Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Cyrillic Script (Non-Russian)

This page focuses on languages other than Russian which are written in the Cyrillic script. Please see the Russian page for information on Russian language utilities.

This Page

  1. Languages in Cyrillic
  2. Activating Keyboards for Typing
  3. Browser and Font Recommendations
  4. Web Development and Language Codes
  5. Cyrillic Alphabet Unicode Chart (New Page)
  6. Links

Languages in Cyrillic

Not surprisingly, many languages that were part of the former Soviet Union are written in Cyrillic or use Cyrillic as one of the possible available scripts. In terms of internationalization, the languages can be divided into two classes.

Eastern European Slavic

These include languages related to Russian like Ukrainian, Belarussian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and others. Support for these languages is generally available on both Windows and Mac.

Central Asian Languages

These included non-Slavic languages like Uzbek, Kyrghiz, Azer, Tatar, and others. Many of these are actually Turkic languages (related to Turkish) or other languages not related to Russian and use unique Cyrillic letters not commonly needed for the Slavic languages. Some languages in this region can be written in either Cyrillic, the Roman alphabet or even the Arabic script depending on the location of a particular speaker community.

Keyboard support for several Central Asian Cyrillic languages is available on Windows, but are not well-supported on the Macintosh. However, encoded fonts for the Mac are available and some third-party keyboarding utilities may be available for older systems of Mac.

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Activating Keyboards for Typing


Follow the instructions for Activating Keyboard Locales to activate and switch Microsoft keyboards to the appropriate layout. Keyboards for both Eastern European and Central Asian languages are available.


Eastern European

Follow the instructions for Activating Macintosh Keyboards to activate and switch Macintosh keyboards. You need to have the Central European items installed. If they are not available on your system, you should reinstall them from a System CD.

Central Asian

The fonts are installed for Mac OS X , but no keyboards are available from Apple at this time. One suggestion is to type most content with one of the Eastern European language Keyboards, then use the Character Pallete to input special Central Asian Cyrillic characters.

Note: This works only for Unicode aware editors such as TextEdit, Micorsoft Office 2004 and Nisus Writer Express.

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Browser and Font Setup

Browser Setup

Please note which fonts are needed for each platform before viewing instructions to configure your browsers in the Preferences or Tools menu. Most browsers are recommended, but older browsers like Netscape 4.7 may need more adjustments.

Eastern European Slavic Fonts

Central Asian Slavic Fonts

Fonts with links are freeware fonts can be downloaded and placed on Windows or Mac OS X . These fonts are designed for medieval or ancient scholars.

Third Party Cyrillic Fonts

These fonts include many supplementary Cyrillic and historic characters

Recommended Browsers

Browsers which fully support Unicode are strongly recommended. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. You will be asked to match a script with a font.

Testing and Troubleshooting Web Sites

Test Web Sites

If you have all the utilities set up correctly, then your browser should be able to see the following Cyrillic test pages correctly.

Penn State Cyrillic Chart

Manually Switch Encoding

If you see some unusual letters instead of the appropriate Cyrillic letters, you will need to manually switch from Western encoding to one of the Cyrillic encodings or Unicode under the View menu of your browser.


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Web Development

Cyrillic Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.


If you are desigining a new page, Unicode encoding is recommended since it supports all Cyrillic languages.

Selected Language Codes

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Inputting and Editing Text in an HTML Editor

One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.

Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.

Other Web Tools

For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.

Using Unicode Escape Characters

If you wish to input a word or short phrase, you can use Unicode entity codes. See the Cyrillic Unicode Block Codes or the Minority Languages of Russia Unicode page for details.

PDF and Image Files

In some cases, your best options may be to use PDF files or image files. See the Web Development Tips section for more details.

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Non-Russian Cyrillic Languages

General Russian Cyrillic

University of Arizona Slavic Information Literacy Font Tools - Includes PDAs




Third Party Fonts

These fonts include many supplementary Cyrillic characters

Web Development Tips

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:39:40 EDT