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These charts show basic characters only. Check the latest Unicode charts to look for any additions to this block. Thanks to Sarkis Baltayian for his technical assistance.

Page Content

  1. About the Armenian Script
  2. Activate Keyboards for Typing
  3. Browser and Font Recommendations
  4. Web Development
    1. Language Code: hy
  5. Armenian Unicode Chart (New Page)
  6. Links

About the Script

Armenian is an Indo-European language distantly related to Greek, Persian, English and Latin. The Armenian alphabet is an alphabet much like Greek and Russian. However, the language is classified into two major dialects – Eastern Armenian (modern Armenia/Irian) and Western Armenian (Turkey/many Armenian emigrants), and the pronunciation/spelling varies widely between the two dialects. The alphabet was developed ca. 404-406 AD by the Armenian cleric Mesrop Mashtots.

Note: Many emigrants who fled post WWI Turkey to the United States in the early 20th century probably spoke Western Armenian.

Unicode versus ARMSCII Encoding

Although most modern browsers support Unicode and the most recent operating systems include Armenian fonts, many older pages are not yet encoded in Unicode. Instead, they are in the older ARMSCII encoding which requires more specialized tools. See the the content below for more details.

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Activating Keyboards for Fonts

Basic Setup

In order to integrate foreign scripts into your computer, you must set up "keyboard" or input utilities in your operating system. These utilities will allow you to switch between typing English and other languages in word processors and Web tools. This process will also make sure the correct fonts are installed and available on your operating system.

See instructions for Setting up Keyboards for details.

Windows and Macintosh Phonetic Keyboards

Both Windows and Mac OS X (10.3 or later) offer a Western and Eastern phonetic or QWERTY keyboard so that typing in the English letters on the keyboard will generate the corresponding Armenian letter.

Note on Microsoft Office - If you experience problems with the Armenian keyboard in Word 2004, you can either download a third party font (see below) or download the free office suite Neo Office J.

Armenian Native Typewriter Keyboards for Windows

The Armenian keyboards from Microsoft are QWERTY or phonetic based. You can choose from Western or Eastern Armenian. A third party utilitiy for a keyboard mimicking an Armenian typewriter is available for Armunicode Org.

Unicode, Not ARMSCII

If these keyboards are used, the text will be encouded as Unicode by default. Older ARMSCII fonts may be needed to read older documents.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts by Platform

Note on OS X Mshtakan - This font is not visible in some applications like Word 2004. You can use a third party font (see below) or Neo Office J.

Additional freeware fonts can be downloaded from from the sites below. Note that not all these fonts may work on System 9 for Macintosh, but will work in Windows and OS X .

Recommended Browsers (Mozilla/Firefox)

For best results, use a browser which supports Unicode and a wide range of older encodings. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. You will be asked to match a script with a font.

Note on Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera - These browsers are usable as long as the site is in Unicode. If an older encoding is used, the page will not be readable, even if the fonts are set up correctly.

Note on System 9: Because Unicode support is incomplete in System 9, it may be beneficial to upgrade to OS X if you need to work with Unicode.

Unicode Armenian Test Site

Armenian House – This site should be readable in a Unicode compliant browser if the proper fonts are installed.

Manually Switch Encoding for ARMSCII

If you see Roman character gibberish instead of Armenian you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Armenian ARMSCII encoding under the View menu of your browser.

This can only be easily done on Firefox or Mozilla.

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Web Development

Armenian Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Inputting and Editing Text in an HTML Editor

One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.

Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.

Other Web Tools

For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.

Unicode Entity Codes

Armenian numeric Unicode entity codes can be used for small pieces of text when other methods to not work.

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Armenian Language

Armenian Unicode Fonts

Armenian Computing

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30-Jun-2015 15:54:16 EDT