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

Quick Start Guide

How to Use This Page

The instructions on this page will help you to configure your computer system to allow you to read Unicode-compatible polytonic Greek web pages with the least necessary effort. It is organized into sections for each commonly used operating system. The most current of these common operating systems (Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Macintosh OS X, and versions 7.0 and higher of the RedHat distribution of GNU/Linux) are listed first; then older versions are listed (Windows 98, Windows NT, Macintosh OS 9, RedHat Linux 6.2, and BeOS 5). Operating systems I have not been able to test myself for one reason or another are listed last for the sake of completeness.

After you have read the Quick Start instructions for your operating system, and have verified that you can at least read the text from Euripides in the introduction, you should continue through this site by referring to the detailed page for your platform (which is linked from the end of the relevant Quick Start section). The platform page describes how to install an input method or keyboard for entering Unicode polytonic Greek on your platform (if one is available), how to install fonts (with a link to the fonts that are available for your platform and support Unicode polytonic Greek), what other web browsers are available for your platform with support for Unicode polytonic Greek, and what other applications (besides web browsers) are available for your platform with support for Unicode polytonic Greek. Each browser and application (including email applications, text editors, WYSIWYG web page editors, and word processing applications) for your platform which has been tested and found to have such support is discussed on its own page, linked from the relevant platform page.

If your main interest is in publishing Greek on the World Wide Web, after you have read the sections on your platform, on the fonts available, on web browsers (whichever is your preferred platform, if you plan on publishing to the web you should read the sections on Internet Explorer, Netscape 4, and Mozilla, the three most widely used browsers), and on the text editors or WYSIWYG editors available for your platform, you should next (if you have not already done so) refer to the detailed discussion on Unicode characters, normalization forms, and encodings, and then look at the section on creating Unicode polytonic Greek web pages using XHTML and CSS. Finally, there are additional sections which provide further details on implementation of Unicode texts for classicists, including some samples of texts and PERL code to help you get started.

Please proceed to the quick start section discussing your platform.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP

Windows 2000 and XP are capable of viewing documents with polytonic Greek out of the box, displaying precomposed characters via Palatino Linotype, and combining diacriticals via Lucida Sans Unicode. Make sure on installing Windows XP that you enable multilanguage support (and if you're interested in Hebrew, Sanskrit, or Asian Languages, you should also add support for complex and Asian languages).

Windows 2000 comes with Internet Explorer 5.0. Windows XP comes with a stable version of Internet Explorer 6. One can also use Netscape/Mozilla browsers in both versions of Windows as described above for Windows 95/98.

In Windows 2000 and XP, Notepad can be used with the polytonic Greek keyboard supplied on the Windows XP CD or Windows 2000 CD to type polytonic Greek. In XP, simply set Palatino Linotype as your font in Notepad, and install the polytonic Greek keyboard using the 'add settings' command in the start menu. Detailed instructions will be made available in the future.

This screenshot is a shot of the text on the first page in Internet Explorer 6 beta on Windows XP beta.

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Windows 2000

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Windows XP

Mac OS X

Apple's Macintosh OS X operating system is not based upon OS 9; it is instead based upon the Berkeley Standard Distribution of UNIX, the Mach kernel, and the NeXTStep operating sytem libraries. In other words, it is really a NeXT operating system for Macintosh hardware. This is a good thing, especially for Unicode, but it does take some getting used to.

To use Unicode polytonic Greek in OS X, copy one of the Unicode TrueType fonts listed on the fonts page (like CODE2000) into the ~/Library/Fonts/ directory. (For you happy few who've never worked with a UNIX OS before, that tilde stands for your home directory - the folder that shows up in the finder window when you click the Home button. It usually has your user name as its name, and is actually /home/myusername/Library/Fonts/.) This will make the font available to you, but not to other users on your Mac (if you have multiple user names installed. To make a font usable by ALL users, you have to enable the root account and make the changes there. Note that you do NOT have to convert the font into a Macintosh font. Next, install OmniWeb 4, which is available from the Omni Group website or your iDisk (at Software::Mac OS X Software::Applications::Internet Utilities::OmniWeb-4.0.5). (You may have to restart, I don't know why - theoretically one should never have to restart a UNIX machine.) You should now be able to read Unicode polytonic Greek web pages that utilize precomposed characters. However, you may find pages utiziling combining diacriticals unreadable due to poor accent placement.

