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Workarounds for Users of MS Word for Mac


Because of changes made in Word 2011 and 2016, it has become imperative to add a language definiton to the GreekKeys inputs for Mac OS X. These keyboards have the language setting Greek (not Ancient Greek). MS Word now automatically assigns the language definition Greek to whatever you enter with the GreekKeys input. Since the language is Greek, MS Word also makes the false assumption that you want your double quotation marks to be in the form of guillemots « » rather than the “ ” you probably want if your main language is English. This occurs when you have the AutoCorrect setting for substituting smart quotes for straight quotes. Neither MS Word nor OS X currently allows the user to specify which form of quotation marks to use with which language (in the way OS X allows one to set number and date formats by language).

Here are some workarounds. (1) You can train yourself to use the keys for direct input of the desired quotation marks: in GreekKeys Unicode(US) the keystroke for the left curly double quote is option-apostrophe, and the right is option-shift-apostrophe. (2) You can do a global substitution for « and » later. (3) You can change to US input when you type a quotation mark within Greek text. (4) You can use straight quotes (turn off the AutoCorrect feature for smart quotes) and laboriously fix them later.

A related problem is that in a document that contains many switches between Greek and English, Word seems to be inaccurate in assigning the language definition, so some of the English will be marked as Greek, and in such a portion of the text the guillemots will appear instead of curly quotes. You can reset the language of a passage of text to the correct one using the Language… command under the Tools menu.

It is possible that this problem will be less likely to arise if you make sure that English is your default language. This is done by clicking on the Default… button in the Language dialog, which brings up this query, to be answered with Yes.


MS Word for Mac OS X has a great many unnecessary and annoying predefined keyboard commands for various formatting actions, but they are usually less intrusive in OS X than in Windows because of OS X’s conventions regarding modifier keys. You may find it necessary or desirable to disable a number of these so that they do not interfere with Greek input or produce surprising actions if you accidentally hit the wrong key. Also, you may want to assign a shortcut for particular fonts. To add, change, or remove shortcut keys in Word 2011 or 2016, follow these steps:

1. Under Word’s Tools menu select Customize Keyboard…

2. Under Categories scroll down and select All Commands.

3. In Word 2011 you will may need to hunt for the command whose shortcut you want to modify, but in Word 2016 there is a search field that simplifies the process. For example, searching for “smart” will help find the command “ToolsAutoCorrectSmartQuotes” (which toggles the setting for automatic smart quotes).

4. Under Current keys:, you can select an existing keyboard shortcut and then click Remove; or you can use the field under Press new keyboard shortcut: to enter a new keyboard combination, and then click Assign.

5. If you are not certain of the name of the command that is causing a conflict or an annoyance, do this. Once you know which key combination is troublesome, then use the same dialog fro Customize Keyboard… to try to assign the troublesome key combination to any other command. You should get a message telling you the combination is already assigned to a particular command. Cancel your attempt, and then go to the command specified as already using the troublesome combination and try to remove that keyboard shortcut. There are some commands, however, that Word will not allow you to change or remove.


Some AutoCorrect features can be annoying or troublesome when you type Greek and many will want to turn them off. To change the AutoCorrect settings in Word 2011 or 2016, click on AutoCorrect… under the Tools menu. You may need to make changes both on the AutoCorrect tab and on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

Options to pay most attention to:

Ordinals (1st) with superscript (AutoFormat As You Type): oddly enough, this causes a plain sigma at the end of a word to change to final sigma; but the change also occurs when sigma is followed by apostrophe in an elided ending, which is incorrect.

Capitalize first letter of sentences (Auto Correct): sentence-opening capitalization is not conventional in modern presentation of ancient Greek texts.

Capitalize first letter of table cells (Auto Correct): this option may be as unwanted in typing a modern language as it is for ancient Greek


(this list applies to GreekKeys 2015; many questions relevant several years ago to previous versions have been eliminated)

Why don’t I see the GreekKeys keyboards listed in the Input Sources pane of Keyboard System Preference when I follow the instructions for Activation?

There appears to have been a change in OS behavior in Mac OS 10.12.x (2017). After the installer finishes, restart your computer and then follow the steps for activation. The GreekKeys keyboards will appear in the list after the restart.

Is it possible to convert my old documents with Traditional GreekKeys fonts into new documents with Unicode Greek?

Please see the separate help page about conversion.

What can I do if the tops or bottoms of Greek characters in one of the SCS Greek fonts appear to be cut off in the screen display (especially in MS Word)?

This is a screen-display problem and generally does not affect printouts. The SCS fonts, like some standard system fonts, uses diacritics of sufficient size to be legible and harmonious. This causes the total character height to be larger than for most fonts, and so cutting off may occur if the line spacing is set to single. The characters will in fact print in full (but in some circumstances you may have the top of a character in one line overlapping the bottom of the character in the line above). The best workaround is to increase the height of the line spacing. In general, the line spacing should be at least 2 or 3 points greater than the point size of the font. Thus, with 12-point Times or KadmosU, use the Paragraph… command under the Format menu, and on the Indents and Spacing pane, use the setting under Spacing: to choose "At least" and then change the entry (which may appear by default as "12 pt" if you are using a 12-point font) to "14 pt" or "15 pt" and click OK. In other programs you may have to find the commands or settings to make a similar line-height adjustment. On a web page you can create sufficient line-height using CSS (for instance, by specifying “font-size: 11pt; line-height: 13pt;” in a paragraph style).

