Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web
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Unicode Polytonic Greek
for the World Wide Web

The Windows 4.x Family (Windows 95/98 Family)

Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition,
and Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME)

Windows 95 and its successors (Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millenium Edition) are all based upon Microsoft's previous operating system product, the Microsoft Disk Operating System, or MS-DOS. Like the later versions of MS-DOS upon which they are based, the Windows 4.x family (as we will call them) was designed around support for character sets with 256 code points (the so-called code pages). So while certain applications for Windows 95 and Windows 98 do have Unicode support (Internet Explorer, Netscape 4, 6, and 7, Microsoft Office, and a number of specialized programs), most applications designed for Windows 95 and Windows 98 do not.

To view a Unicode document on the web with one of the Windows 4.x operating systems, you have to have a Unicode-capable font and a Unicode-capable browser.

Installing the Fonts

Installing TrueType fonts on Windows is easy. All you have to do is to download the font to an easily accessible folder (for instance, the Desktop). Next, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel (or My Computer > Control Panel in Windows 98) and double-click to open the Fonts folder. Now, holding down the control key, drag the font file into the Fonts folder. This has the effect of copying the font to the folder. The font should appear in the folder window in alphabetical order; right-click on the font and select the Properties to check to make sure it's ok. Your font should now be accessible to almost every Windows application, including the web browsers.

Installing the Browser

The earlier versions of Windows 95 came with Internet Explorer 3.0, which is not an effective Unicode browser. Later versions, and Windows 98, came with Internet Explorer 4.0. Windows 98 SE comes with Internet Explorer 5.0, and Windows ME comes with Internet Explorer 5.5. Internet Explorer is preinstalled on Windows 9x/ME versions; in fact, Internet Explorer is merely a specialized instance of the main Window manager, Windows Explorer. What this means is that if you have Windows 98/SE/ME, you don't have to do anything to install a Unicode-capable browser: there's one in the operating system. It also means that Internet Explorer will work faster than Netscape (4, 6, or 7), Mozilla, Opera, or any other browser because it loads when the operating system loads.

These facts, and the usability and greater standards support relative to Netscape 4.x (but not relative to Netscape 7 and it's sibling Mozilla), tend to make Internet Explorer the preferred web browser for current Windows users.

For those of you who do prefer Netscape products, you may already have a version of Netscape capable of reading Unicode Polytonic Greek: Netscape 4.x (which is to say, Netscape 4.0, 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7). However, I would suggest upgrading to Netscape 7, which is faster and more reliable than Netscape 6, and a far more accurate browser than Netscape 4)

Mozilla, the open-source browser upon which Netscape is based, is preferred by many advanced users. Mozilla's support of Unicode is about the same as that in Netscape 7.

Opera 6 also provides Unicode support.


Because Unicode support isn't completely integrated into Windows 95 and Windows 98, there are a number of limitations. First, you can't use Unicode in a DOS console (MS-DOS window). You can't use Unicode in Notepad or Wordpad (unlike in Windows XP). And often you can't use Unicode in input boxes on web pages.

To type polytonic Greek in Windows 98, you will need two things: a Unicode-compatible application, and a Unicode-compatible keyboard alternative. For applications, the Microsoft Office suite (versions 97, 2000, and XP) applications all provide Unicode support, as does OpenOffice. The Outlook Express e-mail application provides Unicode support in more recent versions (versions 5 and 6 certainly). And there are text editing programs you can download like SCUnipad.

Text Editors


Word Processing Applications

Microsoft Word


Three keyboard alternatives with polytonic Greek keyboards for Windows applications are in wide use in North America: Tavultesoft Keyman, Multikey, and Antioch. Antioch only works with Microsoft Office (in particular, Microsoft Word), while Keyman and Multikey work with other applications.

Tavultesoft Keyman

Tavultesoft Keyman is an alternative keyboard program that allows you to use custom-designed keyboards for input. This is a boon to minority languages which are represented in Unicode but are not represented in Microsoft's keyboard offerings.

Keyman works with Microsoft Word in the versions described in this section, and works with other programs. At the time of writing, Keyman 6.0 sold for $39 for non-personal use, $19 for non-personal educational use, and free for personal use (including personal educational use).

Lukas Pietsch, Manuel A. Lopez, and David Perry have created keyboards for polytonic Greek for use with Keyman.




Antioch is a Greek, Hebrew, and Coptic text entry system that works with Microsoft Word 97 and 2000, and Greek and Coptic in Word XP. In addition to programmable keyboards for these scripts and the Vusillus Old Face font (not just the free italic version of the font), Antioch also includes scripts that will allow you to convert Greek text in older encodings to Unicode, AutoCorrect features, and other macros that will make it more valuable to most users than the other keyboards listed above. On the other hand, Antioch is not free software (the price at the time of writing was $50), and it can only be used in Microsoft Word, not in OpenOffice.

 Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web Version 0.9.7
 Copyright © 1998-2002 Patrick Rourke. All rights reserved.
D R A F T - Under Development
 Please do not treat this as a published work until it is finished!
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