Netscape and the Mozilla open source community are currently working on adding Unicode support to the Mozilla and Netscape 6.x browsers for Macintosh OS X. In OS X, Mozilla has flawed Unicode support (for instance, the pi is rendered wrongly in many fonts).

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Macintosh OS X

RedHat 7.0 GNU/Linux

RedHat 7 with GNOME

Mozilla M18 and RedHat 7.0 display Unicode Greek with combining diacriticals out of the box (thanks to XFree86 4.0), but there are artifacts that make for readability issues (XFree86 isn't able to display combining diacriticals in the same character space as the characters they modify, so there are a lot of extra spaces when you read Greek texts with combining diacriticals in Mozilla on an XFree86 4.0-capable Linux distribution (this may be due to bugs in Mozilla-for-Linux's implementation of CSS1 or CSS2 in a UTF-8 environment). But the Greek is readable). There are other kinks, too.

RedHat 7 with KDE

The KDE web browser/file manager Konqueror reports full Unicode capabilities, within the limitations of the fonts. On a clean install of RedHat 7.0, installing the KDE 1.93 RPMs in the Previews folder of RH7 Disk 2, Konqueror read the font page of UPGW3, with polytonic Greek, out of the box. I have not yet tested combining diacriticals, but as the flaw in combining diacriticals support is in X and not the window manager or GUI toolkit, it is unlikely that Konqueror supports them.

RedHat 7: The Command Line

Reportedly possible, but I have not yet succeeded.

Continue to Detailed Instructions for RedHat 7 and other Linux Distributions with XFree86 4.x

Windows 95 Family

The Windows 95 family of operating systems includes Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition.

To view a Unicode document on the web with Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition (and so to create a Unicode document on the web), you have to have a Unicode-capable font and a Unicode-capable browser.

Because Unicode support isn't completely integrated into Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition, there are a number of limitations, which will be discussed in the Windows 95 platform section.

Install a Font

  1. Download a font that supports combining diacrticals (for Perseus, Suda On Line, and Bryn Mawr Classical Review) and/or precomposed characters (this page, or any site that follows the World Wide Web Consortium's Recommendations) from one of the links in the following table and save it to an easily accessible folder (for instance, the Desktop).
  2. Click the Start button
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click the Control Panel
  5. Double-click the Fonts folder
  6. Holding down the control key, drag the font file into the Fonts folder (This installs the font)

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. Then restart your computer. Your font should now be accessible to almost every Windows application, including the web browsers.

For more details on each font, see Appendix A: Unicode Fonts with Support for Polytonic Greek, or click on the font name to navigate directly to the font description.

Font Works with
Arial Unicode MS precomposed combining
Aisa Unicode precomposed Diffult to test
Athena Unicode precomposed Crashes
Code2000 precomposed combining
Vusillus Old Face Italic precomposed combining
Titus Cyberbit Basic precomposed combining
Cardo Under development Under development
Palatino Linotype precomposed Faulty
Georgia Greek Unicode precomposed In progress
Lucida Sans Unicode No combining


Install a Browser

If you have Windows 98, you have Internet Explorer 4. If you have Windows 98 Special Edition, you have Internet Explorer 5. If you have Windows Millennium edition, you have Internet Explorer 5.5. All three of these browsers are capable of displaying Unicode polytonic Greek with the correct font. (If you have a Windows 9x operating system, avoid Internet Explorer 6.0, which works well with Windows XP, but not with Windows 98SE). If you have one of these operating systems, and you're satisfied with Microsoft's products, skip ahead to Configuring Internet Explorer.

The earlier versions of Windows 95 came with Internet Explorer 3.0, which is not an effective Unicode browser. If you have Windows 95, open Internet Explorer and select

For those of you who 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). If you have a version of Netscape higher than 4.5, you should be relatively ok. If you don't, consider upgrading to Netscape 4.78 or Netscape 6.1.

