at the Source you find the font that the page is set to, you may get joy if you can upgrade your version of that font. Remember, we said that all operating systems install the same eleven core fonts, but they vary somewhat? That's what we're talking about. Maybe the version of the font installed on your computer doesn't have all the IPA characters you need in order to display the page completely. If so, Google for a replacement or update and install it using How to install fonts.


Entering IPA in online forms and webmail with Opera


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 Opera 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+<something> (or Option+<something> on a Mac), 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 Opera may not be set to a font that has a complete set of IPA characters. To get to the spot to specify the text font, go back to Tools (or the Opera menu on a Mac), click on Preferences again (see first screenshot above), and then click on Fonts. That will get you back to the first screenshot above. Now, looking at the list of fonts and all the different parts of a web page, note that the top two are "E-mail compose" and "E-mail display." Using the Choose button to the right select a font that you know has a good set of IPA characters and set it to this font. Do this also for "Text field multi-line" and "Text field single line." If you set these four to Junicode your window should look like the first screenshot above.


Using Opera's e-mail utility

Opera comes with a marvelous e-mail tool. It is a nice alternative to e-mail clients like Outlook, Eudora, and others. If you have followed the above instructions (particularly the part immediately above in Entering IPA in online foms and webmail with Opera), this functionality should work perfectly. Remember, you will have to enter the characters with whatever method works on your operating system (Alt+<something>/Option+<something>, Character Map/Character Palette, different keyboard, or whatever).


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