View Full Version : Keyboards and Learning Curves

Thomas Dolhanty
09-27-2007, 02:36 PM
This is a note for Newbies – like me. The learned can move on to the more arcane.

If your situation is anything like mine – learning Greek, learning Hebrew, learning BW7 – then like me you probably will want to avoid, as much as possible, getting mired in the world of keyboards and fonts.

It’s not that I haven’t found a working arrangement – it’s just that its taken a lot of time and frustration.

I had Greek fonts installed before I came to BW – indeed I had the BW Greek fonts installed, along with others – but not without a lot of searching, trying, discarding, searching again, etc.

I have found that the BW Hebrew keyboard works well for me (Windows XP, MS Word 2002), once I figured out that the BW7 Help describing the installation required a small addition (see the red text at bottom). I have not been impressed with any of the transliteration set-ups --- until ---

I have now discovered, purchased, and installed Keyman® 7 Professional and Unicode keyboards.

Now I wish I had started here – and thus this note. The Keyman software cost me $70, and was quite painless to download and install. So also to add the keyboards I wanted.

The wonderful thing about it is that I now choose my keyboards (Greek, Hebrew, Transliteration, etc.) with one click. If I can’t remember key assignments I simply click on the “On Screen Keyboard”, and they are right there in front of me. I have all the power of Unicode fonts. I can add, expand, change my keyboard setup etc, etc. And, best of all ---

I can now forget about fonts, and keyboards, and get back to learning Greek, and Hebrew, and BW7 – and through them – the Word of the Lord.

Whether Keyman® 7 is the best choice or best price ($70), I can’t say. What I can say is that from what I’ve seen so far I would collect bottles, wash cars, shine shoes or do most other honest tasks (short of juggling chain saw!!!) to acquire this kind of set-up.

From BW7 Help ..
Installing the BibleWorks Hebrew Unicode Keyboard Driver

Installing the Driver
The first thing you have to do is install the Windows Keyboard driver. To do this open the Windows Explorer and navigate to the "keyboards" subdirectory under the BibleWorks Directory. You will find there two keyboard driver installation programs: BWHeb.msi and BHebTiro(1.2).msi. The first is the BibleWorks Keyboard and the second is an Israeli keyboard provided by SBL. To install either keyboard [For Windows XP – First create a diretory below the “keyboards” directory called “i386” and then copy the file “BWHeb.dll” into it] just double click on the filename. Note that these keyboard are only useable in application that support Unicode (like the BibleWorks editor and Word 2003). The keyboards can only be installed under Windows XP.

09-27-2007, 03:12 PM
Well, I am not sure whether this freeware from Tyndale House, David Instone-Brewer, would do the trick also: http://www.tyndalehouse.com/Fonts.htm
but maybe it is worth checking out for others before bying.
There are so much out there for free, if you just look around a bit.

09-27-2007, 03:41 PM
If you want the simplest way to get Unicode Greek/Hebrew keyboards, the Tyndale freeware mentioned by MortenJensen in the previous post is the way to go. I do not, however, like the polytonic Greek keyboard it installs. If you are comfortable with following directions that are a bit arcane, I've posted some directions here (http://www.gettysburgseminary.org/mhoffman/greek/software/greektools1ASetup.htm#keyboard). I'm using the Logos Greek/Hebrew keyboards that they graciously provide for free, and they are similar to the Keyman ones mentioned in the initial post. The main thing I like is that I type a Greek vowel followed by the accent and/or breathing mark (the Tyndale solution requires that you type accent/breathing first), and the accent/breathing keys are easy to remember and use.

Thomas Dolhanty
09-27-2007, 08:57 PM
What I wanted with keyboards was SIMPLE to set up, EASY to use, COMPLETE, rather than piecemeal, and FRIENDLY with regard to accessing keyboard assignment screens, etc. For that I’d wash a few cars, especially after searching and trying various solutions (including Tyndale), wasting a lot of time, and still not being set up right.

With respect to keyboards and fonts, my goal is, and always was, to attain the least possible information - while finding a good solution. I frankly don’t want to know any more about how keyboards and fonts work, than I know about the calculus of thermodynamics – which is the name! I want somebody else to be the keyboard expert, and to give me an elegant solution for a reasonable price.

Keyman (to whom I certainly owe nothing, and with which I have no connection – simply stumbled onto to them a few days ago) does this for me.

Keyman can be downloaded and used on a trial basis. The test of the pudding is in the eating ---- http://www.tavultesoft.com/ .

It’s good to hear of other solutions, especially free ones, and maybe I’ve become a bit gun-shy, but -

... Having discovered this baby, I'd rather fight than switch ...

09-28-2007, 01:44 AM
Hey, by the way - I don't really see the need for using anything but the bw-font. It comes with a very nice keybord layout and if I need to convert it to unicode, a nice macro is provided somewhere in this forum.

Why not just using the bw-font - what do you gain by using a unicode font?


Thomas Dolhanty
09-28-2007, 06:14 AM
As I understand it, there are two questions here: 1) What’s the benefit of unicode?, and, 2) Why not just stick with BW fonts? (And, as you note, BW fonts and unicode are not mutually exclusive.)

Others more knowledgeable than me will have to answer the first question. As I understand it, unicode advantages include portability, permanence, and the independence of the font from the typeface – all of which are lacking in non-unicode fonts.

I know that the BW Hebrew keyboard is unicode. In fact, the Hebrew font I’ve installed in Keyman is the same one as the BW Hebrew font. How one would convert the BW Greek fonts to a unicode keyboard, I have no idea. The BW translitertion font never worked for me. I couldn’t find some of the characters required, and I did not find the layout to be intuitive.

As to the second question – ‘Why not just stick with BW?’ – the spoiler for me is the “nice macro (which) is provided somewhere in this forum”. I didn’t want to go looking for another “nice macro”, which I may or may not be able to make work, providing I could find it! I wanted a simple and comprehensive solution. I wanted daddy font-doctor to give me a font program so that I never have to think about fonts again, except to choose one!

The question was never one of the ‘niceness’ of the font for me. I am perfectly happy with the BW Hebrew and Greek fonts. The question was one of ease of installation and use.

I now have what I wanted from the beginning – a simple application which manages ALL of my font issues, gives me a great on-screen font layout when I need it, and is adjustable and expandable (just in case I should decide to learn Mandarin, too!).