To properly input (Hepburn) rōmaji, one should use a macron (ā, ē, ū, ī, ō) to indicate long vowels. Since those letters are not usually found on any keyboard, it'd be nice if they were part of the toolbar above the question edit field so they can be inserted with a single click or at least copy-paste.


3 Answers 3


Sounds reasonable. Here are two additional suggestions:

  • Maybe the buttons should be arranged either in Japanese order (ā, ī, ū, ē, ō) or in English order (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū).
  • It will be nice if pressing those buttons with Shift key inserts the uppercase counterparts (Ā, Ī, Ū, Ē, Ō).
  • Apologies for mixing up the order while copy-pasting them in, a-e-u-i-o is rather random… ^_^;;
    – deceze
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 10:56

An integrated solution inside StackExchange would be swell, but until then, there are a few other solutions you could use:

  1. ALT-codes.
  2. A custom keyboard layout.
  3. A software that lets you create keyboard layouts yourself such as KbdEdit, Keyboard Layout Manager, or Keyman Desktop. If you don't want to pay anything, Microsoft has its own Keyboard Layout Creator which offers basic, but sufficient functionality.

Following Boaz’s nice answer, here is another way which you may be able to use.

If you use a Japanese IME (a computer program used to enter Japanese text), you may be able to use also for these rōmaji symbols. At least in Microsoft Office IME 2010 (for Japanese text), if you enter Shift+A and try to convert it to kanji, it shows a candidate labeled “記号…,” which expands to various symbols including ā and Ā.

If your keyboard does not have a 変換 key, it might be tricky to “try to convert it to kanji” because the Space key simply enters a space character after an alphabet letter by default. I cleared the checkbox “英数モードでは Space キーでスペースを入力する” in the property to make the Space key always try to convert text to kanji (see e.g. the steps with screenshorts on the support website of Panasonic), but the precise setting for this may depend on the program and the version of your IME.

  • 1
    Oh, nice, hadn't noticed this before. OS X' Kotoeri offers an ō as normal conversion alternative among kanji for おう. It's still quite a tedious process that could be much improved with some help from the Stack team.
    – deceze
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 22:28
  • 1
    Actually, disregard that. I may have simply trained the dictionary to do that before and forgotten about it. Dictionary training is a good alternative then, though.
    – deceze
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 1:19
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    It's probably only there in Office IME 2010, since I don't have a "ā" in IME 2007. I do have other types of 'a' with diacritics though.
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 13:50

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