In order to be able to read and write hieroglyphics with your computer it is necessary to have a hieroglyphic font installed on your computer. A suitable Windows™ font has been located at Dr. Berlin's Foreign Font Archive. There is no charge to download the font and it is assumed that it is freeware or public domain. The font is designated as Gardiner or GARD, apparently because it's organization is correlated with the Gardiner system, including code numbers. This font and the sign tables which come with it can facilitate understanding of hieroglyphics if used in connection with the reference materials in the book Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs by Alan Gardiner, and various other books which include the Gardiner codes. There are also many web sites which contain helpful information, including Terry's Egyptian Page.
The GARD font includes five sets or font files (A-E, F-M, M-S, S-Z, unassigned) presumably because it takes that many font sets to contain the hieroglyphic characters. This five set font has been unzipped and listed below in the left column so that each set can be individually downloaded from here. To download the font just left-click on each of the font files listed below. Note the folder to which the font is downloaded and use the control panel font function to install each of the font sets. All five ttf font files must be downloaded and installed. The whole process can be done in less than five minutes.
Once the entire font is installed you will be able to read anything written with any of the sets. You will also be able to use the font to write hieroglyphics. Use the sign tables to select the symbol to be typed. It is necessary to change the font to the correct set whenever the symbol to be typed is in a different set. Then press and hold down the Alt key while you use the number pad to enter the Alt key number (#) given on the table. Additional writing instructions are given below.
The sign tables are listed in three formats, htm, doc, and pdf. Each format contains the same information. To download any of the sign tables, right-click on the link below, then left-click on Save Target As, choose the download folder, and proceed. If you want to use the htm or doc files, you can download the ones you want and use your word processor to display or print as needed. To see it all on one page select view, and then display as print layout. Each font set should print on one page in five columns. If you choose to print direct from the htm on the web, each font set will probably print as one column on five pages. If you want to read and print (not write) pdf documents you need to use the Adobe Acrobat Reader™.
Font Files HTM Sign Tables DOC Sign Tables PDF Sign Tables
In order to write hieroglyphics it is sometimes necessary to combine font symbols with one on top of another. This can be done with various page layout programs, such as Macromedia FreeHand™, Serif PagePlus™, Adobe PageMaker™, and MS Publisher™. For these hieroglyphics to display correctly on the web it will probably be necessary to convert them to graphic or pdf files.
It is also possible to combine font symbols with one on top of another using MS Word™. Using Word 2000 you must first select tools, options, general, web options, and then make sure the box which says "disable features not supported by" is unchecked, and select OK. Then set the font size to 26 and type the two symbols with the one that is to go on top placed second. Then block the second symbol and select format, font, character spacing, position, raised, and set at 10 to 15 points. Then block the first symbol and select format, font, character spacing, condensed, and set at about 25 points. Remember that these features are not supported by the web, which means that characters will not remain on top when viewed via web browsers using standard html. However, you may be able to get them to display correctly on the web by using the Alt+PrintScreen capture function to convert them to a graphic.
If you want to read or write the letters and words which are the modern transliteration of ancient hieroglyphic symbols it is also necessary to have an Egyptian transliteration font installed on your computer. A satisfactory version of this font has been located at CCER. This Windows™ font has been unzipped and listed below so that it can be downloaded and installed the same as those above. Some instructions on how to use this font, and many other helpful things, are available at various web sites including Terry's Egyptian Page.