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Greek and Hebrew Fonts: About Unicode

A short guide to typing Greek and Hebrew characters

ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ׃

Library Assistant For Reference and Technical Services

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David Richards
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Charlotte, NC 28273

Unicode vs. non-Unicode Fonts

Old Fonts (BibleWorks original fonts; Mounce fonts; etc.) are like “masks” of Greek and Hebrew characters worn over the “faces” of the Latin alphabet. Different old fonts have Greek and Hebrew “masks” assigned to different Latin alphabet “faces.”

old font

When you change the "mask" using old non-Unicode fonts, the results can be messy!

Unicode Fonts (SBL fonts; Cardo; newer versions of Times New Roman) are just faces. They don’t wear masks, but you can change the cosmetics with “makeup” using different Unicode fonts and the letters will show as expected.

The good news is that most Bible software pastes Unicode into your word processor, and if you have Bible software installed on your computer, you most likely have the proper Unicode fonts.

The bad news is that because there are no "masks" in Unicode fonts, you have to type on a different keyboard to get Greek and Hebrew text. So, you need software to switch keyboards from English (Latin characters) to Greek or Hebrew.