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Tip 1.11: Typing and Display of Hebrew

Searching, taking notes or developing assignments may call for typing in Hebrew.  This Classroom Tip offers some tips for working with the Hebrew font and text display in BibleWorks.

Typing in Hebrew

The Study Guide entitled Typing in Greek or Hebrew and found under Help | Study Guides provides a helpful orientation to typing in Greek or Hebrew using the BibleWorks fonts.  It addresses typing in your word processor, the BibleWorks Command Line, the BibleWorks Editor and knowing what letters to type.

The BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard

When you type Hebrew letters you will find that many of the keys correspond intuitively to the keyboard letter with a similar sound such as

a for a, or b for b

One may simply type the expected Latin letter for the corresponding Hebrew letter and in many cases you will find that you are typing the expected letters on your screen.  On the other hand, outside of experimentally pecking through the letters on your keyboard, you would not expect to find that

c is represented by the keystroke c, or x by x

BibleWorks offers two ways to orient yourself to the Hebrew keyboard that will guide you to the right keys for letters or vowels:

1. Use the BibleWorks Keyboard feature.

Click on this button   or go to Tools | BibleWorks Keyboard.  This action will open the BibleWorks Keyboard Window. This window contains a clickable BibleWorks Keyboard that shows you how to type characters in the various BibleWorks fonts. Choose Hebrew in the upper left field and the keys will change to Hebrew as seen below. 

Hold down the Shift key for final forms, letters with the dagesh and the entry of vowels slightly to the right for proper alignment under some letters.

The BibleWorks Keyboard is intended for Command Line entry, but it also serves as a quick reference point for the Hebrew font in BibleWorks.

2. Consult the BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard Fontmap (Bwhebb.ttf)

The BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard bwhebb.ttf font map is easily accessible by clicking Help | Online Help Contents | The BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard under Frequently Used Links
A printable copy of the Hebrew and Greek Fontmaps is also available here.

Additional Characters and Accents

If you page down from The BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard Fontmap (Bwhebb.ttf) section you will find a table with codes that will allow you to enter accents as well   In the sections “The BibleWorks Hebrew Keyboard in More Detail (Bwhebb.ttf)” and “The BibleWorks Hebrew Accent Character Codes” you will find charts that indicate codes that will allow you to enter accents using numerical codes.  Hold down the <Alt> key while typing 0 (zero), followed by the appropriate number on your numeric keyboard to enter an accent.

For example, to enter the Atnah, hold down the Alt key while typing 0137 on your numeric keypad.

Where's my Qamets?

When the BibleWorks Hebrew font is used in a word processor and the key is struck for the qamets (the quotation mark key) you may observe that the qamets flashes for a split second then disappears leaving a strange "accent" mark in its place as seen below. 

This behavior is due to a feature of the word processor. Many word processors have a feature that converts straight quotation marks into curved quotation marks (usually called "smart quotes"). When this feature encounters the qamets (the quotation mark key in BWHebb.ttf) it attempts to replace the character normally specified by that key with the correct curved character, which of course does not exist in the Hebrew font. To properly display the qamets simply hit "Undo" (or Ctrl-Z) and the qamets will appear where you intended to type it. 

It is possible to disengage (disable) the feature in the word processor that performs the conversion described above. The feature will commonly be termed AutoCorrect or AutoFormating and is usually found in the "Tools" pull-down menu. The feature is usually called something like "Replace 'straight quotes' with 'smart quotes.'" Simply turn it off and the qamets will type fine. In some word processors, like Microsoft Word this feature will be found to be activated in two places; On the "AutoCorrect" dialog box one will need to disable this feature on both the "AutoFormatting" tab and the "AutoFormatting As You Type" tab.

Toggling Vowels and Accents

If you wish to display or export simple consonantal text, BibleWorks offers a quick way to toggle vowels and accents off and on through the use of keyboard shortcuts. 

To remove vowel pointing from the Hebrew text, first, click in the Browse Window.  With the cursor blinking in that panel, tap the x key on the keyboard and the vowels will disappear from the displayed Hebrew text.  Tap the x key again and the vowels will reappear.  As this is a toggle action the Browse Window must be active, that is, the cursor must be blinking in it.  A similar action will toggle the accents.   By tapping the a key, the vowel points will appear or disappear from the display.

For a list of other Browse Window keyboard shortcuts see

Help | Study Guides | Using Shortcut Keys, Tips, and Tricks 

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