Erik Thau-KnudsenErik's notes on

East European font solutions


This page sets out to solve a number of problems that Macintosh users based in West European languages face when dealing with East European languages, including Greek, in texts.

Target group

Language: non-English speakers  (although English speakers might benefit, too),
Geography: in West Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa,
Work: working with Cyrillics and other languages of East & South East Europe on a professional level: students, professors, translators,
IT knowledge: basic text processing, beginners
Wallet size: empty (the tools needed are freeware or shareware)

Other pages on the World Wide Web deal with this and similar issues, but I cannot help giving my own advice. It is a jungle out there.


Mac to Mac

  1. Cyrillic font solutions
    1. History
      Reading HTML pages
      Cyrillifying your web browser
  2. Macintosh OS 7.0-8.6
    Macintosh OS 9.0-9.2.2
    Macintosh OS X
  3. East European Roman font solutions
    1. Slovenia
      Turkish font solutions
      Diacritic signs without installing new fonts
      Greek font solutions

Converting East European text from Macintosh to Windows PCs

  1. Find/replace approach
  2. Converting Cyrillic text from Macintosh to Windows environments
  3. HTML Conversion
    1. From Macintosh OS 8.6 and before
  4. Start user requirements
    End user requirements
    1. From Macintosh OS 9.0 and later
  5. Start user requirements
  6. End user requirements
  7. Procedure
  8. Comment

Mac to Mac

Cyrillic font solutions

History: There are many ways to apply Cyrillics to your Mac keyboard. Apple made fonts an easy task in the days, when System 6 and 7.0 held the sway (and DOS and Windows 3.x experienced crashes when operating Cyrillic alphabets), and also backed firmly up by the Language Kit software. It was sold independently and was not really essential as long as you didn't need to exchange texts with outsiders. You just added the font, whether Latin or non-Latin, selected the proper keyboard layout provided by the creator, and off you went. Printing was no big deal.

The emergence of Windows 95 made things that from a superficial glance looked genious -- connecting font typeface and keyboard layout firmly together -- but Microsoft Corp. took away the private initiative of having individualised keyboards and fonts with non-standard or funny characters. However, the font definitions were becoming an increasingly important issue with the hasty spread of the Internet, and the Cyrillic issue has not yet been solved definitely. Some solutions are current -- and indeed very widespread -- so Mac users should take caution of that.

Reading HTML pages

   For reading HTML pages written in Cyrillic Slavic (Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian), you might install Apple's Russian system fonts. The font package RS-System_7.0.1-3of7.sea.bin (632 KB) contains ARSKurier (a Courier clone), Bastion (sens-serif), Latinskij (Times), Prjamoj, Prjamoj Prop (both Prjamojs render Geneva), and Sistemnyj (Chicago). They all conform with the Apple Standard Cyrillic Encoding. Please contact me if you need keyboard layouts for typing.
    Non-Slavic Cyrillic languages (pre 1860 Rumanian, Mongolian, Yakut, Kyrgyz, etc.) meet poor support both by Microsoft and Apple (except in Mac OS X).

    The guiding principle of the tricks below is that it should be for free. You can solve your Cyrillic problems by using the free fonts and free browsers I mention.

    For more tricks and fonts to make your Mac run smoothly with the Cyrillic alphabet, please consult Russification of your Macintosh. It works for Bulgarian as well. If you find that site too extensive, then a good portal for using Cyrillics on a Macintosh is AATSEEL's (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages) Macintosh Cyrillic Fonts and Keyboard Drivers.


    A world standard covering all modern literary languages is under development. Its current result is Unicode, also called Universal Standard with the abbreviations UTF-7andUTF-8. Unicode will take out non-English text from the shadow of ASCII, the encoding developed in USA in the stone age of computers, when a computer sized a gym hall and required a batallion of soldiers just to change the bulbs. Any linguist should install Unicode, as this seems to become the default encoding for all the Web and all computer generated text within the next 10 or 20 years. I shall return to this later. Worth to mention now is just that it enables you to display several alphabets in the same web page. I tested Western, Central European and Cyrillics on my list of publications.

