Type Greek is a web-based software tool that converts text from a standard keyboard into beautiful, polytonic Greek characters as you type. Using an easy-to-learn and standardized system called beta code, TypeGreek converts your keystrokes into Unicode-compliant Greek in real-time.
Computers view letters as numbers. A character-encoding standard identifies which number represents which character. For example, the common ASCII character set represents an uppercase A as number 65. Most character-encoding systems use one byte and provide only 256 possible characters. These encoding standards do not have enough characters to handle all the polytonic Greek characters.
Beta code was developed to overcome this problem. Beta code is standard way to represent Greek characters as a combination of Roman characters and punctuation. For example, ἀ is represented in beta code as a) — a for alpha and ) for smooth breathing. For more information about beta code, visit this site’s Alphabet Key page.
Beta code provided a way to type and store Greek texts digitally, but it is not really Greek and it is very difficult to read texts typed in beta code. Consider this example, the opening five lines to the Iliad:
*mh=nin a)/eide qea\ *phlhi+a/dew *)axilh=os
ou)lome/nhn, h(\ muri/’ *)axaioi=s a)/lge’ e)/qhke,
polla\s d’ i)fqi/mous yuxa\s *)/ai+di proi/+ayen
h(rw/wn, au)tou\s de\ e(lw/ria teu=xe ku/nessin
oi)wnoi=si/ te pa=si+, *dio\s d’ e)telei/eto boulh/
The Unicode standard provides a much better alternative to store, share, and display Greek texts. Unlike most character encoding standards, the Unicode standard use two bytes and provides over sixty-five thousand possible characters. (For more information about Unicode, visit unicode.org.) The same five lines of the Iliad are shown in Unicode below:
Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσϊ, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή
Since keyboards do not have enough keys to represent every polytonic Greek character, beta code still works as an easy-to-learn way to type polytonic Greek. TypeGreek converts your beta code keystrokes into Greek characters as you type, so you never have to see the beta code; it looks like you are typing directly in Unicode Greek! These characters can then be copied and pasted into any Unicode-compliant application.
Ready to get started? Type Greek now!