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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/win_kbd_FAQ

Keyboards troubleshooting - Windows

Steph Smith, 2014-08-19


Table of Contents for this web page:

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Where can I find an IPA keyboard?

Answer: Please see our list of IPA Unicode keyboards at IPA Transcription with SIL fonts

Question: I’ve downloaded SIL’s IPA Unicode Keyman keyboard, but it’s not working.

Answer: There are three main elements that need to be in place to make sure that the IPA Unicode 6.2 KMN keyboard works well:

  • First of all, please make sure that Keyman Desktop is actively running, not merely installed. You should be able to see the Keyman Desktop icon in your taskbar or in the dropdown next to the clock in your taskbar. If you cannot see this icon in your taskbar, go to the Windows Start menu, select 'All Programs' and select Keyman Desktop.
  • Once you are sure that Keyman Desktop is running, in order to type IPA text, you will need to download an IPA font that contains the characters you need. There is no IPA font bundled with the keyboard - it must be downloaded separately. Once you have downloaded and installed this font, open your typing application (MS Word for example.) Then open the Keyman menu and select the IPA Unicode 6.2 (ver 1.3) KMN keyboard, then select your IPA font from the font menu in your typing application.
  • To see how to actually type using this keyboard, you need to look at the PDF document that came with the keyboard when you downloaded it. This document shows which IPA characters correspond to which keystrokes. For example, to type a retroflex t you need to type the sequence t<, and to type a schwa you need to type e=.

If all three of these elements are in place - Keyman Desktop is running; you have downloaded and selected an IPA font, and you are aware of the keystroke sequences needed to produce the IPA characters - the keyboard should work well for you. If you continue to have trouble, please use the link below to contact us.

Question: How do I use a downloaded virtual keyboard to input text?

Answer: If you have not done so previously, you will first need to add your downloaded keyboard to the available input method options listed in the Regional / Language preferences in the Control Panel. This will place a small icon in the taskbar that shows which keyboard is currently active (for example 'EN' for English). If you click on this icon, a list of other available keyboards will appear, from which you can select the one you need. In this way, you can switch between keyboards as required. For more details of this process, please see  Microsoft's support page on the topic.

To type accurately, you will also need to know which keystrokes display which characters on-screen. SIL keyboards usually include a PDF file in the download package that explains this.

Contact Us

As our fonts and utilities are distributed at no cost, we are unable to provide a commercial level of personal technical support. We will, however, try to resolve problems that are reported to us.

We do hope that you will report problems so they can be addressed in future releases. Even if you are not having any specific problems, but have an idea on how this system could be improved, we want to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Please note that our software products are intended for use by experienced computer users. Installing and using them is not a trivial matter. The most effective technical support is usually provided by an experienced computer user who can personally sit down with you at your computer to troubleshoot the problem.

General troubleshooting information, including frequently asked questions, can be found in the documentation. Additional information is also available on the FAQ pages. If that fails to answer your question, please contact us by starting a topic on the  Language Software Community site.

We also have an email contact form, however we will responding to those messages only as staff resources allow. Please use the new community site before using the form.


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