Esperanto Language Blog

Typing Esperanto Characters Posted by on Mar 31, 2009 in Esperanto Language

For the most part, Esperanto utilizes the standard Latinate character set. This means that the better fraction of its alphabet can be typed using your typical QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, you cannot type the entire alphabet using your normal keyset…There are a handful of straggler letters that are unique.

If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed the occasional “-x” in the middle of a word. Astute Esperantists will realize that there is no X in the Esperanto alphabet! I’ve been using what’s called x-coding, which you will often see in typed Esperanto documents. If you’re using a program like NotePad, where you cannot have characters outside of the English alphanumeric set, it is acceptable to use an “x” after an accented letter to indicate the accent. The e-texts on Project Gutenberg often do this, too! So, you’ll see…

Cx Gx Hx Jx Sx Ux

Where we cannot type the letter.

Some word processing programs have found a way around this problem. In OpenOffice, for example, there is a command under “Insert => Special Characters” that allows you to place Esperanto letters. It can be slow to constantly click through the menus to place those letters in the midst of a typing spree, but it results in authentic Esperanto characters!

If that does not suit your fancy, a free tool exists on the Internet called Esperantilo (-il-, you may remember, means “tool”). This program functions like an Esperanto word processor, complete with spell checking! Moreover, there is an option you can enable so that whenever you type an x-code letter, it automatically converts it into its Esperanto equivalent. Fast and effective!

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  1. JohnL:

    Thanks for the posting about Esperantilo. It is really useful, and free.

  2. Lex:

    You are quite welcome. And I agree – it is quite useful! I find myself typing short notes with it often, since it’s conducive to writing small, short messages.

  3. Quintus:

    Hi! First of all, love the blog. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Second of all, I use a Mac, which doesn’t support many windows Esperanto programs. However, I do use a Microsoft wireless keyboard. I have found that the US international keyboard layout lets one type characters such as ฤ (gx) by using option-^ and then the letter wanted. Similarly, ว” (ux) is done by option-v followed by u.

    There are a few buttons on the keyboard that are programmable. I used the “application switcher” button to automatically type option+^ for me. It works amazingly well. As for ว” (ux), I just do it manually.

    If anyone has questions on this setup, just let me know!

    Again, love the blog! ฤœis!

  4. David Welsh:

    I use this Esperanto keyboard layout which I find works very well.

  5. aries:

    Thank you for introducing me Esperantilo.

    I think that is very useful program for editing simple texts not only Esperanto but also English.

    Someday, I hope that an Esperanto-letter printed keyboard is made.

  6. MykMyrs:

    Thanks for the information about Esperantilo. I downloaded it for Linux, and all of the supplemental files (like the dictionary), and I am really impressed with its capabilities.

    I have some information on my site about characters and options for making them in MS Windows for anyone looking for more information.

  7. chinh:

    bona tagon!
    mi amas esperanto!