IPA Fonts

The following sections cover fonts for Windows, Macintosh and TeX/LaTeX.

  1. General Advice
  2. Phonetic Fonts for Windows
  3. Phonetic Fonts for Macintosh
  4. Adobe Fonts for Macintosh and Windows
  5. Phonetic Fonts for TeX/LaTeX
  6. Phonetic Keyboards
  7. IPA Character Pickers

General Advice

With any font you consider using, it is worth checking that the symbol for the centralized close front vowel (ɪ, U+026A) appears correctly with serifs top and bottom; that the symbol for the dental click (ǀ, U+01C0) is distinct from the lower-case L (l); that the symbol for the labiodental flap (ⱱ, U+2C71) is included in the character set; and that the software correctly renders the horizontal alignment of diacritics placed above or below a letter and of the tie bars U+035C and U+0361.

Any Unicode-compliant serif font may be used in manuscripts submitted to the Journal of the IPA, as long as that font is used throughout. Neither Doulos SIL nor DejaVu Sans is required. IPA Kiel should not be used, as it is a legacy non-Unicode-compliant font.

IPA charts in IPA Kiel, DejaVu Sans and Doulos, along with detailed descriptions of the symbols are available on the IPA chart page.

Acknowledgement: The IPA is grateful to John Wells for his advice and comments.

Phonetic Fonts for Windows

Thanks to the introduction of Unicode, recent Windows computers come ready-equipped with phonetic symbols. See http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/ipa-unicode.htm

The best Windows fonts for general use appear to be Times New Roman, Arial, Courier New, and Segoe UI. The versions supplied with Windows 7 and 8 include all the symbols on the IPA Chart. Other useful fonts are available for free download from www.sil.org.

To use these symbols, an easy way is to install a phonetic keyboard, such as the one mentioned below, in the section about Phonetic Keyboards.

Phonetic Fonts for Macintosh

Adobe Fonts for Macintosh and Windows

The Stone Phonetic typefaces, available for the Macintosh and Windows platforms, were designed by John Renner of Adobe Systems and released in 1992 by The International Typeface Corporation (ITC) as phonetic companions to ITC Stone Serif and ITC Stone Sans typefaces. The designs consist of more than 330 symbols in sans and serif styles, and conform to the IPA glyph complement finalized at the 1989 Kiel conference (with the exception of contour tones).

The Adobe package number is 255. You can purchase and download the font from Adobe Web Server.

Below are partial samples of the four Stone Phonetic fonts in GIF form.

Phonetic Fonts for TeX/LaTeX

The TIPA fonts for LaTeX are very high quality and cover all IPA symbols including tone mark-up (except the symbol for the labiodental flap, ⱱ). They can be downloaded from any CTAN server e.g. via http://www.ctan.org/pkg/tipa.

The fonts can be installed by placing all the files in the sty and mf directories in the appropriate places. The actual installation procedure depends on the OS. For details, refer to the Introduction of the documentation.

Phonetic Keyboards

Unicode Phonetic Keyboard for Windows

The Unicode Phonetic Keyboard, developed by Mark Huckvale at UCL, is a freely available installable keyboard for Windows PCs that provides a convenient keyboard layout for the word-processing of phonetic transcription using Unicode fonts. The installation package comes complete with two Unicode fonts: Doulos and Charis that have been developed by SIL.

Download and install

You can download the keyboard from here, and installation instructions can also be found on the page.

How to use the keyboard

Maybe you already switch between keyboard layouts for different languages. The particular language keyboard which is currently selected on your PC is indicated at the bottom right of the Windows screen, next to the time and date. If you click there, you get a list of the keyboards currently available on your PC.

Once you have installed the Unicode Phonetic Keyboard, it becomes available in the list shown there, just as if it were the keyboard for an additional language. When you select it, the keys produce the phonetic symbols which have been mapped on to them. So, typing Shift+D doesn't produce capital D. Instead it produces ð for the voiced dental fricative. When you want a schwa, you type @ but you get ə. The velar nasal is Shift + N. And so on. The quick way to see what each key is mapped onto is to start the Windows On-screen Keyboard app. Just type osk into the search box. You could print out the key correspondences for reference, but you'll quickly learn most of them because they're very logical. Notice that many of the less common symbols require you to press the "Alt Gr" key instead of Shift. That's how you get symbols like [ ɠ ɕ ɳ ̞̞ɦ ].

You can switch between the available keyboards either by using the mouse to click on the name of the keyboard--or the quick way is to press the Windows key + Space; this lets you toggle through the available keyboards.

IPA Character Pickers

If you're just wanting to insert a few symbols and do not want the hassle of installing a keyboard, another way to easily insert phonetic symbols is to copy-paste them from websites. You could use, for example, the following: