Monday, April 28, 2008

More on Unicode Greek/Hebrew and Keyman

In the previous post, I listed some frustrations with Unicode Greek/Hebrew entry in Word2007.

In the responses, Rick Brannan provided a link to his own web page to convert Greek beta code to normalized Unicode. It works similarly to the Unicode Inputter I recommended.

Rod Decker, whose resources on Unicode I have used before, suggested using the old, free version of Tavultesoft Keyman 6.2. I checked with Tavultesoft, and they "no longer support or recommend Keyman 6.2." (You can follow the links on Rod's page to acquire it.) I have now downloaded the 30 day trial of Keyman 7.0 and can report that it works well, but here are a few other items to note:

  • Keyman 6.2 was only free for personal, home use. All other uses require a license to be purchased.
  • I can confirm that I tried out my old Keyman 6.2, and it works just fine in Word2007, but note that I am using WinXP. If you have Vista, you will need to use/buy 7.0.
  • If you get the Keyman Lite package, you only get 2 keyboards. If you want Greek, Hebrew, and (Syriac/Coptic...), you will have to bump up to the $59 Pro version.
  • It's a bit tricky setting up Hebrew as compared to Greek in Keyman 7.0.243 in order to get right-to-left working properly. This is supposed to be fixed in 7.0.245.
  • A nice thing about Keyman is the ability to have onscreen keyboard display. This is really handy to help find all those vowel points and such, ... but it only works if the keyboard installed provides the onscreen display.
  • Rod recommended Manuel Lopez' keyboard layout based on beta code which is the one I used to use and really like, but it does not have the onscreen display.
  • Another keyboard option for Greek and Hebrew is the one provided by Galaxie Software. (Look on this page.) Galaxie now provides this for free, and they do include onscreen displays for both Greek and Hebrew.
  • I can't find it on their website, but Tavultesoft's email response to me said that they offer a discounted price of $15 to students.
Bottom line:
  • To type quickly in Greek or Hebrew in Word2003, I would stick with the Logos keyboards that can be integrated within Windows.
  • If you are using Word2007, then Keyman 7.0 with the Galaxie keyboards looks like the best option.
  • If you want something easy to install and is free but has somewhat awkward Greek entry, you can use the Tyndale setup/keyboards.
(If you have experience with Greek/Hebrew Unicode entry in OpenOffice or on a Mac, please share your recommendations!)

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