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Microsoft Word

What is GreekTranscoder?

System requirements

How does it work?

What's next?

Mac OS X Unicode polytonic Greek keyboard layout

Support GreekTranscoder


Version history



GreekTranscoder for Microsoft Word:

Welcome to GreekTranscoder's home.

GreekTranscoder is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

GreekTranscoder is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You'll find a copy of the GNU General Public License along with GreekTranscoder.

GreekTranscoder is a program which converts polytonic Greek characters written using one text encoding into another one. Its primary goal is to allow the conversion of documents using older fonts and encodings into Unicode fonts. However, it also allows converting text between older encodings as well as from Unicode into those obsolete formats.

Currently GreekTranscoder supports the following legacy encodings:

  • Beta Code
  • GreekKeys
  • Ismini
  • LaserGreek
  • Paulina Greek
  • SGreek
  • SPIonic
  • SuperGreek
  • Vilnius University
  • WinGreek (and Son of WinGreek)

And, of course, GreekTranscoder supports Unicode, using either composed or composing characters. The program lets you choose which option you wish to apply to your Unicode text. It also lets you conform to the TLG usage regarding Unicode codepoints which, according to the TLG, should be "deprecated". A Unicode text can be converted into Unicode itself with different conversion settings.

GreekTranscoder is distributed as a Microsoft Word document template. It is programmed using Visual Basic 5 (the latest version available in the Macintosh version of Office) and is available to the user as a macro in Word.

Your version of Microsoft Word and your operating system must support Unicode to use the program. Minimum requirements are as follow:

  • Macintosh: Microsoft Word 2004 or later, which means Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. This is the first version of the application that fully supports Unicode, which is required by GreekTranscoder.

    Nota Bene: GreekTranscoder is not compatible with Microsoft Word 2008, which does not support macros any longer. GreekTranscoder is compatible with Microsoft Word 2011 which supports them once again. However, currently, there are bugs in Microsoft Word 2011's VBA implementation which prevent GreekTranscoder from performing reliably. So, for now, on Macintosh computers, only Microsoft Word 2004 is fully supported. However, since Mac OS X 10.7 users must use Microsoft Word 2011, a beta version of GreekTranscoder that works around some of the bugs in that version is now available. Also use that version of the program with the newly released Microsoft Word 2016.

  • Windows: Microsoft Word 2000 or later (and consequently a Windows release that supports that version). Microsoft Word 97, although it supports Unicode, uses an older and incompatible version of Visual Basic.

GreekTranscoder has been tested successfully as far back as Word 2000 and Windows 98 SE.

This version of the program is released under the GPL. It means the source code is readily available: just open the template in Microsoft Word as you would any other document and launch Visual Basic Editor to access it.

Note: GreekTranscoder does not support Windows "symbol" fonts; if your documents use such fonts you should register Ralph Hancock's and Denis Liégeois' program Antioch and use it to convert them.

While Microsoft Word can't identify encodings, it can find and replace fonts based on their names, even if they're not installed.

To transcode your text, just select in the provided lists the Greek font currently used in your document (the "source" font) as well as the Greek font that uses the encoding you wish to use from now on (the "target" font):


Then select your conversion options and press "Transcode".

See the documentation that comes with the program for more details.

Programming a Visual Basic application on a Mac is not a pleasing experience.

The next step is turning GreekTranscoder into a full-fledged application using REALBasic instead of Visual Basic. The resulting program should be more robust and let me safely support more encodings and features.

Please let me know which features you'd like to see added to the program.

If you'd like me to add an encoding to the program, please send me a copy of the font which uses it so that I can see whether I can include it in a future release.

I have also developed a Unicode polytonic Greek keyboard configuration for AZERTY keyboards.

It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and a Unicode-compatible word processing program.

It can produce composed characters using either dead keys (first you type the diacritics, then the letter: "῀" + "η" gives "ῆ" ) or modifier keys ("option-a" gives "ά"); as well as composing characters using combining diacritics ("ο" + "᾿" gives "ὀ"). In other words it's very flexible.

