I'd like to type macrons on (OS X | Windows | Ubuntu | other), but my keyboard doesn't have an
ā key. How can I add macrons to my vowels?
I don't want to copy them from this strangely convenient list:
On OS X, it's easy. Just hold down the vowel you want and select the macron-ized version: ā.
If you're typing a lot of these, I'd recommend adding "ABC Extended" as a keyboard layout (in System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources. Now you can type alta, then the vowel: ā ē ī
Or, if you like, you can copy them from here:
The most convenient way I've ever seen happens on Linux. You can use the compose key. Then you simply type
Compose, -, o to get an ō. Or you type
Compose, ^, o to get an ô.
Beautiful in its simplicity.
Besides, should you be learning Greek, you can setup your own
.XCompose so as to be able to denote the vowel length in the Greek alphabet (not sure if it's enabled by default)
For Windows users, the Maori (New Zealand) keyboard allows easy addition of macrons to all vowels except y.
From the Control Panel, go to Region and Language, then click Change Keyboards..., then Add. Then select Maori's keyboard:
Enabling this keyboard modifies the behavior of the ` key:
Tap ` + a to get
ā. Tap ` + ` to get the grave accent itself.
The most convenient way to type macra in Windows is by using the marvellous programme Autohotkey. If you install Autohotkey and run the following script at startup, you can easily type macros by typing
e-=- etc. Advantages:
para, then you think, oh, I wanted a macron on that a, so you type
-=-(or whichever characters you have set up) and it appears. You can also type
parare, then backspace twice, then
-=-and it will appear on the
ayou typed earlier.
e\/set up to turn into
ĕ, etc. I can give you my full script in case you're interested.
You can of course change the
-=- into anything you want. Just make sure it is a combination you don't normally type. Just to be sure, you can make the hotkeys work only in certain windows, for example:
SetTitleMatchMode 2 #If Winactive("Firefox Latin Language Stack Exchange") or Winactive("the title of some other window") :*?:a-=-::ā :*?:e-=-::ē :*?:i-=-::ī :*?:o-=-::ō :*?:u-=-::ū :*?:y-=-::ȳ
Copy-paste this code into a text file, then save the file as a unicode file (the format should probably be UTF-8) with an extension
.ahk and have it run on startup.
You can also make it type words or sentences by adding lines like this:
:*?:tllqq::Thesaurus Linguae Latinae
On Windows, there does not seem to be a simple way for direct entry of macron vowels that is enabled by default. Matt Gutting's HTML entities are a pretty good option for questions and answers, but they appear not to work in comments.
The "most straightforward" method for direct insertion of Unicode characters appears to be the second approach described here, which involves modifying the registry (not for the faint of heart!) and then logging out and back in (or rebooting).
regeditand press Enter to load the registry editor
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method
1as the value, and click
The Unicode characters can then be entered by holding Alt, pressing the following key sequences, then releasing Alt. The leading + is the keypad 'plus' in all cases, and letters are entered using the regular keyboard keys:
+014d (this one messes up because Alt+D activates the address bar :-/ )
There is a HTML entity that puts a macron on the preceding character:
Ā becomes Ā and
ȳ becomes ȳ.
It is hard to remember, but on the other hand it works with any letter.
The breve counterpart is
With these you can easily speak about vowel length in general: V̄ is longer than V̆.
On Android there is a actual Latīna keyboard:
It's a plugin for the multiling-O keyboard app, which you also need to install.
It's a bit 'busy' by default, but if you fiddle with the settings you can cut it all down to a nice qwerty+macrons arrangement.