Inuktitut Computing

The UQAILAUT Project

Inuktitut Fonts and Keyboard Drivers

Display of Inuktitut syllabic characters

Inuktitut syllabic characters can be displayed with Unicode fonts and with so-called Legacy fonts. Unicode is an encoding system whereby every character or glyph of every language in the world is assigned a unique numerical code. Unicode fonts do not all contain all Unicode codes, but generally, Unicode fonts for Inuktitut can also display roman characters. As for Legacy fonts, which are 7-bit or 8-bit fonts, they were developed before Unicode and were the only way at the time to display syllabics. In Legacy fonts, the 7-bit ascii codes or 8-bit Latin-1 codes, depending on the font, are reassigned from roman characters to Inuktitut syllabic characters. The most popular Legacy fonts for Inuktitut are Nunacom and ProSyl, mostly used in Nunavut. There are also AiPaiNuna and AiPaiNunavik used in Nunavik.

Get Unicode and Legacy Inuktitut fonts.


In general, authors of documents specify which character font should be used to display the text. When it is not specified, and the browser does not know which font to use, it will display small empty rectangles in place of characters. Fortunately, with most browsers, it is possible to define a DEFAULT FONT, to be used when the font is not determined specifically. For Unicode Inuktitut, the browser must be told which font to use to display the characters of the "canadian syllabary":

Internet Explorer :

Click on Tools, Internet Options and Fonts ; for Language script, select Canadian Syllabary and in the list of available fonts, select a font, for example: Pigiarniq.

Firefox :

Click on Tools and Options...; click on the tab Content; in the box Fonts and colors , click on Advanced...; for Font for , select Canadian Unified Syllabary and specify the fonts as required among the selection offered to you.

Input of Inuktitut syllabic characters

Input of Inuktitut syllabics at the keyboard can be done in Unicode or with a Legacy font.

To input Unicode characters, your computer must be using a particular keyboard driver, in order to assign the proper Unicode codes with the keys of the keyboard. That is, for Unicode input, the keys are reassigned new codes corresponding to new glyphs. For example, when the 'g' key is pressed down, the Inuktitut keyboard driver will send to the current application the Unicode code 5200 assigned to the Inuktitut syllabic character . By comparaison, the default keyboard driver of the computer would send the ascii code 103 that is assigned to the roman letter 'g'.

Get the Unicode keyboard driver, and instructions on how to install it and do input in Unicode.

To input inuktitut characters using a Legacy font, you do not need a particular inuktitut keyboard driver; the default keyboard driver of the computer is used. For Legacy font input, the keys are reassigned new glyphs through the fonts, but the codes remain the same.  For example, with the font Nunacom, the same character is obtained by pressing the same key 'g', but the code received is that of the 'g' key, 103.

Get information about input with Legacy fonts.
The original contents of this site was developed by Benoît Farley at the National Research Council of Canada.