You can take a look at the layout if you want.

GreekTranscoder is free. As is my keyboard layout.

However, if they prove useful to you, please consider making a donation to show your support and appreciation for my work. Developing software is an expensive and time-consuming hobby, fun as it may be, and your help is very welcome.

Donations are handled by Kagi:
Online form

You can download GreekTranscoder, as well as a test document containing the beginning of Plato's Protagoras transcoded into various fonts and encodings, from here:

You can download the keyboard layout from here:

Version 1.0.5 (beta), 2010.09.29:

  • Modified the code to work around some of the bugs in Microsoft Word 2011's VBA implementation; however some limitations remain.

Version 1.0.4, 2005.07.20:

  • In the Unicode transcoder, the 'MATHEMATICAL FRAKTUR CAPITAL M' and 'MATHEMATICAL FRAKTUR CAPITAL P' characters were transposed: the error has been corrected.
  • In message boxes, the program now displays icons appropriate to the context if available on the current platform.
  • Better interrupt handling.
  • Minor code optimizations.

Version 1.0.3, 2005.07.18:

  • The program now always reports the conversion progress accurately.
  • When verifying and sorting composing characters' sequences, the program now properly switches fonts if needed.
  • When switching fonts, the 'Convert Selection Only' setting is now correctly taken into account.
  • When replacing Greek characters, the program now makes sure that all the 'AutoFormat' options are turned off, not just those affecting quotes.
  • The program requires Word 2000 or later, not Word XP or later, as the included warning message's title mistakenly put it.
  • The font previously identified as 'ALPHABETUM' in the default font list is now properly called 'ALPHABETUM Unicode'.
  • The font 'Code2001' shouldn't have been included in the font list: the font 'Code2000' now replaces it.

Version 1.0.2, 2005.07.15:

  • General code clean-up and optimization: the program is much smaller as a result, and should be faster as well.
  • The program now systematically verifies and sorts composing characters' sequences for encodings that use them.
  • Providing an encoding is susceptible of such composing characters' verifications, choosing both a source and a target font belonging to that encoding will run those checks.
  • The program now produces pairs of surrogate UTF-16 codepoints to represent UTF-32 codepoints Word can't insert directly rather than use other characters as substitute.
  • Worked around a problem with Word sometimes losing track of the current selection and transcoding all the document instead.
  • Sometimes the program would fail to color in red the characters it couldn't transcode: it's now fixed.
  • When converting Beta Code texts which only use regular sigma letters, the program will now produce final sigma letters as needed.
  • Increased the font box size in the GreekTranscoderToolbar.

Version 1.0.1, 2005.07.08:

  • The Vilnius University encoding is now supported.
  • The routine which verifies the Unicode composing characters' sequences is now much more efficient.
  • The default font list now includes 'Code2001', 'Gentium' and 'GentiumAlt', and 'ALPHABETUM', plus all the Vilnius-University-encoding fonts listed in the Antioch documentation.
  • The default font list no longer includes the so-called 'Semata' fonts.
  • The replacement order has been modified so that capital vowels with prosgegrammeni are now treated after the small letter iota with diacritics, but before the plain small letter iota.
  • The transcoders have been updated and a few mistakes corrected.
  • Improved the treatment of WinGreek quotation marks.
  • Corrected an issue on Windows where, even if the minimal configuration was not met, the program would still load.
  • On Windows, the program displays a smaller window and uses Arial 10pt instead of 12pt.

Version 1.0.0, 2005.06.27:

  • Initial release.

Please send me your and encouragements: with your help, I can make GreekTranscoder an even better program.

If you are writing about a possible malfunction, please include the following information:

  • The version of GreekTranscoder you are using (see bottom of its main window, just above the copyright notice.)
  • The version of Microsoft Word you are using.
  • The operating system you are using and its version number.

Thanks again for your support.


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Copyright © 2005-11 David-Artur Daix.
The font used in the title image is Mindaugas Strockis' Grecs du roi, based of the famous Claude Garamond's design. George Douros has created a Unicode version of that same font called Anaktoria.