Digital Hebrew Fonts supporting the full range of Hebrew Diacritical Marks
Before editing Hebrew text, make sure you have installed on your Operating System some attractive Unicode Hebrew fonts that support the full range of Hebrew text with diacritical marks (ti’amim and niqudot). Download our Open Siddur Open-source Unicode Hebrew font pack.
Editing Unformatted Hebrew Text
You may find, that before formatting Hebrew text, it can be very helpful to use a simple text editor to type or edit unformatted Hebrew text with diacritical marks (t’amim and niqudot). With a simple text editor that properly supports Unicode (UTF-8), you can easily see where there might be duplicate marks, spaces, and other unnecessary formatting.
If you use Linux, you might already have a favorite editor. Let us know what’s worked best for you.
Formatting Hebrew Text in a Word Processor
Formatting Hebrew text with diacritics and having it displayed correctly in the word processor often depends on the software and operating system you are using. On Linux and Windows, you don’t need to purchase expensive software for offline work with Hebrew — not since the amazing open source programmers behind LibreOffice, the Document Foundation, developed a free and open source solution for working with Right-to-Left texts like Hebrew. Until the Open Siddur web application is available for crafting siddurim and other curricular resources on Jewish liturgy, we recommend LibreOffice.
LibreOffice is a free/libre office suite containing a powerful and user-friendly text editor: LibreOffice Writer. LibreOffice is cross-platform — it can be installed and run on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows operating systems.
Unlike many other text-based applications LibreOffice natively supports open standards and document formats. That way, what you type today should still be readable in the digital world twenty or a hundred years from now. Also, unlike many other text editors it correctly positions niqqud/vowels and t’amim/cantillation when using Hebrew fonts that correctly support the full range of Hebrew diacritics.
Configuring LibreOffice for Editing Hebrew Text
In order to get to work working with Hebrew in LibreOffice, follow the following steps:
- Download our Open Source Unicode Hebrew Font Pack and install the fonts on your operating system. There are a number of excellent fonts now that support the full range of Hebrew diacritics (niqqud/vowels and t’amim/cantillation): Ezra SIL/SR, Shlomo Stam, Cardo, Taamey Ashkenaz, Taamey Frank CLM, Taamey David CLM, Taamey Frank CLM, Shofar, Keter YG, and Keter Aram Tsova.
- Set up a Hebrew Keyboard Layout for your operating system supporting the full range of Hebrew diacritics.
- For Windows, a keyboard layout installer is included inside the font pack — look inside the directory named “Keyboards.” Once installed, press Alt-Shift to switch between languages.
- For Macs, download this keyboard layout and install. (Support).
- Download and install LibreOffice
- Open LibreOffice Writer. Select Options –> Language Settings –> Languages.
- Under “Enhanced Language Support” check the checkbox “Enabled for Complex Text Layout (CTL).”
- Under “Default Languages for Documents” see the option for CTL, and select Hebrew from the drop menu.
- Select the Hebrew Font you’d like to type in.
Set the text direction on the toolbar by clicking on the following toolbar button (or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+D)
- Begin typing.
- LibreOffice is a fork of the OpenOffice suite containing many improvements including increased support for RTL languages. ↩
- Mac users have long relied on Mellel, which while closed source and commercial, has also proven itself dependable. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the OS X operating system support for non-Western languages, unspecialized software often fails to position Hebrew diacritics correctly. ↩
- Please, let us know if Hebrew with diacritical marks is displaying properly in the latest OS X. ↩