If you do prefer Netscape products but have a version of Netscape earlier than 4.5, I would strongly suggest that you download Netscape 4.78: You can go to the Netscape website and click the "Download" link to download Netscape 4.78.

Netscape 6.1, the current Mozilla-based release of Netscape, is a far superior product to Netscape 6.0. When Netscape 6.2 comes out in the near future, it should be superior in every way to Netscape 4.79 (which is also coming out in the near future).

Finally, you can install Mozilla, the open source browser upon which Netscape 6.1 is based, currently being developed by Netscape in cooperation with an open-source community, by downloading the installation version (installer.exe) for Windows from http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/release-notes/. Note, though, that Mozilla is beta-quality software - it is more advanced than Netscape 6.1, and lacks some of the annoying bells and whistles (like AOL Instant Messenger, though it does have the e-mail and composer clients), but it is less stable, and each daily build introduces new features and new bugs. Mozilla is not for the faint of heart.

Once everything is installed, restart your computer.

If you have a Unicode font, you've followed these instructions, and you are looking at this page, you should see the Greek just fine. Note that Web browsers usually can detect whether a page is encoded in Unicode by something called a META tag; if the web designer included a META tag indicating the UTF-8 encoding (the most popular of the Unicode encodings for use on web pages), from here on Netscape should automatically select Unicode when it's needed. Unfortunately, most web designers don't include the encoding META tag; for those pages (including e.g. Perseus), you may have to select View > Character Set > Unicode (UTF-8) the first time you access a Unicode page on that site (from then on it should be ok for that session at least).

Configuring Your Browser


Configuring Microsoft Internet Explorer

Once you have Internet Explorer running, all you have to do to enable Unicode is to

Configuring Netscape Navigator 4.7

Configuring Mozilla and Netscape 6.x

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Windows 95/98/ME

Windows NT

Although Windows 2000 and Windows XP are part of the Windows NT family, Windows NT has slightly different support for Unicode and will be treated separately. Information on Windows NT will be made available when I have had a chance to test Windows NT more thoroughly. However, Windows NT should be considered an obsolete operating system.

For now, if you are not able to view Unicode-compatible web pages on Windows NT without intervention, please follow the instructions for Windows 95-Windows ME.

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Windows NT

Windows CE/PocketPC

Theoretically Windows CE and PocketPC provide support for Unicode; however, I have been unable to test a Windows CE system. If anyone has tested support for Unicode in Windows CE or PocketPC and has screenshots, please contact me at unicodegreek@methymna.com.

MacOS Family (pre-OS X)

Apple's Macintosh operating systems prior to OS X provide Unicode support through the ATSUI libraries; however, almost no applications have been written to take advantage of those libraries. The result is that for all intents and purposes, one can consider Macintosh OS 9.2 and earlier versions to be unable to read or write Unicode.

The one application that can read and write Unicode in Mac OS 9 (and some versions of OS 8) is WorldWrite. The subsection on the Mac OS 9 Platform will explain how to install ATSUI support and the WorldWrite application. However, to type Unicode, you will have to type one character at a time using the Unicode Hex Input keyboard method.

Continue to Detailed Instructions for MacOS9

Linux Distributions Without XFree86 4.x (example RedHat 6.2 GNU/Linux)

I've managed to get Mozilla M18 to display Unicode Greek in RedHat 6.2, both with combining diacriticals (though with some flaws) and with precomposed characters (the latter using Athena). One must install separate support files in the font server for Unicode and add encoding listings for Unicode fonts to the encoding.dir files in the font directories. In other words, this is not a quick start issue. I have notes toward an appendix on installing Unicode on RedHat Linux 6.2 which will also help with other Linux distributions using versions of XFree86 before 4.0, but are probably incomplete.

Continue to Detailed Instructions for Linux (without XFree86)

BeOS 5

Continue to Detailed Instructions for BeOS

Other Operating Systems

Operating systems which report Unicode support have been empahsized.


The author of this site makes no guarantee or warrantee that the instructions provided will work and will not damage your computer. They worked for him. Anything that happens is your own fault.

 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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