In principle, Unicode can display any character of any alphabet in use today (and a couple of obsolete alphabets as well). Still, though, no browser or operating system can fully meet the demands of Unicode. E.g., you may want to view Cyrillics, West European, Central European, and Greek in the same page, but some of the Greek letters come out with question marks. Using another Web browser is a solution.

Links: On the use of some MS Windows characters in HTML by Jukka Korpela

Cyrillifying your web browser

There are quite a bit of pages that deal with this issue, but I can't help writing my own tricks, learnt by hard experiences.
Macintosh OS 7.0-8.6 | Macintosh OS 9.0-9.2.2 | Macintosh OS X

In Macintosh Operating System 7.0-8.6:

1. Browser choice: Best browsers are (provided that you haven't installed Apple Language Kit)

2. Make sure you have installed at least one of the following fonts (other fonts can do as well -- the below ones are guaranteed to work):

Apple system fonts:
Prjamoj Prop

Charcoal CY
Geneva CY
Helvetica CY
Monaco CY
Times CY

C&G fonts:
GlasnostDemiboldFAF, GlasnostExtraboldFAF, GlasnostLightFAF

ER Bukinist Macintosh
ER Univers Macintosh
Helvetica Cyrillic

Refer to your system manuals for font installation issues.
If you don't have a manual around, dump the fonts into the Fonts folder inside your System Folder.

3. In Netscape (the following instructions are for Netscape Communicator 4) go to menu Edit > Preferences. Select Appearance > Fonts. In the field For the encoding select Cyrillic. In the field Variable width font select e.g. Prjamoj Prop (or any other font of your taste). In the field Fixed width font select, e.g., ARSKurier (or any other font of your taste).
    To be 100 % sure of viewing Cyrillic pages correctly, check Use my fonts, overriding Dynamic Fonts.
    Click OK.

In iCab 2.9x, go to the dialogue Menu --> Preferences --> Browser --> Fonts / Languages --> Fonts / Preferred language --> Font --> Encoding --> Cyrillics [I use the Danish version, my native language; the terms in the English version may be a bit different]. Select your preferred Cyrillic fonts.
Advice: Sans-serif fonts are easier to read on screen than serif fonts. Click the radio buttons for Sans-serif for headers and for text.

4. Test your settings! Go to a web page with Cyrillic encoding. If it still shows up with nothing legible, try to force it to display you things the right way: In Netscape (again in Netscape Communicator 4), go to menu View > Character Set.

For Russian and Bulgarian: select KOI8-R
For Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian: select ISO-8859-5 or Windows-1251.

In rare cases you may have to resort to the other Windows or Macintosh specific settings instead.

Many problems are easier solved if you upgrade to Macintosh Operating System 9 or later. Check out what operating system your Mac can bear to run:
System 7.1 through Mac OS 7.6: Compatibility With Macintosh Computers (AppleCare Document 8970)
Mac OS 8-9 Compatibility With Macintosh Computers (AppleCare Document: 25114)

In Macintosh Operating System 9.0-9.2.2

You can follow the same procedure as in the above section for OS 7.0-8.6. However, you should use the Language Kit software that comes for free in the Mac OS 9 Installation CD-ROM. Microsoft Internet Explorer utilizes this system addition to display Cyrillics without problems.
    If you haven't installed Apple's Language Kit already, insert your installation CD-ROM into the CD drive. It is recommended to start up on the Mac OS 9 Installation CD-ROM. OpenMac OS Install. Proceed with the installation procedure until you come the screen Click Start to install Mac OS 9 on "<your hard drive>". Select Custom. Uncheck all points save Language Kits. Click its Installation mode. Select Customized installation. Check Software for the Cyrillic languages. ClickOK.ClickStart. The software installs. Restart the computer if prompted so.
    To be even surer, open the Mac OS 9 Installation CD-ROM. Open the folder Language Kits CD Extras. Open the folder Cyrillics. It contains subfolders with additional fonts and keyboards. Drag the font(s) onto the System Folder of your hard drive; they/it will install automatically.
You would like to type Cyrillics, too, wouldn't you? It won't work without keyboards. Install them too! Select the preferred keyboard -- you may have the choice between an English, French, and a German keyboard to type Cyrillics. Select the one(s) you like and dump them onto the System Folder of your hard drive. Restart.
    From now on, displaying (and writing) Cyrillics should be easy -- provided you have the fonts! Check out the above chapter In Macintosh Operating System 7.0-8.6.

