El UEA-vikio
Iri al: navigado, serĉi

How can I type and display Esperanto's accented characters?

Esperanto has six letters with accents: c, g, h, j, and s can have a circumflex accent (^), and u can have a breve accent (similar to the lower half of a small circle).

All modern operating systems, word processing programs, etc., can handle these characters. Usually all that is required is to type some combination of keys to represent them. However, "dumb" terminals generally cannot overstrike accents with arbitrary characters, and so cannot display Esperanto's accented characters, or any other language with accents.


(Thanks to Arnold Victor and Dmitri Horowitz for preparing the following information.)

Fonts with Esperanto's accented characters are available for use under Mac OS. Due to the lack of a generally accepted standard encoding, several encodings are currently in use; however, ISO 8859-3 (also called [http://czyborra.com/charsets/iso8859.html Latin-3]) is becoming more and more common. Apple has proposed a different standard encoding called "MacEsperanto".

To type Esperanto's accented characters conveniently, use an Esperanto keyboard layout. Each encoding corresponds to a particular keyboard layout; thus, if you are using a Latin-3 font, you must also use the Latin-3 keyboard layout.

Fonts are installed as follows:

  • Quit all applications first.
  • Put the Esperanto font files in the Fonts folder in the System Folder.

(Or drag-drop the font file on the System Folder icon and it will automatically be placed in the right folder.)

Keyboard layouts are installed as follows:

  • Quit all applications first.
  • Put the keyboard layout file in the System suitcase in the System

Folder. (Or drag-drop the keyboard layout file on the System Folder icon; when the dialog appears, confirm that you want the file placed in the right folder.)

To use Esperanto fonts in an application, do the following:

  • Use the Keyboard control panel (under Control Panels in the Apple

menu) to select the appropriate keyboard layout. Esperanto keyboard layouts are usually symbolized by a green star or by the Esperanto flag (a green flag with a star in the upper left corner).

  • Choose an Esperanto font with the same encoding as the keyboard layout

in the application.

With most keyboard layouts, including Latin-3, the accented characters are typed by pressing the Option key together with the letter to be accented. For example, Option and lowercase c will type the accented letter c^, Option and uppercase C will type the accented letter C^, and so on. With some keyboard layouts, the accented character u^ is placed under Option-w.

You can check the location of the accented characters as follows:

  • Make sure the appropriate keyboard layout is selected.
  • Open the Key Caps desk accessory in the Apple menu.
  • Select an Esperanto font with the same encoding as the keyboard layout

from the Key Caps menu.

  • Check the keyboard layout displayed with the Option key, with the

Shift key, and with both the Option and Shift keys pressed.

A keyboard menu will let you switch between keyboard layouts more conveniently. It appears on the menu bar to the left of the application menu, which is itself on the outer right. It can be recognized by the small flag which shows the selected keyboard layout.

With Mac OS version 8, a keyboard menu appears automatically when more than one keyboard is selected in the Keyboard control panel (under Control Panels in the Apple menu).

If you are using Mac OS version 7.x, you must install a system extension to have the keyboard menu. A shareware extension called Outboard Keyboard (5 USD) can be downloaded as part of the package Carpetbag.

Install it as follows:

  • Put the extension in the Extensions folder in the System Folder. (Or

drag-drop the keyboard layout file on the System Folder icon; when the dialog appears, confirm that you want the file placed in the right folder.)

  • Restart the computer.

Esperanto fonts with matching keyboard layouts can be downloaded from the following locations:

Pseudo Latin-3 font by Bruno Masala]

Eindhoven University of Technology FTP archive, fonts directory]

WorldScript Macintosh Software, by Michael Everson]

Everson Mono 8859, by Michael Everson]

The following resources are useful when using Esperanto in Internet applications:

Plug-in tables] for the popular mailing program Eudora which allow you to send and receive messages in MacEsperanto, Latin-3, and Code Page 853. Bitmap fonts and a keyboard layout are included.

  • A detailed description of

[ftp://mirror.apple.com/mirrors/info-mac/info/convert-esperanto-fonts-14.hqx how to convert Unicode TrueType Fonts] From MS-Windows To MacEsperanto. The fonts are freely available from Microsoft.


WordPerfect 5.1 natively supports Esperanto's accented characters.

To display the Esperanto characters, select the 512-character screen from the Setup menu: do Shift-F1, 2, 1, 5.

To type an accented character, type Ctrl-V and the code (including the comma) as listed in the file CARACTER.DOC:

Letter:      Ĉ       ĉ       Ĝ       ĝ       Ĥ       ĥ
Code:        1,100   1,101   1,122   1,123   1,126   1,127

Letter:      Ĵ       ĵ       Ŝ       ŝ       Ŭ       ŭ
Code:        1,140   1,141   1,180   1,181   1,188   1,189

You can also type Ctrl-V followed by the character and the accent mark; for example, Ctrl-V, C, ^, gives C-circumflex. However, there is no breve on the keyboard, so u-breve cannot be done this way.

