Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Typing Pronunciations of Words.

Typing Pronunciations of Words

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 27, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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 and the one to indicate a short-sounding vowel is called a breve. 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 displaying the Insert tab of the ribbon, clicking the Symbol tool in the Symbols group, and then clicking More Symbols. (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.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13170) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Typing Pronunciations of Words.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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