Enlarge Text Size
Normal |Large |Extra-Large


Get Involved!

If you are interested in being involved and helping VASTA grow, please write to hr@vasta.org to see how you could become involved.


IPA Fonts

Prepared by Michael Barnes and Eric Armstrong

It seems that every six months or so, a call comes across VASTAVOX for help installing phonetic fonts for either a Windows or Mac based computer. We have created a downloadable package for each group to make things simpler.

[Macintosh users click here]


Michael J. Barnes, who often responds to the font questions on VASTAVOX, has formulated a package for Windows users that includes all you need to get started with fonts for phonetics. As Michael says, "I've tried to explain how to set things up in the easiest way for using the IPA fonts. I explain every single step so that anyone from a "computer-shy" person to an advanced computer user can understand."

The Charis SIL IPA font is a new unicode version of the font that allows you to do everything in one font and not switch back and forth between two fonts when distinguishing between orthographics and transcription. In addition, the same font is usable on Mac and Windows computers so that files may be shared. You must, however, have Word 2003 or Word 2007 (or another unicode compliant Word Processor like Open Office) to use this font (WordPerfect has no applicable versions).

A New free alternative has come out to access all the IPA glyphs in Windows. You no longer need a third party keyboard manager. The sequences are similar to the Keyman sequences (mostly reversed). This installs a keyboard into the International functions of Windows so that it is just as if you were switching languages. The odd thing is that the IPA keyboard shows up as an Icelandic keyboard. (I guess this means any Icelandic members would be out of luck with this).

This zip file includes

  • readme.txt - a text file that explains what is included in the zip file and the what all the files and documents are

  • CharisSIL 4.106.exe - the installation program to install the Charis Font

  • Configure Charis SIL Fonts & Windows Keyboard.doc - a document explaining the entire process to use the fonts.

  • IPA Windows Keyboard Chart.pdf - A chart that I created that resembles a normal IPA chart and shows the keying sequences.

  • "SIL IPA Microsoft Windows Keyboard 1.2" Folder - contains that SETUP.EXE program to install the Windows Keyboard

Download the windows version now <CharisIPAFont-WindowsKeyboard.zip> (updated 7/2010)

If you started with Keyman and would like to cintinue using it to access all the glyphs, then use the following.

This Zip file includes:

  • readme.txt - a text file that explains what is included in the zip file and the what all the files and documents are

  • keyman_free_6-2-183-0.exe - Setup file to install Keyman 6.0 (free version for Windows XP)

  • keymandesktoplight- - Setup file to install Keyman 7.0 (for Windows Vista - must register and pay for)

  • IPAUni10.kmx - Keyboard file for Keyman needed for the Charis SIL fonts.

  • IPA Unicode 1.0.5 Keyman Keyboard.pdf (Document explaining the codes to access all IPA glyphs)

  • IPA Unicode 1.0.5 Keyman Keyboard Installation.pdf (Tavultesoft's installation guide FYI)

Download the windows version now <CharisIPAFont.zip> (updated 12/2007)



If you have a non-unicode compliant word processor, you can still download the original version of the SIL IPA Font Program, which contains similar information for other Windows word processors.


Eric Armstrong, who is a Mac devotee, has created the following .zip file for you to install the necessary Charis IPA fonts, and the keyboard layout for the font as well. Everything needed to install the fonts and get them working in your word processor is included. 

In the zip archive you should find the following files:

  1. readme.txt -- instructions on the zip package
  2. Setting Up Your Mac.rtf -- DETAILED documentation on setting up your mac for the Charis SIL fonts
  3. Charis SIL Fonts Folder -- contains the fonts for Charis SIL, plus an alias to your fonts folder, where they must be placed
  4. IPA-SIL keyboard layout Folder -- contains the keyboard layout for accessing IPA characters in Unicode fonts (not just Charis SIL) and its documentation
  5. Links Folder -- links to other Unicode fonts (Doulos SIL and Gentium), and Ukulele a Unicode Keyboard Layout Editor (in case you don't like how the SIL-IPA keyboard layout works.)

Download the Mac Version Now (updated December 14, 2007)

If you have an older, non-Unicode compliant word processor, you can download the original IPA fonts from SIL here:

To install the fonts in OS X once you've downloaded them:

  1. Double-click the icon for the font in the Finder. Font Book opens and displays the font so you can see what the font looks like.
  2. Click Install Font. The font is automatically installed in the Library folder of your home folder so it is available only to you.
  3. To make the font available to all users of the computer, drag it to the Computer folder in the Collection column of Font Book.

To quickly find symbols and "pop" them into your documents, try the shareware product PopChar X (or Pro if you're still on OS 9). The trial version is available from

Please note that these aren't the only IPA fonts available for the mac - there are many others, though the good ones aren't free! If you are willing to pay for a font, try out LaserIPA from Linguists Software, which is the IPA font used by the Voice and Speech Review.


WWW vasta.org