With Unicode fonts, how can I enter the Roman vowels with macron or breve?

The Roman characters with macron or breve are present in many Unicode fonts: in fact most combinations (Ā ā Ă ă Ē ē Ĕ ĕ Ī ī Ĭ ĭ Ō ō Ŏ ŏ Ū ū Ŭ ŭ) are present in a large number of system fonts; only in the case of ȳ and Ȳ is the character found in fewer fonts (especially if you do not have the latest OS version). To type these combinations, activate the US Extended input [renamed to ABC Extended in Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan] and type option-a for macron (or option-b for breve) before you type the vowel.

How can I determine which Private Use Area (PUA) code points have been used in GreekKeys fonts (and in other fonts that have adopted the same scheme)?

Please consult the documentation provided with GreekKeys 2015 download. See GK2015UserGuide.pdf, section 20F, and FindCharacterNAU.pdf.

What about Apple's own Greek Polytonic input?

Since version 10.4 (Tiger), OS X has provided an input for polytonic Unicode Greek. It is called "Greek Polytonic" and can be turned on in the Input Sources pane of Keyboard Preference. It is classified as Greek. The arrangement of the diacritics is like that on a manual Greek typewriter, for those who have ever used one to type polytonic Greek. Use the Keyboard Viewer to see the positions of the deadkeys for diacritics. This input will not give you access to all the extras made possible by the GreekKeys Unicode inputs.

What can be done if Word inserts a filler glyph from Cambria (or some standard font) and won't let me change the font to New Athena Unicode to see the correct Unicode character?

Some specialized characters in later versions of Unicode (such as special punctuation at U+2310 and following) are sometimes badly handled in some versions of MS Word. Here are the steps to try to work around this problem. (1) In some cases, simply by selecting the unwanted font and reapplying New Athena Unicode to the selection, you can get the character you want. (2) If that does not work, a workaround is to copy the character from another document in which it appears correctly. This could be a document from another program or the keyboard chart PDF supplied with GreekKeys. When you paste it in, specify keeping source formatting.

Do I need to switch fonts when I switch from inputting my Roman font language to inputting Unicode Greek?

Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to change fonts when you transition from Greek to Roman typing or vice versa, if you are using a Unicode font that contains a large range of Roman characters as well as all the Greek characters you need. But if you are preparing a work for publication in a journal or by a press, of if your work contains very frequent alternation of Greek and roman fonts (as in a commentary), it may not be a good idea to use a single font. In the final production, the press may want all the English to be in a particular Roman font and all the Greek to be in a particular Greek font, and global replacement of one or both types of font is very easy in Microsoft Word (and other programs) as long as the Greek and Roman are in distinct fonts. If you use one font, it will require advanced searching with regular expression terms, and this will be more time-consuming and far more complex. And even if you can do that, catching all the punctuation within the Greek to make it consistent with the Greek font adjacent to it will be a major headache in an extensive document.

Since GreekKeys 2015 now causes MS Word to apply the language Greek to what is typed with the GreekKeys Unicode keyboards, it might be expected to be practical to use a single font and still be able to do an easy global replacement by (advanced) searching with the Format set to Language: Greek. This is, however, unreliable in Word 2011, as the language setting seems to apply to portions that are not in Greek if the document features frequent alternation of Greek and non-Greek words.

For small documents for everyday use, however, such as handouts for classes, it may be perfectly fine to use a single font, if you have one you like. Please note that New Athena Unicode contains Roman characters from a freeware source, but it is not a professional font and little attention has been paid to making these characters harmonious with the Greek characters. For a professional appearance, you will probably not want to type your Roman font text in New Athena Unicode.

Why do MS Word files in which I have paragraphs of single-spaced text in New Athena Unicode font suddenly look different, with the line spacing reduced so that the Greek letters are not fully visible?

This error affects only the Regular style of New Athena Unicode in version 5.004. Most users of GreekKeys would not have this version installed and would not suffer from this error. If you do see this error or do have version 5.004 installed (downloaded from, then please return to that same download page to get version 5.005 dated June 7, 2018, which fixes the problem.

When trying to run the GreekKeys 2015 installer for MacOS, I get an alert telling me it cannot be installed because it is not from the App Store (or not from the App Store or an identified developer). How do I work around this?

Do not double-click on the installer. Instead, right-click or control-click on the installer icon and in the contextual menu select Open. Then you will be given the opportunity to choose to open it despite its being from an inidentified developer.
If this above technique does not work for you, there is a more complicated workaround accomplished by the following steps.

This occurs on Apple Retina displays because the icon for the US keyboard (and the US_Alt keyboard) is an old one from 2002. If you have this small icon on your display, there is a download package containing replacement icons of a larger size and simple step-by-step instructions to put them in the correct location. Click here to download.

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