IPA Transcription on a Computer

Install an IPA-enabled font

In order to be able to insert IPA transcription symbols, a unicode font needs to be used that contains these characters. From Windows Vista onwards, the fonts Arial, Courier New, Segoe UI, Tahoma and Times New Roman contain IPA symbols.

Alternatively, several fonts are available for download free of charge.

Arimo| Brill| Cardo| Charis SIL| DejaVu| Doulos SIL| Erewhon| Fira Sans| Gentium| Heuristica| Istok| Judson| Junicode| Lato| Linguistics Pro| Linux Libertine| Noto Sans| Noto Serif| Source Sans| Stix| Tinos

Inserting IPA Symbols

Open the software, in which you want to use IPA symbols, and select a font that contains IPA characters. IPA symbols that correspond to latin letters can be typed in regularly via the computer keyboard.

In order to insert IPA-specific symbols in Word or PowerPoint, select “Symbol” in the menu “Einfügen”. As font, select “(normaler Text)”. On the right hand side, you should now be able to select “IPA-Erweiterungen” in the “Subset” menu. As in unicode no symbol is assigned twice, you may have to find some symbols in other subsets, e.g. “œ” in “Extended Latin” or “θ” in “Greek”.

Alternatively, you can type a text on websites like Typeit. Symbols missing on your keyboard are inserted by clicking them on the screen. Afterwards, you copy and paste the text to the application of your choice.

Typeit IPA

Phonetic Keyboard

Layout Unicode Phonetic Keyboard

The UCL Phonetic keyboard is an additional keyboard driver that comes very handy for typing longer passages in transcription.

Unicode Phonetic Keyboard

To type IPA symbols, you change the keyboard layout by clicking the language symbol in the lower right corner next to the clock (e.g. „ENG“). Alternatively, press ALT+Shift to switch between keyboards. The keys for captital letters work differently now and by typing “I U S Z T D” with shift, the IPA symbols “ɪ ʊ ʃ ʒ θ ð” are inserted.

If you cannot see the keyboard icon, you may need to activate the keyboard driver. Go to the menu Einstellungen >> Zeit und Sprache >> Sprache >> Bevorzugte Sprachen and select “Bevorzugte Sprache hinzufügen”. Add “English (United Kingdom)” as a language and add the keyboard “Unicode Phonetic Keyboard (UCL) - 1.10” to this language.

Further keyboard drivers for other operating systems

Compose Key

Compose Key is a typing system for special characters mainly known from Linux, but it is also available for other operating systems. To enter special characters, you press the Compose key (on Windows the [Alt Gr] key, to right of space bar) and then enter a combination of two or more characters, which are often chosen very intuitively.

Wincompose(Compose Key for Windows, also available as a portable version without installation)

IPA on a Tablet or Smartphone

Also on mobile devices, you can enter IPA symbols relatively easily.

For short texts, it is also advisable to use a website, where you enter Latin letters via your keyboard and insert IPA-specific symbols by tapping the symbol on the display.

Typeit IPA

For writing longer passages, you can install an additional keyboard layout.



Gboard is the system keyboard provided by Google and may already be installed on your mobile device. If not, you can install it via Playstore and activate it in the settings.

Add "International Phonetic Alphabet" as an additional language. (Search for "international". Searching for "IPA" will yield no results).

You can select "QWERTY" (normal keyboard layout, press long for IPA symbols) or "IPA chart" (symbols are arranged by manner of articulation) as layout.

To switch between keyboard layouts, hold down the space bar.


IPA Phonetic Keyboard

Install the app from the Appstore. Click on the app for instructions on how to activate the keyboard layout in the settings.

To change the keyboard, press and hold the globe symbol.

IPA Schriftarten