Charwrite: A Unicode Input Tool for the Web

Unicode has many advantages for linguists. It allows the display of IPA and almost all diacritics which linguists use in their work. It encodes almost all scripts currently in use, and many of the scripts used by ancient languages. In short, it's now possible to create web pages not only with basic Latin characters, but in IPA, Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese, Devanagari, and a host of other scripts as well. This is why E-MELD uses Unicode for data input, storage, and display.

More on Unicode.

The problem with such a full range of characters, however, is that there is no way to produce simple key-strokes for them all. This means that typing unicode typically entails selecting the character you want from a huge array of thousands of symbols in a table, and copying and pasting it into the field where you wish it to appear. This is such a clumsy system that E-MELD has developed a web based unicode input facility to aid field workers with their data input.

With CharWrite you have access to a wide range of Unicode characters; and you have two ways of selecting your input character: (1) you can type an ASCII character, then right click (use control-click on the Mac) to access a menu of visually similar multinational characters or (2) you can double left-click, which brings up a chart of IPA characters. CharWrite is now downloadable, for installation on your own machine.


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