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A way to enter macrons in Windows

At some point of your learning Latin, you start to understand that you should pay attention to the vowel length. You start making tables (in a spreadsheet or some text editor) for word forms and now understand that you need a method to represent the long vowels.

The method that is currently used is a macron (a horizontal line above the vowel).

Windows has Unicode (Universal Coded Character Set). Unicode has a mechanism of combining characters: you enter a symbol and then right after it enter a modifier.

So, to write a vowel with a macron in Windows:

  1. Open the program "Character Map" (charmap.exe)
  2. Find the combining character from the table. The font doesn't matter. Combining characters start from U+0300, macron is U+0304
  3. Click Select and then Copy
  4. Now, as long as you have the macron in your clipboard, you can press Ctrl+V after a letter you want to modify

Another method is the program called AutoHotkey (https://www.autohotkey.com/)
The script line could be

^`::Send {U+0304}

This makes a symbol macroned when you press Ctrl+`

September 18, 2019



The instructions here will set it up so you can type a vowel with a macron by pressing ` (~) and then typing the vowel. Aside from this one feature, the English (New Zealand) - Maori keyboard is identical to the standard US English keyboard.


Thank you for this!


You may also set your keyboard to a language that uses macrons, for example Maori.

Personally, I think using macrons is like writing English or French in the IPA. It is just a prop for beginners.


"Personally, I think using macrons is like writing English or French in the IPA. It is just a prop for beginners."

Tell that to the ancient Romans who used duplicated vowels or apices to mark the long vowels in their writings.

There are lots of languages that use accents and other diacritics to mark variations in vowel length or quality, including French and Finnish, nor is it that different to certain spelling conventions of English that help us distinguish "later" from "latter" or "met" from "mete" and "meet" and "meat".


But they heard it spoken.

And it's good: because we are beginners.


Tell that to the ancient Romans who used duplicated vowels or apices to mark the long vowels in their writings.

They did do that occasionally, but it wasn't as commonly used as you now make it out to be.


But far more than many will lay claim to. The following is from Olli Salomies ‘The Roman Republic’ (The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy (eds. Bruun and Edmondson, Oxford University Press, 2015, excerpts from pp. 170ff).

Common methods were:

  • Doubling of vowels: MAARCO for mārcō. This was usually, but not always, reserved for initial syllables.
  • Fronted E before I: DEIVUDUNDA for dīvidunda
  • I longa (that is: capital i): márcI for mārcī
  • And as shown above, an apex for a, e, o, u, y. Using Y for υ only became common during the first century ʙᴄᴇ.
  • OI or OE for long u: COIRARE for cūrāre (notice it missing for ā), LOIDI for lūdī (ī: as mentioned for ā).

‘Especially in longer texts, there is a lack of consistency, with a word or phoneme written in different ways. for instance, dico (“I say”) may be written both deico et dico within the same text […]’ With regards to apices, Salomies notes that apices and other forms of vowel quantity notation (such as I longa) were fairly uncommon in the Republic; they are already attested during this time, but become familiar during the imperial time.

I would further refer you to this thread: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/35067985


That is cool that you figured that out.


One can also use Microsoft Word to set up a shortcut for typing special characters. It requires being copy-pasted to anything outside of Word, but it saves me the hassle of configuring my keyboard.

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


Note that this is not only about macrons but about combining characters in general. With the same method you can add any diacritics you don't have on your keyboard. For example, stress marks.


Tibī, domne, est avatāra optima! Vir Condemnātiōnis tecum sit!

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