The procedure to enable Microsoft Internet Explorer to display Cyrillics is more or less the same as in Netscape Communicator.

  1. In Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 5 is used here, but 4.0 and 4.5 should do as well) go to Menu > Edit > Settings. Select Web Browser > Language/Fonts.
  2. In Default Encoding (Danish: Standardtegnsæt.The English version of MS Internet Explorer may use another term, please forgive me, but I have the Danish version), select Cyrillic (KOI8-R). For Proportional (default), select a proportional font, e.g., Prjamoj Prop or Geneva CY. For Monospace, select a monospace font, e.g., ARSKurier or Monaco CY. The remaining fields Sans Serif, Serif, Cursive, Fantasy may be set for Cyrillic fonts as well, but they are not so important.
  3. Repeat point 2 for the other Cyrillic encodings.
  4. When done with the Cyrillic encodings, set the Default Encoding to the one of your preferred (usually native) tongue, in the case of a West European tongue, I recommend Western (Latin 1), which is identical to ISO-8859-1. Click OK.
  5. Test your settings! Go to a web page with Cyrillic encoding. If it shows up with with hundreds of interrogative signs, force the page to be viewed your way. Go to Menu > View > Text Encoding.

For Russian and Bulgarian, select Cyrillic (KOI8-R).
For Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian, select Cyrillic (8859-5) or Cyrillic (Windows).

If this doesn't help, try out some of the other settings.

In Macintosh Operating System X

OS X is an excellent operating system for displaying Cyrillic pages. Really, you shouldn't be reading this, because everything should have been solved while you were installing your operating system. However, since you do read these lines, help is below:

  1. Browser choice: Most browsers work. Browsers tested for positive handling of Cyrillics (in order of recommendation): Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, iCab, Safari.
  2. Fonts: Make sure you have Cyrillic fonts. My local list of good and free Cyrillic fonts.
  3. Change the font / language settings in the browser settings. Click OK (in iCab: click the red radio button to exit and save the settings window). You are done.


Došli Englez, Talijan i Hrvat kod Boga na raport.
Pita Bog Engleza što je bilo. - Kupio sam novog Rovera, malo se vozio, naletio na led, sletio u provaliju i evo me ovdje.
Pita Bog isto pitanje Talijana. - Kupio sam novog Ferarrija, malo se vozio, naletio na ulje, izvrtio se i evo me ovdje.
Pita Bog i Hrvata isto pitanje, a on odgovara: - Joj Boûe ne pitaj!. Kupio sam novog Yugica i umro od gladi.

East European Roman font solutions

Roman Serbo-Croatian

Croatian was one of the language versions offered with System 7 and updated to System 7.5 in late 1996. Since then, Apple discontinued the development of OS's in this variety of Serbo-Croatian (along with numerous other System localisations, such as Russian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Arabic). However, fonts were still maintained and developed further, as well as their corresponding keyboard layouts.

At Jabucnjak (Croatian for Apple fan), you can download the following font packages

