Enter mono- and polytonic Greek

Polytonic Greek uses complex characters such as ᾄ and ᾓ, and because of InDesign's poor support of entering any characters not present on the keyboard, typing polytonic Greek in a document is a challenge. When you type a lot of polytonic Greek it would be best to use a dedicated keyboard and mark your keyboard with some stickers. For occasional use you can use InDesign's Glyphs panel, but since there are quite a few Ancient Greek characters, that's not the quickest method: you need to scan a panel with many characters (even if you filter the Glyphs panel to show just Greek, there are still many characters). Besides, it's a mouse-only operation and many people (including me) want solutions that allow them to keep their hands at the keyboard.

The script shown on this page allows you to enter complex Greek characters by composing them in a separate panel, using a system of mnemonic keys (a similar approach is used in the Compose script, see here).


The script displays this panel:

[Compose Classical Greek characters in CS6]

The larger panel is used as a preview of the character that you compose. You compose the Greek character by entering characters in the entry field at the bottom left, which is activated when the script starts. The two ? buttons show which keys to use. You'll see, for example, that typing a shows the alpha.

To add a diacritic to a letter, type its conventional key: open quote for lenis (῾), close quote for asper (᾽), comma for iota subscript (ι), / for acute (΄) and \ for grave. While you're entering keyboard characters the Greek character is composed in the preview panel:

[Compose Classical Greek characters (CS6)] [Compose Classical Greek characters (CS6)] [Compose Classical Greek characters (CS6)] [Compose Classical Greek characters (CS6)]

The order in which you enter the diacritics is not important, but you must always enter the base letter first, then any diacritics.

To insert the composed character in the text, press Enter/Return.

The display typeface

For the preview, the script uses the typeface active at the insertion point, ignoring any styles such as italics and bold, so it always uses the regular style of the typeface.

The CC display problem

The display in the above screenshots you'll see only in InDesign CS6 and earlier. Unfortunately, in CC it's no longer possible to change the type size of the type used in InDesign's scripted dialogs and panels. In CC and later, therefore, the preview (if you can call it that) looks as follows:

[Compose Classical Greek characters (CC)]

which, of course, is not particularly useful.

Version history

March 2015: posted.

Useful script? Saved you lots of time?

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