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Inuktitut Keyboarding Resources

Are you using Prosyl or other legacy Inuktitut fonts? Would you like to use Unicode fonts for consistent viewing of syllabics? Well, you've come to the right place.

Why Unicode fonts?

Pretty as they are, Prosyl, Naamajut, and their kind are not Unicode fonts, which means they are idiosyncratic and limited to a very small set of characters. They take the computer bytes used for representing "A" through "Z" on a keyboard and replace them with syllabics. Nothing more. Pigiarniq and other Unicode fonts on the other hand keep "A" through "Z" on the keyboard and then add lots of characters over and above them. Unicode fonts have a completely different (more flexible and inclusive) means of representing characters than straight bytes but this is less important than the fact that Unicode fonts are inclusive, not exclusive, and codified by international standards that all computers can understand, if they want to.

Using Pigiarniq on a computer running Microsoft Windows.

To use Pigiarniq you must set up an Inuktitut keyboard configuration for your computer. Separate keyboard configurations enable you to use different character sets consistently from one keyboard to the next. Chinese? No problem. Cyrillic Russian? Step right up. Inuktitut? Please...the Inuktitut configuration represents "A" through "Z" on the keyboard as you would expect, then opens up to the full suite of syllabics, all at the push of the Caps Lock key.

Step 1: Download the Inuktitut keyboard driver: kbdiu.zip.
kbdiu.zip contains the file kbdiu.exe which prepares Windows NT, 2000 or XP computers for the installation of the Microsoft Inuktitut Keyboard. When you unzip and extract kbdiu.exe, save it to a directory on your computer and remember the location because you'll have to run it in Step 3.
Step 2: Install Pigiarniq
Download Pigiarniq here. Unzip (extract) the font files contained therein to your desktop and then move them to your computer's central font directory - C:\Winnt\fonts (Windows NT and 2000) or C:\Windows\fonts (Windows XP).
Step 3: Run kbdiu.exe
kbdiu.exe provides the layout (character mapping) necessary for installing an Inuktitut keyboard. Once you've extracted kbdiu.exe, double click to run it automatically - assuming you are running either Windows NT or 2000 operating systems. When running Windows XP, first right click on the file and select "Properties/Compatibility". Choose "Run this program in compatibility mode for Windows 2000". Click OK. Now double click kbdiu.exe to install it. The whole thing happens so fast, you might miss it. Don't worry. It happened.
Step 4: Add Inuktitut keyboard
For Windows NT and 2000 users, open the "Keyboard" control panel (Start/Settings/Control Panel) and go to the "Input locales tab". For Windows XP users, open the "Regional and Language Options" control panel and go to the "Languages" tab. Choose "Details...".
Click "Add"...
Pick a keyboard language - Indonesian is our substitute font of choice because it is in the form "IN". Choose Indonesian.
Windows NT and 2000 users, be sure to clear the checkbox marked "Use default properties for this input locale". The click OK. In the dialog that pops up, choose the "Inuktitut Nunacom" keyboard layout (if this does not appear, you may need to reboot, then come back to this point). Windows XP users, click "Keyboard layout/IME" and choose the "Inuktitut Nunacom" keyboard layout. Whoever you are, "OK" your way out of the control panel.
Step 5: Enable Inuktitut keyboard
In or next to the system tray to the bottom right of your monitor you should now have an indicator with "EN" on it (EN for English, since it is probably your computer's default language). Click this icon and it should pop up indicating your current keyboard as well as at least one other option - IN for Inuktitut keyboard layout. Choose IN. Alternately you could press down the left Alt + Shift keys at the same time to switch between keyboards. Then all you have to do is activate the Caps Lock key (to the left of the A key) and suddenly your typing syllabics, Piginariq style. And remember, Pigiarniq isn't just for syllabics - it can also be used to represent letters A through Z when Caps Lock is not active. Try it: Caps Lock - syllabics, Caps Lock Off - letters.

Inuktitut keyboard layout

Inuktitut keyboard layout

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but nothing beats actually having syllabics stickers on your keyboard. Please contact Community Services Librarian, Sue Macisaac () for information on obtaining sets of Inuktitut syllabics keyboard stickers.

Pigiarniq for Macintosh computers

For OS 9 and lower, visit http://www.nunatsiaq.com/download.html. For OS X users, follow instructions below.

Step 1: Install Pigiarniq
Download Pigiarniq here. Unzip (extract) the font files contained therein to your desktop and then transfer them to the Mac's central font directory, /Library/Fonts/.
Step 2: Add Inuktitut keyboard
Load System Preferences under the Apple (at the top left hand corner of the screen), then select "International". Select "Input menu". Scroll through the keyboard layouts to ensure "Inuktitut – Nunavut" is checked. Exit "Internationl" and "System Preferences".
Step 3: Enable Inuktitut keyboard
There should now be an icon across the top of the monitor of a flag representing the current input menu - a Canadian flag for Canadian English or an American flag for US English. Click on the flag to switch to Inuktitut – Nunavut. Then all you have to do is activate the Caps Lock key (to the left of the A key) and suddenly your typing syllabics, Piginariq style. And remember, Pigiarniq isn't just for syllabics - it can also be used to represent letters A through Z when Caps Lock is not active. Try it: Caps Lock - syllabics, Caps Lock Off - letters.