Lowercase circumflexed j looks lousy in most fonts, so many users prefer to use a regular j and overstrike a circumflex accent: Shift-F8, 4, 5, 1, j, ^ (you may have to press the ^ key twice for the symbol to appear), Return, Return, Return.

Your editor finds it convenient to use a macro called Alt-c to type c-circumflex, Alt-g to type g-circumflex, and so on. The letters can then be converted to upper case if desired by using Block (Alt-F4, or F12) and then Switch (Shift-F3, 1).

If you wish to type and see the accented characters with a program that does not natively support them, for example, a text editor, then you can use the freeware programs VGA-ESP and Klavint.

[ftp://ftp.stack.nl/pub/esperanto/software.dir/iloj.zip VGA-ESP] makes the 12 accented characters available on the monitor. The only requirement is to have an EGA, VGA or Super VGA video card -- any computer bought after 1985 should be fine.

[ftp://ftp.stack.nl/pub/esperanto/software.dir/iloj.zip Klavint] is available in the same archive as VGA-ESP. It provides an easy way to type these characters in applications that don't support them natively. Once Klavint is installed, you can type the accented characters by using the semi-colon key. For example, ;c will give the letter c^ and ;g will give the letter g^. Other options are also available, as explained in the documentation.

Source code in assembler is available for both VGA-ESP and Klavint; the programs are copyrighted but free.

Windows 3.1 and Windows 95

Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 are very similar in this respect, so we'll deal with them at the same time, indicating any differences.

Many fonts with the necessary accented characters are available at the following locations:

Esperanto-kupolo, Belgium]

Eindhoven University of Technology FTP archive, fonts directory]

To view True Type fonts without having to install them, use the freeware program [ftp://ftp.ntu.edu.au/pub/fonttools/trows101.zip Trowser].

Esperanto fonts are also included with the commercial program WordPerfect for Windows.

To install new fonts under Windows 3.1, go to the group Main, open Control Panel, then open Fonts. Choose "Add", indicate the font's location, and choose OK.

Under Windows 95, go to the Control Panel and open Fonts. In the File menu, choose "Install New Fonts", indicate the font's location, and choose OK.

Another option is to use the freeware program [ftp://ftp.stack.nl/pub/esperanto/software.dir/ss41zip.exe Supersigno], which automatically adds the necessary characters to your existing fonts.

To type the accented characters, use the "Character Map" program, located in the Accessories group. Choose your font, then click on the character. You can either use Double-Click, Copy and Paste to copy the character to your application or, more simply, use the keystroke combination indicated in the bottom right corner of the Character Map display.

Almost all Esperanto fonts use the [http://czyborra.com/charsets/iso8859.html Latin-3] coding. Here are the keystrokes for these fonts. In all cases, press and hold the Alt key, type the code using the numeric keypad (not the numbers on the top row of the alphabetic keypad), and release the Alt key.

Letter:      Ĉ       ĉ       Ĝ       ĝ       Ĥ       ĥ
Code:        0198    0230    0216    0248    0166    0182

Letter:      Ĵ       ĵ       Ŝ       ŝ       Ŭ       ŭ
Code:        0172    0188    0222    0254    0221    0253

Under Windows 3.1, you may find it easier to use the Recorder application (in Accessories) to create macros for these keystroke combinations. Recorder is no longer included with Windows 95, but you can copy it from a Windows 3.1 installation and run it under Windows 95. Remember that Recorder must be running to replay a macro.

Here's how to create a macro that will automatically type c-circumflex when you press Ctrl-C. (These instructions are adapted from the on-line help for Recorder.)

  • Position the cursor in the application where you want to start

recording the macro.

  • Switch to Recorder.
  • From the Macro menu, choose Record.
  • In the appropriate boxes, specify a macro name (for example,

c-accent) and the shortcut key (Ctrl-C). You can also type a description, if you want.

  • To begin recording the macro, choose the Start button.
  • Type the keystrokes for c-circumflex (Alt-0230). [This only works for

me if I type the keystroke combination twice. I have no idea why. -- Ed.]

  • To stop recording, click the Recorder icon, or press Ctrl-Break.
  • Select the Save Macro option and choose the OK button.
  • From the File menu, choose Save As and save the macro.

Another way to type the accented characters is to use the freeware program Keys. This program provides a convenient way to remap the keyboard. Yet another option is to use the program [ftp://ftp.stack.nl/pub/esperanto/software.dir/ss41zip.exe Supersigno] mentioned above, which also provides an easier way to type the accented characters.

[To do: Evaluate and add Ek for Windows 95/98/XP.]


(Thanks to Konrad Hinsen for the following information.)

It is sometimes possible to install a font with Esperanto's accented characters on a Unix system not using the X Window System, but the procedure to do so is different for each Unix system and possibly for each terminal type. Look in your documentation, or ask your system administrator. In the case of Linŭ, there is a fairly standardized procedure if you are working on an EGA/VGA screen. Check the documentation of the command setfont, which is part of most Linŭ distributions.

