Typing Text in Modern Greek or Ancient Greek

How to Type in Greek in MS Windows
A question that comes up quite often is how to type text on a computer using the Greek alphabet. Here is the answer.

How to Install the Greek keyboard layout in MS Windows.

Windows 7
Click on the "Start" button (the big windows logo at the bottom left of your screen)"
  • > "Control Panel"
  • > "Region and Language"
  • > "Keyboards and Languages"
  • > "Change Keyboards"
  • > "General"
In the "Installed services" area of the "General" tab, click on "Add..." and select "Greek (Greece)" > "Keyboard" > "Greek", then click OK.

Windows XP & Vista
The steps for installing the Greek keyboard in Windows XP and Vista are very similar to those above.

How to Switch Keyboards between English and Greek
To switch between using the English and the Greek keyboard layouts, press and hold down the left "ALT" key and then press the left "Shift" key. The change in the "active keyboard layout" is shown by an icon on the right side of the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. EN indicates English and EL indicates Greek (Ελληνικά).

Accented Greek Characters in Modern Greek
To type accented Greek characters, such as άέίόύ, first press the semicolon key ";" (which is a "dead" key in the Greek keyboard) and then press the vowel key that you would like to accent. E.g., the key ";" followed by the key "a" produces ά.

How would you know this? (That the semicolon key ";" is a dead key used for the common "tonos" accent?)  An interactive web-app that shows the complete layout of the Greek keyboard including dead keys is available here:

Polytonic Keyboard for Ancient Greek
Typing in Ancient Greek requires extended keyboard and font support for all aspiration marks (pnevmata), accents (tonous), and other markings to produce text such as: ἐν τῷ Εὐαγγελίῳ.
In Windows these markings are provided by the "Greek Polytonic" keyboard whose layout and many dead keys are also shown by the above web-app. The "safest" font to use is the standard Windows font "Palatino Linotype". It was the first (Unicode) font to support the complete Ancient Greek character set. Many other other Unicode fonts followed (such as Times New Roman, Arial, etc.).

How to Type in Greek on Any Computer
Google provides a free transliteration service for many languages, including English to Greek, here:

This service is ideal when you need to type only a few words in Greek (such as a student's name). It works even if the Greek keyboard is not installed on your computer or if you do not even use Windows.

At the Google transliteration webpage, you type Greek words phonetically, using English characters. Google transliteration guesses the Greek word and writes it using the Greek alphabet. The change occurs every time you press the space bar.

  • You type: Se gnorizo apo tin kopsi tou spathiou tin tromeri.
  • You get: Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψη του σπαθιού την τρομερή. 
  • You type: Paulos Papaefthymiou
  • You get: Παύλος Παπαευθυμίου.
Google's English-to-Greek transliteration service is remarkably accurate. If it makes a mistake, click on the wrong Greek word and Google transliteration will offer alternative Greek words from which to choose.

As an added bonus, the Google transliteration webpage includes a means of entering special (accented) Greek characters and an English-Greek Dictionary!

Using this service you can easily copy and paste a student's name in Greek from the Google transliteration webpage to the Greek School Registration Form.