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| Dialekt Uni| Doulos SIL| Fira Sans| Gentium| Heuristica| Istok| Judson| Junicode| Lato| Linux Libertine| Noto Sans| Noto Serif| Source Sans Pro| Stix| Tinos| Voces

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.

Since in unicode no symbol is assigned twice, some IPA symbols may have to be looked for in other subsets, e.g. “œ” in “Extended Latin” or “θ” in “Greek”.

Keyboards for IPA

For typing longer transcriptions, it is useful to install an alternate keyboard driver. This allows the keyboard layout to be temporarily changed. Without shift key, lower case letters can then be typed as usual, with shift IPA-specific symbols can be entered. So the input “I U S Z T D”, for instance, will render the IPA symbols “ɪ ʊ ʃ ʒ θ ð”.

Unicode Phonetic Keyboard

A keyboard layout for Mac OS is offered by SIL under the name Ukulele.


If the keyboard driver does not work on your system or if you are using a computer that is not your own, you can use the TypeIt Screen Keyboard. Type your text into a browser window, using your keyboard for roman letter symbols and clicking on-screen buttons for all other.

TypeIt Online Keyboard