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Typing Pronunciations of Words

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Typing Pronunciations of Words.

When Roger looks at the pronunciation of words in a dictionary, he sees marks over letters to show which sounds are long or short. He wonders how to type out these types of characters to show pronunciation within his documents.

Those marks are collectively called diacritical marks. Each individual mark has a name, as well. For instance, the mark to indicate a long-sounding vowel is called a macron mark and the one to indicate a short-sounding vowel is called a breve mark. Besides being used to indicate how vowels should sound, marks can also be used to show emphasis and break up syllables.

The easiest way to insert diacritical marks is to use the Symbol dialog box. You display this dialog box by choosing Symbol from the Insert menu. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Symbol dialog box.

Once you have the Symbol dialog box displayed, you may need to search around for the characters you want, but for most fonts they are all there. If you find that there are some symbols that you use quite a bit, you can click the Shortcut Key button in the Symbol dialog box and specify a shortcut key to enter the character. You could, if you prefer, also create a macro to insert them.

If you want to know more about the Symbol dialog box and how to use it, one great resource is at the Word MVP site:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3814) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Typing Pronunciations of Words.

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Comments for this tip:

David Leung    25 Jan 2014, 09:38
Is there a software (a wave file of words?) available that I can select the pronunciation of a particular word and insert it into a MS Word document (like the sound functions found in digital dictionary)?

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