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Workaruonds for Users of MS Word for Windows


If you have “automatic smart quotes” enabled, then when you type the straight double quote [U+0022] (shift-apostrophe), the substitution made by Word may not be what you actually want. Word recognizes the keyboard as Greek and adjusts the form of the quotation mark to guillemots, and there is no way to specify a different choice in Greek text. Similarly, the left single curly quote will not appear if you type the apostrophe key after a space. To insert curly quotes in your Greek manually, use altgr-apostrophe for left double quote and altgr-shift-apostrophe for right double quote. The curly left single quote is altgr-n (while the curly right single quote is simply the apostrophe key itself). If you want to turn the smart quote feature on or off in Word 2013 (and probably later), click on Options under the File menu, then choose Proofing in the left panel and click on the button AutoCorrect Options… near the top in the right panel; then choose the AutoFormat As You Type tab to find the setting.


MS Word for Windows has a great many unnecessary and annoying predefined keyboard commands for various formatting actions. 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 together with the altgr key. In particular, in Word 2013, you will need to remove or remap Apply Heading 1 (or 2 or 3) if you are an advanced user who wants decomposed combining accents, for which the keys altgr-1, altgr-2, altgr-3 are needed. Here are the steps for doing so:

Word 2013

1. Under Word’s File menu select Options.

2. Select Customize Ribbon…

3. At the bottom of the pane, click on Customize… next to Keyboard shortcuts.

4. Scroll down in the left list to display All Commands.

5. Scroll in the right list to see Apply Heading 1, select the assigned key combination, and click on Remove (if you like this shortcut, you can assign it some other combination of your choice). You may want to do the same to Apply Heading 2 and Apply Heading 3 to remove their control-left-alt + 2 (or 3) settings.

6. If you are not certain of the name of the command that is causing a conflict, see the advice below.

If you do not know which command is causing the annoyance, but know which key combination is troublesome, then use the same dialog 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.

Word 2007

1. Click on the Office icon (circular icon at top left) to reveal the menu, and use the Word Options button at the bottom.

2. In the new window that opens, click on Customize in the sidebar.

3. At the bottom left of the main pane, click on Customize… next to the label Keyboard Shortcuts.

4. Select the listing for All Commands.

5. Find the command for which you want to make a change.

6. Select the keyboard command under Current Keys.

7. Click on Remove and then Close.

8. If you are not certain of the name of the command that is causing a conflict, see the advice in the box above.

Word 2003

1. Select Customize… under the Tools menu.

2. Click on the Keyboard… button in the dialog.

3. Select the Commands tab and the listing for All Commands.

4. Find the command for which you want to make a change.

5. Select the keyboard command under Current Keys.

6. Click on Remove and then Close.

7. If you are not certain of the name of the command that is causing a conflict, see the advice in the box above.


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 2013, click on Options under the File menu, then choose Proofing in the left panel and click on the button AutoCorrect Options… near the top in the right panel. 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)

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

Windows users will not be able to run the standalone GreekKeysConverter application (Mac only), but should be able to use the browser interface that allows registered uses of GreekKeysConverter to upload a file and receive a converted file by download. 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 an old version of Windows). To type these combinations, you can use the Insert Symbol mechanism of an application or the ALT-x method in MS Word. For such alternative methods of entering characters see GK2015UserGuide.pdf, section 19.

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 Microsoft’s own Greek Polytonic keyboard?

A Greek Polytonic keyboard is available in many installations of Windows XP and later, and it may fulfill basic needs for entering Unicode Greek. An illustration of the layout of the keyboard is accessible at This input will not give you access to all the extras made possible by the GreekKeys Unicode inputs.

If you don’t know how to activate additional keyboards manually in Windows, see GK2015UserGuide.pdf, section 12D.

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?

For reasons connected to legacy software design or other factors, you may find that MS Word sometimes shifts from the chosen font (New Athena Unicode, which contains the desired character) to a default font (Arial or Tahoma, which do not). Usually you can select the empty boxes of these default fonts and change the font back to the New Athena Unicode to see what you want to see. But both the occurrence of this unwanted font-change and the correction of it are not consistent across Windows systems. The change is especially likely to occur with the first character of a new paragraph or when typing a pipeline character (that is, one recently approved). One workaround is to type a superfluous standard Greek character like alpha before typing the troublesome one(s). You then need to go back and remove the superfluous character. Sometimes quitting Word and reopening it helps. You can also try entering the needed character in WordPad, copying from there, and pasting it into Word.

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 the OS X version, and it has not been verified whether it works reliably in MS Word for Windows.

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.

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