  1. HR CE Fontovi.sitx.bin (path: Jabucnjak > Domace datoteke > HR CE Fontovi.sitx.bin) - 480 KB. It presents itself as a Complete collection of Mac-CE Croatian fonts. To be used in Mac OS 8.1 and later, respectively Mac OS 10.0 and later. It contains Chicago CE, Courier CE, Geneva CE, Helvetica CE, Monaco CE, Palatino CE, Times CE. I have not tested them yet, but I presume they are identical to the general Central European Macintosh fonts, and they miss glyphs for the specific Serbo-Croatian dj sound written as a d with a horizontal stroke.
  2. HR Roman Fontovi.sitx.bin (path: Jabucnjak > Domace datoteke > HR Roman Fontovi.sitx.bin) - 1.8 MB. It presents itself as a Complete collection of Mac-Roman-Croatian fonts. To be used in Mac OS 6.0 and later, and 10.0 and later, respectively. It contains Apple Chancery, Capitals, Charcoal, Chicago, Courier, Gadget, Geneva, Helvetica, Hoefler Text, HR Chisel, HR Espy Case, HR Gadget, HR Sand, HR Techno, HR Textile, Monaco, New York, Palatino, Sand, Techno, Textile, Times. I have not tested them yet.

Both packages include instructions of how to install them. I would, however, only use the guidelines for the Classic operating systems. For OS X, do convert them using dfontifier.

Hrvatska udruga Macintosh korisnika (Croatian Mac User Group) used to offer fonts for latinised Serbo-Croatian. They were more or less identical to the above packages, so my remarks below should also cover the above packages:

For more information, you should consult Jabucnjak. The site is non-profit and run by virtually all Mac users in Croatia. I have my full admiration for those guys, struggling with Apple's neglection of this language of Eastern Europe. Thanks to Miroslav Ambrus-Kis of Hrvatska Udruga Mak Korisnika for tipping me off with this info (2005-07-04) [well, of course he should tip me — after all, he is Jabucnjak's chief editor!].


There is an increased interest in in Slovenia to use Unicode as a default encoding instead of the more obviuous ISO-8859-2 standard or similar Windows / Macintosh standards. The advantages are obvious -- a small country surrounded by countries using languages of the ISO-8859-1 standard (Austria and Italy) and the Central European ISO-8859-2 (Croatia, Hungary), and Cyrillic (ISO-8859-5) within range. You should be cautious about that when dealing with exchanging texts, including hypertext (e. g., HTML documents), with Slovenia.

Turkish font solutions

Turkish is easier to deal with than the Central European languages. Turkish fonts can be obtained from an authorized Apple dealer in Turkey, Bilkomline. Bilkomline is worth a visit if you are into Apple software in Turkish, because it offers all the standard international Apple freeware in Turkish. The choice of Apple freeware in Turkish is larger at than at To get a look, go to the FTP site at

Diacritic signs without installing new fonts

If you work in MS Word v4-5.x and you don't want to install many fonts for covering your needs for Latin letters with diacritics, you might benefit from this Word document that lists letters with diacritics encoded, originally written by the Norwegian balkanist Vemund Aarbakke in 1994. Download Diakritiske tegn (2.6 KB, .sit). MS Word for the Macintosh v6 and above will not accept diacritics written in the v4-5.x way. You will benefit from it especially when writing Turkish and Serbo-Croatian. Mac OS 6 users should also have it.

Greek font solutions

One solution is to install Apples font package for the Greek System (585 KB, .sea). It gives you Hellenised versions of Courier (GR Courier), Geneva (Montérna), Helvetica (GR Helvetica), New York (Klassikí), Times (GR Times), as well as Cairo and Symbol. Its plus is that each font has both a higher end Greek and a lower end Latin part; the 128 char. Latin end has the ASCII characters required to view Albanian, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Rhætoromanian (and Bahasi Indonesia and some African languages). Its minus is that they only support the monotonikó orthography (Greek single accent system), so linguists may resort to other fonts for displaying diacritics and subscripta of katharevousaand older phases of Greek (I personally prefer Kadmos). I have not been able to find a good keyboard layout for them, but contact me if you'll take the chance with the ones I use.
I recommend installation of the fonts, since they are encoded in ISO-8859-7, one of the Greek encodings used on the WWW.
See also the Greek explanation in  Frequently Asked Questions About Fonts. Compiled by Norman Walsh (1996).

If you think you are having a hard time with older versions of Greek on your Macintosh, my only comfort is that it is hardly any better in Windows.

All reference to profit and non-profit organisations on this page is deliberate and not sponsored.

This page was constructed April 22, 2002. Last substatial change: August 30, 2004