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Syllabics Keyboard Layouts

One Key Keyboard Layouts

Type In Roman Keyboard Layouts

There are two types of Syllabics keyboards on this site, both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • One-key, one-character. With one keystroke, one syllabic character appears, be it a full syllabic: like ᒧ,ᔦ, and ᒐ, or a final: like ᐤ, ᐨ, or ᐦ. Combining symbols, e.g. the mid-dot ᐧ, are typed separately. 
  • Type in Roman. This follows the principle of typing finals and vowels separately. This is different from the first type of keyboard. To type ᐃ, simply use the 'i' key, and ᑫ is generated by the sequence 'k' + 'e'.

The One-Key takes some training to learn, but once your fingers know the keys, it’s certainly faster. For those who are not familiar with the Roman orthography, this system is much easier to learn.

The Type in Roman keyboarding method is simpler for the casual user. The Roman orthography is physically printed on the keyboard, and serves an aid to memory. This system is much easier for those who can touch-type in English.

There is a lot of orthographical variation amongst Cree and Ojibway communities concerning w-dot placement and the forms of the finals. This is all taken account of in the specific keyboards. For more details, see the keyboard maps for each language.

There are also stylistic differences. Some writers may prefer a certain placement of final:

  • the final /w/ or /ch/ at the middle of the line. As in ᒣᐢᑲᓇ ᐑᐸ
  • the final /w/ or /ch/ at the top of the line, as in ᒣᐢᑲᓇᐤ ᐑᐸᐨ

The shape of the syllabic may also have various forms. These stylistic differences can be compared to Latin minuscule ‘a’ and ‘g’, which can also look like ‘ɑ’ and ‘ɡ’. Speakers of most languages using the Roman Alphabet would not treat these as different letters, although graphically they are quite distinct. Same goes for most Syllabics languages. As these are stylistic variants, if you prefer one kind of final to another, you should look for a font which contains the style of character you desire.


The syllabics keyboards for Windows provided on this site are used with Keyman from Tavultesoft. This program will be installed along with some Unicode fonts by clicking on a link below. Mac users will have to install fonts separately, but Keyman is not required on Macs.


Note: These keyboards are for Unicode fonts only, and even so, some languages use symbols do not appear in the Unicode standard 5.0. Please make sure you have an up-to-date Languagegeek font so that you can view these characters.

“One-Key” Keyboard Maps and Downloads

Mac Installer Instructions

Keyman Installer Instructions

Cree Keyboards: Mac Download — Windows (Keyman) Download

Cree, Eastern 1-key  Moose Cree, Eastern Swampy Cree, East Cree, Naskapi Keymap
Cree, Western 1-key Plains Cree, Woods Cree, Western Swampy Cree, Saulteau (Plains Ojibway) Keymap

Oji-Cree and Ojibway:  Mac Download — Windows (Keyman) Download

Wawatay 1-key Oji-Cree, Eastern Swampy Cree, and some dialects of N. Ojibway. Keymap
Oji-Cree Manitoba 1-key Manitoba Oji-Cree Keymap

“Type in Roman” Keyboard Maps and Downloads

Mac Installer Instructions

Keyman Installer Instructions

Cree Keyboards: Mac DownloadWindows (Keyman) Download

ᐄᔨᔫ ᐊᔨᒨᓐ, ᐄᓅ ᐊᔨᒨᓐ, ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐎᓐ Cree, Eastern: Includes East Cree (Quebec), Moose Cree (Ontario). Important notes Keymap
ᐃᓂᓂᒧᐎᐣ Cree, Central: Includes Omushkego Cree (Ontario). Important notes Keymap
ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐏᐏᐣ Cree, Western: Includes all in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories. Important Notes Keymap

Ojibwa Keyboards: Mac DownloadWindows (Keyman) Download

ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎ i-finals, left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏ i-finals, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎᓐ a-finals, left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏᓐ a-finals, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎᐣ western-finals, left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏᐣ western-finals, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap

Oji-Cree: Mac DownloadWindows (Keyman) Download

ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᒧᐎᐣ left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᒧᐏᐣ right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap
ᔭᓂᓯᓂᓂᒧᐏᐣ Finals ‘k’ + ‘p’ ", right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap

Naskapi: Mac DownloadWindows (Keyman) Download

ᐃᔪᐤ ᐊᔨᒧᐅᓐ Naskapi Keymap

“Type in Roman” Keyboard Usage Instructions

  1. To produce a syllable, type in the correct final + vowel, or just the vowel.
    • To get the Plains Cree word ᐃᔨᓂᐤ, type in i-y-i-n-i-w. The process on your keyboard or screen would look like this: ᐃ ᕀ ᐃ ᐣ ᐃ ᐤ. Each time a vowel follows a final, they are merged into a syllabic automatically.
  2. To get the long vowel “dot”, use the semi-colon ; key after the syllabic has been formed.
    • ᑖᓂᓯ, is typed: t-a-;-n-i-s-i (ᐟ ᐊ ˙ ᐣ ᐃ ᐢ ᐃ).
  3. If you do not want the final to combine with the vowel, holding down the shift key with the vowel will keep them separate.
    • Moose Cree example, ᓂᑦᐃᔑᓂᐦᑳᓱᓐ. Notice that the t- final ᑦ and the vowel ᐃ do not change into ᑎ.
      • n-i-t-I-x-i-n-i-h-k-a-;-s-o-n
        (ᓐ ᐃ ᑦ SHIFT-ᐃ ᔥ ᐃ ᓐ ᐃ ᐦ ᒃ ᐊ ˙ ᔅ ᐅ ᓐ).
  4. The typing of the "w-dot" combining mark is consistent with the rest of the keyboard strategy. If you're using a right-dot keyboard the "w" will automatically be placed after the syllabic, and an left-dot keyboard will put the "w" before. Unicode treats the w-dot symbols (e.g. ᐎ, ᑴ) as a single character, and typing (w-i, k-w-e) will produce these. You can also type the w-dot as if it were a separate character, use the u key. So u-k-e produces ᐧᑫ. This distinction is useful for graphic design or justification, when you may or may not want the dots to be treated as single letters.
    • Western style: ᒪᐢ  m-a-s-k-w-a (ᒼ ᐊ ᐢ ᐠ ᐤ ᐊ)
    • Eastern style:  ᒪᔅm-a-s-k-w-a (ᒻ ᐊ ᔅ ᒃ ᐤ ᐊ).
    • Characters like ᐘ/ᐗ are typed w-a (ᐤ ᐊ).
    • If you wish to type the w-dot as a separate keystroke, use the u key: ᒪᐢᑿ m-a-s-k-a-u (ᒼ ᐊ ᐢ ᐠ ᐊ ᐧ). This does not apply to Naskapi. If you use the u-key to type the w-dot, the resulting word may not be recognised by search/replaces or future spell checkers.
  5. Punctuation: By default the period . key will give the Cree Curly quotes and angle quotes have been placed on the square bracket [ ] and curly bracket { } keys respectively.
  6. When the Caps Lock key is on, the keyboards revert to the standard US keyboard.


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Last Update: September 9, 2008