How to type Esperanto characters

Quick links

To jump to the instructions for enabling Esperanto characters on your system click on the relevant link:

ChromeOS for ChromeBook
iOS for iPhone or iPad
OS-X and MacOS (for Macintosh)
Firefox and Chromium add-ons

or read on below for further background details.

We appreciate feedback on the methods that you actually use.

General background

To write articles in Esperanto you need:

  • A keyboard layout that gives you the accented Esperanto letters and whatever other languages you need
  • A suitable word processor – we recommend LibreOffice because it can use
  • A spelling checker for Esperanto text

For many years now, computers have been able to cope with Unicode characters including those required for Esperanto text. There is no excuse for publishing documents in any surrogate alphabet. The result looks wrong and gives the wrong impression to the public. There are various resources for converting old documents from a surrogate alphabet to standard Esperanto text. (See below Methods for converting from a surrogate alphabet to Unicode).

Keyboards by default do not have a way to type the thousands of Unicode signs. Therefore, you need special keyboard layouts. How to type Esperanto depends on the operating system, and whether you, the user, have administration rights.

In any application that you use, choose a font that includes the accented letters needed for Esperanto: ĉĝĥĵŝŭ ĈĜĤĴŜŬ. Many modern fonts do have the accented letters that we require. If you choose an unsuitable font, your system may substitute accented letters from a different font which does have the accented letters; you will notice that the letters look wrong, maybe even the wrong size.

How to enable typing in Esperanto

These are the most common methods.

  • You set up key combinations for the accented Esperanto letters in your usual keyboard arrangement. This is the most convenient method for most people because it allows you to type both Esperanto and your ethnic language in the same document without needing to change the layout. In some cases you need to download a program and install it.
  • You can use a so-called international keyboard arrangement with dead keys. This method is preferred by those who often type in several languages. Usually it is not necessary to download anything.
  • You can download and install a special Esperanto layout. Various letters, e.g. Q,X… are replaced by the accented letters. This system has the disadvantage that you have to learn a different layout of keys and switch between this arrangement and others to type in other languages that use the missing letters. See Keyboard layouts for Esperanto in Wikipedia.
  • You can use the resources of specific programs that you use, to insert special characters, usually by appropriate menus. This method is simple but, for long texts, tedious.
  • A compose key is a key on a keyboard that indicates that the following (usually 2 or more) keystrokes trigger the insertion of a specific character. For instance, typing Compose followed by ^ and then g will insert ĝ. The main disadvantage is that compose sequences always require at least one more keystroke. Inconvenient placement of the compose key can also slow typing. For these reasons we don’t prefer this method for Esperanto characters unless you have other reasons to choose this method.

The most suitable methods are covered in this article. We do not intend to mention every known method. If you know another method which is (more) suitable, please let us know.

We aim to cover the main operating systems (in alphabetical order):

Chrome OS for ChromeBook
iOS for iPhone or iPad
OS-X and MacOS (for Macintosh)
Firefox Add-on

When we mention a menu item or the name of a button or some other widget, we give the label in English (with an Esperanto translation in brackets). If your system is in a different language you will need to translate it yourself into that language and look for an item with that or a similar name. Unfortunately, an Esperanto interface is available only for some distributions of Linux, e.g. Ubuntu Linux, but not for Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh, or any of the handheld devices.

Methods for converting from a surrogate alphabet to Unicode text allows you to convert between many different surrogate alphabets and the correct Esperanto letters. allows you to type accented letters without having an Esperanto layout. You can follow the instructions on the site to type the text and afterwards copy it to a document on your computer.