Korean on Computers

Genealogists studying Korean records frequently need to use Korean HanGul and HanJa characters on computers. While it is possible to use printed dictionaries, there are so many online resources that the ability to use Korean on a computer is almost essential.

The ability to read Korean HanGul and HanJa characters on computers with English operating systems is generally not difficult. Both Windows and Mac computers have free options that enable viewing Korean fonts. A Korean keyboard is also not required to write Korean HanGul and HanJa characters. There are free Korean input methods available for most versions of popular operating systems that don’t require a Korean keyboard.


Korean on Windows Computers

Text and video instructions for enabling Korean on Windows 7 are found at the following web address:


Installing the Korean input method enables the following language tool bars (shown maximized and minimized below):




You can click on the “가 Han/Eng” button to switch input methods between Korean and English. You can use a Korean keyboard or buy a pack of stickers with Korean characters on them to put on your keyboard. If you prefer not to learn to type in Korean, you can also use an on-screen keyboard by clicking on the “Soft Keyboard” icon. The following keyboard images (with and without “Shift” enabled) are shown on the screen and can be clicked with a mouse to enter HanGul characters without using a physical keyboard.
k1 k2

Typing (or mouse-clicking) compound vowels requires typing more than one key in cases where the compound vowel does not have its own key. The following table shows what to type to enter compound vowels that don’t have their own keyboard key:

Table 1.24: How to Type Compound Vowels


Keys to Type
(1st key, 2nd key)








A third option for typing HanGul characters also works for HanJa characters. Clicking the IME Pad button brings up a HandWriting window where HanGul or HanJa characters can be drawn with a mouse or drawing pad. The character is drawn on the left, then the computer brings up the most likely candidates on the right. Click on the correct character on the right. Note that you should use proper stroke direction and order to facilitate accurate automated recognition.



Korean on Mac OS X

Free Korean input methods can be enabled on OS X by following the instructions found at this web address:


A language icon is placed in the upper right-hand corner of the desktop which can be used to access the following menu. The input language can be selected using this menu:


You can type Korean using a keyboard. If you don’t have a Korean keyboard you can place stickers on the keys that show the Korean HanGul characters. You can also use the mouse and click an on-screen keyboard. Selecting the Korean language and “Show Keyboard Viewer” will display the following keyboard on the screen, shown with and without the shift key pressed below:



You can type a HanGul syllable and convert it into a HanJa character. Do this by first typing the HanGul syllable, pressing option-return, then selecting the desired HanJa character from the menu that appears:



Korean on the Internet

Regardless of what operating system you use, there are internet based methods to enter Korean characters into a computer.    For example, you can use the following site to draw a HanJa character or type a HanGul syllable to find its definitions in Korean or learn the correct stroke order to draw the HanJa character.



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