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How to enter Esperanto text here

The Esperanto alphabet has several letters that do not occur in the English alphabet. (See the Wikipedia article on Esperanto Orthography for another treatment of this subject.

These are: Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĵ, Ĥ, Ŝ and Ŭ. These letters are pronounced like the english: cho, joe, zho, Xo, show, and whoa. The Ĥ (Xo) sound is like the greek chi or the sound in the Scottish word "loch" or the German word "ach".

As computers have modernized and become more international, this has become less of a problem. However, it still requires a little explanation. Modern computers can usually display these letters fine in webpages, but email and newsgroups are still problematic. And many computers do not provide an easy way to type them.

The simplest method for dealing with this is what is called "X-system". Since the letter X does not occur in the Esperanto alphabet, one can type: Cx, Gx, Jx, Hx, and Ux to represent these letters. The lowercase versions are cx, gx, jx, hx, sx, and ux to represent ĉ, ĝ, ĵ, ĥ, ŝ, and ŭ. The method makes it very easy to use a simple script to convert to the proper letters later on.

When Zamenhof created the language, he suggested the "H-system". In this the letter ĥ is written as hh, and the other letters are ch, gh, jh, sh, and ŭ can be represented "u" (although you will also see it written as a "w"). An advantage of this system is that natural pronunciation to an English speaker is very close to the correct pronunciation.

Some people use a caret symbol "^" or an apstrophe (') combined with a letter to represent these letters.

These methods have the advantage that they can be easily typed on any keyboard.

If you are writing something that a lot of people will read, it will make it easier on your readers to ensure that they see the easier-to-read super-signed letters.

This site uses an encoding system called UTF-8 of the Unicode character set. Unicode is the most modern and best way to represent characters in different languages. It allows one to seamlessly mix beautiful and strange characters like this:

Greek λάμδα
Hebrew ברשאית
Russian а б в г д её ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я

There are many examples in this website of the the Esperanto super-signed characters, such as on this page. Probably if you cut and paste the characters from this page using your browser, it will properly insert the character correctly.

For any particular computer system, there may be ways to directly type in these characters.


There is a free keyboard driver EK for Windows. It is configurable, e.g. you may choose to type with h- or x-system, and EK will then change it into the appropriate Esperanto letter. It works fine with almost all Windows software.

By editing a registry setting(at your own risk!), you can enable the use of unicode "alt codes."

  • open regedit
  • go to HKCurrent_User/Control Panel/Input Method
  • Change REG_SZ "EnableHexNumpad" to "1" (If EnableHexNumpad doesn't exist, then you must add it).
  • Restart.

Once you've done that, you can type any unicode character by holding down the 'ALT' key, pressing '+', and typing the unicode number, and releasing the alt key. E.g., (hold) + <+> + (on the number pad)'0108' + (release) yields &#264;. This would be immensely handy if it didn't require a registry edit because it would allow you to type any esperanto character from any computer relatively easily--but even still, it's very useful because it allows you to type any unicode character this way. Usefulness varies based on whether the program in question accepts unicode input, and the hotkeys the program uses.

However, if you happen to be on a computer you don't have administrative rights to, you can still use the unicode number to get esperanto (or any unicode) characters. Wordpad, Word, or any program that uses a "Rich Edit Control" can convert a unicode number to it's corresponding letter. Using the 0108 from above, simply type:
0108 followed by 'ALT'+X, or
0108 followed by 'CTRL'+'ALT'+'SHIFT'+'F12'
to yield Ĉ.
See the table below for unicode numbers for each of the esperanto characters.

MacOS X:

Under the "International" panel of the System Preferences, select the "Input Menu" tab. Near the bottom of the list of keyboard layouts is U.S. Extended (which is a US flag with a little black "U" attached to the bottom. In the menu-bar at the type of the screen, a new menu will appear near the right-hand side that shows the American flag. Select the other keyboard map in this menu and you'll be ready to go. This will let you directly input UTF-8 characters. For a circumflex, press option-6 (that's where the circumflex appears on the keyboard) -- you'll see the circumflex show up. Next, type the character like usual. You'll see the character appear under the circumflex. For a breve, type option-b and then either "u" or "U". That's it.


