gwrite - a virtual keyboard program

gwrite is a simple JavaScript-based utility for typing Unicode characters. It displays a table which looks like a set of keyboard buttons, and clicking on a button you enter the character in question. You can change which set of 16×8 consecutive Unicode characters is displayed, i.e. switch between character repertoires. To use the tool, you need a JavaScript-enabled, frames-enabled browser which supports a large enough character repertoire. (This means that if you are using Windows, you may need to install "multilingual support" from the Windows CD; for some odd reason it's typically not included into a default installation.)

Just enter the gwrite page itself. It initially starts with a set of Greek characters. Below the table there are some shortcuts to change the set, as well as a simple form for selecting a set of characters by the Unicode number of its first character. Type the first three hexadecimal digits (well, you can enter four if you like) and press return.

This tool suitable for typing some short texts e.g. in Russian or Greek which you need to put onto a page of yours which is otherwise e.g. in English. You would type the text by clicking on the keyboard-like table on the left (changing the character repertoire if needed). The characters entered will appear visibly in a separate frame. After typing it, click on "View"; a new window will be open, and you can then, using your browser's normal functions, save the data onto your local disk, or select View Source and copy&paste. The data will be saved as a sequence of numeric character references (and a "hard" newline appear as <br> markup). See separate instructions for the use of such data in HTML documents.

This is an experimental tool, poorly documented and quick&dirty coded. It works for me on Netscape 4 and Internet Explorer 4. On Netscape, one needs to set the encoding manually to a Unicode encoding (View -> Encoding -> Unicode (UTF-8)).

For more serious tools, see the list composed by Alan Wood: Unicode and Multilingual Editors and Word Processors. I'd especially recommend taking a look at the free UniPad editor (for Windows), which also uses a "virtual keyboard" and is much more suitable for long texts.

Date of last update: 2000-05-19

Jukka Korpela