IPA, IPA Fonts and Keyboards

In order to type IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) transcriptions into a linguistic databases or into a program such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice, we need to install fonts that have the IPA character set in them, and also a keyboard to easily type the symbols.

Unicode Fonts with the complete IPA character set

These are installed already on CanIL lab machines.

A number of fonts have most of the IPA character set in them including Arial, Times New Roman, etc. For linguistic studies though, you will need the entire IPA character set.

There are three freely available SIL font families that have the entire IPA character set.

You can choose a font to use based on your personal preferences or the stylesheet guidelines. Doulos SIL or Charis SIL are standard serif fonts that can be used for publishing papers.

There are instructions here on how to install fonts from a zip file: https://software.sil.org/fonts/installation/

Keyboards for IPA

The above fonts contain all the symbols for IPA but you will also need keyboarding software to make it easy to access the wide variety of symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet. There are a number of different software solutions listed below.

Windows Keyboard Layout for IPA

  • This is what we use in the CanIL lab.

  • Download the installer here: Link

    • You will need to unzip the file and then run the installer, then install the keyboard.

  • Keyboarding reference charts

    • One page double-sided reference: Link

    • Color-coded reference: Link

    • Full 4 page reference all keystrokes: Link

    • CanIL website: Link

Macintosh Keyboard Layout for IPA

  • Download the installer here: Link

    • You will need to follow the directions found on that page.

    • Extra information can be found here: Link

  • Keyboarding reference charts - use the same as the Windows keyboard

  • Alternatively, use Keyman. Refer to below.

Another keyboarding alternative: Keyman

Note: We recommend using the IPA keyboards above instead of Keyman unless you need a keyboard for Android or iOS.

Visit the following website: https://keyman.com/keyboards/sil_ipa The primary advantage of Keyman is that it can be installed on a wide-variety of platforms including Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android and iOS. There is not yet a plugin for Chromebooks (although apparently some recent Chromebooks allow installation of Android apps).

If you are looking for keyboards for indigenous languages, there may be a Keyman keyboard available for it already. You can see the list of the Keyman keyboards here: https://keyman.com/keyboards.

To install Keyman, refer to the instructions here (also posted in the file listing below).

Tutorial Guides

Advanced topics

https://scripts.sil.org/ is a site dedicated to script, font, encoding, and keyboarding issues.