If you are using a Unix system with X11 (by far the most popular windowing system for Unix), you must install a text font with ISO 8859-3 encoding (also known as [http://czyborra.com/charsets/iso8859.html Latin-3]). Several such fonts are listed at [http://www.esperanto.be/tiparoj.html Esperanto-kupolo, Belgium].

Marko Rauhamaa has prepared a good font set which contains ISO 8859-3 versions of the Adobe fonts Courier, Times, Helvetica, and New Century Schoolbook in several sizes. It also contains installation instructions.

Once you have installed an appropriate font, you must tell your programs to use it. Most X11 programs, e.g. xterm or emacs, accept the option "-fn fontname" to specify the font to be used. X11 font names can be rather long and complicated; use the program "xfontsel" to select a font and obtain its full name. Note that some older Unix programs are not "8-bit clean", which means that they do not recognize characters with codes over 128 as letters. Such programs cannot be made to work with ISO 8859-3 fonts, but neither with the common ISO 8859-1 (or [http://czyborra.com/charsets/iso8859.html Latin-1]) fonts used for Western European languages.

To write in Esperanto, you must also be able to type accented characters. Unfortunately, this is a much more difficult problem. The X11 input system is, well, rather messy, and details differ between versions and vendors. Another problem is that different keyboards are used in different countries, and that you probably want to keep all the characters on your keyboard accessible. So there are two problems: deciding how you want to type the additional characters, and persuading X11 to arrange the keyboard correctly.

Basically, the options for typing Esperanto characters are:

  • Via some unused keys or key combinations. Keys that are

often unused are the function keys or the shifted numeric keypad keys. Assigning the Esperanto characters to such unused keys is rather straightforward, and will be explained below.

  • Via the standard keys plus a modifier. Modifiers are keys such

as Shift, Control, Meta, or Alt. The Shift combinations are usually all taken, and Control, Meta and Alt are used by many programs for command entry, so in most cases this option is difficult to realize.

  • Via the compose key. X11 supports the entry of accented characters

via a special "compose" key. Unfortunately, many programs don't work correctly with the compose key, and most X11 implementations support it only for the ISO 8859-1 character set. You may be able to work around these obstacles, but no general recommendations can be given.

The first option is implemented as follows:

  • Create a file called .xmodmaprc in your home directory, containing

the following lines:

== File .xmodmaprc ============================================
! Define Esperanto accented characters on shifted function keys
! ccircumflex
keysym F1 = F1 ae
! Ccircumflex
keysym F2 = F2 AE
! gcircumflex
keysym F3 = F3 oslash
! Gcircumflex
keysym F4 = F4 Ooblique
! hcircumflex
keysym F5 = F5 paragraph
! Hcircumflex
keysym F6 = F6 brokenbar
! jcircumflex
keysym F7 = F7 onequarter
! Jcircumflex
keysym F8 = F8 notsign
! scircumflex
keysym F9 = F9 thorn
! Scircumflex
keysym F10 = F10 THORN
! ubreve
keysym F11 = F11 yacute
! Ubreve
keysym F12 = F12 Yacute
== End of .xmodmaprc ==========================================
  • Execute the command xmodmap $HOME/.xmodmaprc.

To have this command executed automatically, you must put it into a special file, which might be called .xinitrc, .xsession or something else; you will have to ask your system administrator for assistance.

The keyboard definition shown above will put the 12 special Esperanto characters on the 12 function keys when used together with the Shift key.

Other Operating Systems

I'd like to add information on other operating systems, especially OS/2 and Windows NT. Please contact me if you wish to help with this.

TeX And LaTeX

(Thanks to Edmund Grimley-Evans for this information.)

TeX And LaTeX are professional typesetting systems, available as free software for most computers. Though they are not always easy to use, they are extremely flexible; they are the standard tool for typesetting scientific articles and are often used for complex typesetting in the humanities.

With TeX Or LaTeX any diacritic can be applied to any character, so it is no harder to produce c-circumflex (\^c) than e-acute (\'e), say. A large number of "style files" exist to facilitate the use of particular languages; [ftp://ftp.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/macros/latex209/contrib/misc/esperant.sty esperant.sty] and [ftp://ftp.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/macros/latex209/contrib/misc/espo.sty espo.sty] both allow Esperanto's diacritics to be entered as "^C ... ^u", and the same convention is used by the Babel package for LaTeX2e which supports about 30 language, including Esperanto.

The programs produce "^j" by putting a circumflex onto a dotless j. Although TeX's default Computer Modern font has a dotless j (\j), most commercial fonts, including those that are built into laser printers, do not. There is a work-around, available as [http://www.rano.demon.co.uk/dotlessj.html dotlessj.sty], that involves blanking out the dot on an ordinary j.

Note that the Babel package does not include a hyphenation table for Esperanto so it is usually best to discourage automatic hyphenation (\hyphenpenalty=5000) and specify the hyphenation of particular words where required (\hyphenation{Esp-er-anto}).

Back to FAQ about Esperanto