There are many ways to deal with Esperanto letters under Linux. One method is to save the following as a file (say, '.xmodmap_eo')in your home directory, and running the command: 'xmodmap .xmodmap_eo' :

! ---------- CUT HERE -------------

! Uzi AltGr kun ne internacia klavoj
! left/right windows-logo key
! in "windows" keyboards the postion of the key is annoying, is where AltGr
! usually resides, so go define it as AltGr
keycode 115 = Mode_switch
keycode 116 = Mode_switch

! ĉi tiu de
! Baza solvo por tajpado de Esperantaj supersignaj literoj estas uzado de la
! klavo AltGr. Por fari tion oni skribu en sia dosiero “.Xmodmap” la jenajn
! liniojn, kiuj modifas la aktualan klavararanĝon:

keycode 54 = C NoSymbol ccircumflex
keycode 42 = G NoSymbol gcircumflex
keycode 43 = H NoSymbol hcircumflex
keycode 44 = J NoSymbol jcircumflex
keycode 39 = S NoSymbol scircumflex
keycode 30 = U NoSymbol ubreve

! Tiam AltGr-c kreas “c”-on kun cirkumflekso, kun aldona majuskliga klavo ĝi
! kreas “C”-on kun cirkumflekso, k.t.p.

! ---------- CUT HERE -------------

Once you've done that, then holding down the Windows key and pressing one of the letters: c,s,g,h,j or u will produce ĉ,ŝ,ĝ,ĥ,ĵ, or ŭ. If you want to make this permanent you can add it to your startup files. Additional information here.

If all else fails, one can enter the HTML entities that represent the 6 supersigned letters
and their upper case versions. An HTML entity is a string of plain ASCII characters of the form &#XXX;.
For the Esperanto letters, they are:

Cxapelita litero Ĉ ĉ Ĝ ĝ Ĥ ĥ Ĵ Ŝ Ŝ ŝ Ŭ ŭ Esperanto letter
html-ento &#264; &#265; &#284; &#285; &#292; &#293; &#308; &#309; &#348; &#349; &#364; &#365; html entity
Unikodo-numero U+ 0108 U+ 0109 U+ 011C U+ 011D U+ 0124 U+ 0125 U+ 0134 U+ 0135 U+ 015C U+ 015D U+ 016C U+ 016D Unicode number
UTF-8bajtoj heksaj C488 C489 C49C C49D C4A4 C4A5 C4B4 C4B5 C59C C59D C5AC C5AD UTF-8 hex bytes

So, one can enter the word "preskaux" using only characters that you can type on a standard keyboard
by entering "preska&#365;". (Of course this method is more cumbersome and requires 6 characters to represent one Esperanto letter.)

(The above table used by permission of Russ Williams.)

by Robert L. Read


Ek! Has some issues in Gmail (possibly other web input fields)

pythelico's picture

Just FYI, Ek! is good but you'll get some odd behavior if it's enabled while writing a Gmail email (i.e. enter may not respond with starting a new line).

FWIW, the unexpected Ek! behavior of the Enter key is also true for comments on :)


August 18, 2011 by pythelico, 6 years 4 weeks ago

Two typos's picture

Good info, but there are two typos.

One is that the Hebrew word above has the third and fourth letters reversed.

The second is that the character corresponding to ĵ (or Unicode 0135) should be a lowercase j-caret rather than an uppercase S-caret. This looks like a cut-and-paste error.

May 19, 2008 by, 9 years 17 weeks ago

won't wrap

Koto's picture

I can't read the material about E-o characters because it's wider
than my screen. Shifting back and forth with the horizontal bar
makes me seasick after about a paragraph, so I gave up.

I then tried to back out of this comment, because
I thought (after I started it) that it would be better to e-mail
just Robert than to post this comment, but it isn't clear to me how
to cancel a comment that has already been begun.

I apologize for my inability to use the site correctly.


April 2, 2008 by Koto, 9 years 24 weeks ago

Contact us / Kontaktu Nin

Contact Us / Kontaktu Nin:

Landa Kongreso * 2017 June 30 - July 3 * Annual Congress

EO Esperanto: La Landa Kongreso 2017 okazos en Raleigh, Nord-Karolino, Usono, 2017 ekde la 30-a de junio ĝis la 3-a de julio, 2017.
Por aliĝi, vidu: Aliĝilo

EN English: The Annual US Esperanto Congress 2017 will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, Jun 30 - July 3, 2017.
To sign up, see: Registration

NASK * 2017 jul 4 - 13 * Summer Courses

EO Esperanto: La bonega kursaro NASK - Nord-Amerika Somera Kursaro okazos de la 4-a de Julio ĝis la 7-a de Julio ĉe Raleigh, Norda Karolino, ĉe la Universitato William Peace. Por vidi pli da detaloj aŭ aliĝi, klaketu ligilon NASK.

EN English: The excellent North American Esperanto Summer Courses (NASK), will be happening from July 4 to 13th, at William Peace University, in Raleigh, North Carolina. To see more details or sign up, click on NASK.

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