4.5 Using KeyMan

When using language documentation software like SayMore or even just typing examples in a Word document in order to share your findings, you may need to type special characters not found on your keyboard. If you only need to include a few symbols, you can go to ipa.typeit.org to insert symbols as needed. However, if you have to type a lot of special characters, you will want to download software that lets you use combinations of keystrokes to insert symbols more quickly. Keyman is one keyboard program that works well with FLEx and SayMore; and it can be used with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

Installing and Configuring Keyman

Here are some simple steps to installing and using Keyman.

  1. Download Keyman from https://keyman.com/desktop/download.php.
  2. Follow directions for installation. When the installation is complete, click Start Keyman.

screenshot of the Keyman home screen


Configuring Keyman

You will see an icon on the bottom right-hand side of your taskbar that looks like a raised keyboard key. (If you don’t see this icon, type Keyman in your search bar to open.)

keyman icon

  1. Click on that icon and select Configuration to enter setup.
  2. Click Download Keyboard at the bottom left of the window. Browse popular keyboards or use the Search function to select the keyboard you are looking for (such as an IPA or Devanagari keyboard). Then, click Install and follow the prompts to install the keyboard.

screenshot of keyboards in Keyman


  1. Once you have installed the keyboard(s) you need, make sure those you wish to use have a check in the box next to them. 
  2. To review the keystrokes used for a certain keyboard, select the keyboard, then click the question mark (?) icon in the top right to bring up keystroke shortcuts and other helpful information.
  3. After you close this prompt, clicking on the program icon in the taskbar will now bring up a list of installed keyboards for you to chose from. 


screenshot of languages installed in Keyman

Using Keyman

Once you have selected the appropriate keyboard, you will be able to type using special characters. For example, to get a schwa in one IPA keyboard, you type the letter <e> and then hold down the control key and the # key. When you do this many times, your brain will automatically connect schwa with that sequence of keystrokes and you’ll be typing special characters quickly.

A full tutorial can be found here: https://help.keyman.com/products/desktop/current-version/docs/start_tutorial.

You can also find additional characters for IPA in the following guide by Alan Bickford: https://help.keyman.com/keyboard/bu/2006-05-18/bu