Chrome OS?

I have been using Keyman on Windows since it’s first version for writing in the International Phonetic Alphabet. I use it on Mac and once in a while on iOS and Android. I recently decided to try using a Chromebook for some of my work and really like it but have not found any good way of writing in phonetics. Is there any chance that Keyman might try making a Chrome add-in that would work like keyman? As more and more schools are using Chromebooks, it would be a great resource.

Hi Michael, we haven’t supported Chrome OS yet, but you may use Keyman web for now as it doesn’t require any installation. Here is the link to it:

Hi Makara,
I’ve looked at it but never used it because it adds so much time to writing. However, I just looked and cannot find IPA (preferably SIL-IPA) listed as a language on the site.

I can run Linux on the Chromebook but haven’t been able to successfully get Keyman for Linux to install.

Hope this link helps. It’s unfortunate but we have to use the undetermined language tag.,Keyboard_sil_ipa

wow…so, it’s undetermined/undetermined to find SIL-IPA. That’s certainly not an easy way to find it. Thank you for pointing that out, Lorna.

It works…but, boy, is it clunky.

The letters are really irregular and often end up on top of one another. If you need to backspace, one backspace pulls out about 3-4 characters. It does paste into a document looking OK though.

Thank you for pointing that out, Lorna.

Please try this link for the keyboard:,Keyboard_sil_ipa

And you can also find other option to install it on various platform here:

Yeah, we’re planning to improve this in the next release of Keyman. The list of languages has kinda grown out of control!

Could you give me a bit more detail on what you are experiencing here? It doesn’t sound like it’s working right…

FWIW, we don’t currently have the resources to build a version of Keyman for Chromebook. We are a 3 person development team (some of us part-time) and are supporting 5 different platforms already, as well as the Keyman Developer keyboard development tools. I have a Chromebook sitting on my desk but just no capacity to even open it up and experiment :frowning:

We want to do it! We just need the manpower or a volunteer :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for getting back to me. It’s helpful to know the background. I wish I had the developer capabilities; I’d be happy to do something like this. I’m really impressed that there are three of you handling five platforms.

I’m uploading a screenshot of SIL-IPA in the keymanweb interface and a screenshot of it in Word. I’m actually at work so I just did this in a Chrome browser.

The word version is in Calibri font which doesn’t look as good but you can see where there are some variations that are hard to read in the Keymanweb interface. Also, if I make a mistake and backspace to change one character, it actually takes out the previous four entries (characters or diacritic marks).

The Chromebook is great; you’ll enjoy it. I’ve tried installing the Linux version into the Linux that can be run on the Chromebook with no success. If I can figure that out, it would be great. The Ubuntu version goes through all the steps but has some errors and it never finds Keyman. I haven’t figured out how to execute the Debian one to try to install it.

It wouldn’t let me upload two files. Here is the screenshot with the same text in Word. It’s Calibri font which doesn’t kern as well.


If you wish to change the font in Chrome, you may use this extension.

One caveat is that the entire Chrome UI will be shown in the font you pick. You can revert it to default fairly easily though.

This might be a bug. I have filed an issue against the source, and you may keep track of it here:

We should make sure that the IPA keyboard has a sensible font applied, such as Charis SIL, in KeymanWeb. Makara, could you open an issue on that?

The issue is up here:

Thanks! That is a big help. Any idea why backspacing takes out four characters at a time?

I don’t have any idea off the top off my head why it would be deleting multiple characters at a time, but I have been able to reproduce the problem so we will chase it down.

It’s not keyman, but ChromeOS’s keyboard can be remapped.

See these links for clues:

Thanks @pwulfing :slight_smile: We’ll probably be using the same interfaces as the keyboards that you linked when we do come to implementation. It will most likely be a version of KeymanWeb.

The tricky bits will, as always, be in the implementation details and making it consistent with other platforms. Much of the ongoing time cost will likely be in deployment and maintenance.

Keyman is all open source: if anyone wants to take on a “fun” project and produce a proof of concept embedding of KeymanWeb into Chrome OS’s IME implementation, I would love to see it!

An update on the 4-character-deletion with KeymanWeb in IPA. I have tracked down the cause of the issue and have hopefully enough detail there now for @joshua_horton to tackle it when he returns from vacation.


I have been using Keyman on my Chromebook for some time. Most modern Chromebooks will run Android apps so I downloaded the Keyman app for Android and run that. There is an option to replace the system keyboard with the Keyman keyboard. The Chromebook is really handy for testing a new keyboard.


Thank you, Lee. This is a very helpful comment. :slight_smile:

Just to add to this, we’ve tested in ChromeOS and using the Keyboards is possible in Tablet mode (My Chromebook OS 81 doesn't enable any keyboard apps (as gboard or swiftkey). I need for Welsh. - Chromebook Community) - we tested with the FirstVoices Keyboards. As soon as you switch back to a laptop, the option to use Keyboard Apps is greyed out.

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