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International Phonetic alphabet (IPA)

The International Phonetic alphabet is designed to make it possible to write almost any language and is widely used in British Dictionaries, such as the Oxford, Longman and Cambridge series.

Typing IPA Characters

Now the difficulty is in typing IPA. If you have Microsoft Office XP, then you can use Unicode. For older PC's you will need to download a font. We'd recommend downloading Gentium.

There are lots of complicated ways of typing IPA, but I'd recommend simply cutting and pasting the IPA and to save you the trouble of finding the IPA download this
small Word File (25KB Doc)

Inserting stresses and sounds into your documents

Newer versions of MS Word have an Extended Formatting Toolbar. To use it, click on
view - Toolbars - Extended Formatting.

This allows you to add IPA characters above the text and put stresses in.

(If you can not see the Extended Formatting Toolbar. Click View -> Toolbars -> Customize & then click on Extended Formatting Toolbar)


Template with IPA Toolbar

I have produced a template that provides an IPA toolbar that makes typing IPA really simple. It uses Macros, which have to be enabled for your PC. Follow the instructions very carefully and this will make typing IPA very easy. For this template to work, please check that you have:

  • The Font: Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Microsoft Word 2000+

This Template is given free of charge and is given without Warranty of any kind. Before using it please read The Readme very carefully. You will need to enable Macros before it will work. If you are unsure how to do this, please consult with your local IT support. (I am afraid I do not have time to answer individual enquiries)

Download IPA (175KB ZIP)

Resources on this Website

  • Pronunciation
    Our guide to pronunciation.

  • IPA Shortcut sheet (25KB MS Word)
    This word file has all the difficult to type IPA characters on it, so that you can just copy and paste them. You must have Word 2000 or the correct fonts to use this file.

  • IPA sheet (48KB PDF)
    Simple sheet with all IPA characters. (Works on nearly all PCs)

Useful Websites

Teaching English
Very nice pronunciation chart and lesson ideas. (Requires Flash)

Phonetics Focus
A tour de force of phonetic resources for students. (Requires Flash)

Cambridge Dictionary
A little bit slow sometimes, but its free and uses IPA.

Comprehensive information on IPA including it's history, links and charts.

Gentium Font
Very nice font for typing IPA.

Official IPA Website
Has a lot of indepth information, but of limited value to English learners.

IPA Unicode test Page
I needed this to create this Webpage, but for non-programmers of limited value.

Having problems displaying this page? You need either Firefox 1.5+ or IE 6+ to see special IPA characters and the appropriate fonts.