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

Ezra SIL Hebrew Unicode Font

NRSI staff, 2009-02-16

The Ezra SIL Unicode Fonts

Ezra SIL is a typeface fashioned after the square letter forms of the typography of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), a beautiful Old Testament volume familiar to Biblical Hebrew scholars. The Ezra SIL font is an OpenType “smart” font. It is designed to work with Office 2003 and above.

Please see the sidebar (the box to the right) for full information about this package (downloads, documentation, Frequently Asked Questions, etc.).

This font is available under the SIL Open Font License. If you are a type designer or font programmer, you may freely modify and re-distribute the font under another name. See full details and downloads on the download page.

The Westminster Leningrad Codex is available  here. The Oxford Text Archive at one time provided a free electronic version of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) text, in the Michigan-Claremont encoding, but it is no longer available online. Neither is the Hebrew Institute of Westminster Theological Seminary text. We will update this page if that should change in the future.

Two fonts are included in the package:

Ezra SIL version 2.5

Containing the basic set of Unicode characters needed for Biblical Hebrew texts following the typeface and traditions of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

Exodus 20:4:1-4 v2.0

Ezra SIL SR version 2.5

Containing the same set of Unicode characters as above but with a different style of cantillation.

Exodus 20:4:1-4 SR v2.0

Feature List

  • Unicode 5.0 support of Hebrew and Latin-1 codepages
  • Improved placement of extra-biblical punctuation, such as period and comma.
  • Includes Latin-1 characters, but should not be used for solely Latin texts, since the punctuation is done in a Hebrew style.
  • Works in any application that uses OpenType fonts.
  • Follows the recommendations for character order and encoding determined by a group of font developers during discussions in May 2003. This does not follow canonical order. Texts which have been converted to NFC or NFD canonical order will not display correctly with these fonts.
  • No transliteration fonts are provided. Any font with full Latin support should be adequate for Hebrew transliteration (see Doulos SIL, Charis SIL or Gentium for an acceptable Unicode font for transliteration of Biblical Hebrew).


The font and keyboards were designed for the following systems:

  • Windows XP or later, using Office 2003 or later
  • The fonts may work with certain applications in Macintosh OS X and Linux (Debian and Ubuntu).

Users working with cantillation should have Microsoft Office 2003 or later. Part of the code for displaying Hebrew correctly is included in this software. Other applications, including Paratext 6, also have updated biblical Hebrew support.

Users may attempt using these fonts with Windows 2000/XP and Microsoft Word 2000 or 2002. However they must expect to find the experience frustrating. Many problems with Hebrew and right-to-left scripts have been corrected in Office 2003.

An updated Keyman 6 keyboard/installer is included as a separate download. Download the .kmp package to install the fonts and keyboard.

Follow the instructions for data order found in the keyboard chart or Keying in Hebrew.pdf documentation.

If you have text files typed with the pre-Unicode SIL Ezra font, the files will have to be converted to Unicode to use with this font. A conversion table is now included and requires the free program TECkit. Conversion can be a complex process requiring a moderate to high level of computer ability.

Users should download and install  Adobe Reader to read and print the documentation.

For more information about installing, see Decompression Utilities, Downloading & Font Installation Tips.


The font package does not contain any keyboards. If you need a keyboard there are several options.

  • Windows & Keyman: you can download the Keyman package on the downloads page.
  • Windows & MSKLC:  Society of Biblical Literature Hebrew fonts and keyboards - an Israeli keyboard layout (using Microsoft's MSKLC) is available from here as well as another MSKLC keyboard which closely follows the SIL Keyman layout.
  • Linux & iBus: This  page has some information about adding a Biblical Hebrew keyboard to newer Linux systems using iBus.

Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X provide a Hebrew keyboard as part of the operating system. Those keyboards provide for modern Hebrew input and not biblical Hebrew. General instructions for installing Microsoft keyboards can be found here. Mac OS X keyboards can be accessed through System Preferences / International.

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