Solved: Trouble forming multi-key IPA symbols in Excel



I’m making a spreadsheet that includes some IPA symbols, and I’m having trouble forming some of the multi-keystroke symbols. For example, g< and t= . I’ve found two work-arounds that might help others, and would welcome a more proper solution.

First, it seems that Excel is causing the problem, because if I go to Microsoft’s Notepad, the symbols form correctly. So, that is the first work-around. Form your symbol in Notepad, and copy and paste it into your spreadsheet.

The second work-around is, in Excel, hold down the first key of the multi-key sequence, (like the g of g< ), until it starts to auto-repeat, and then without letting up on that key, hit the second key. You’ll get the symbol you want, and can delete that string of unwanted repeats in front of it.

But, if there’s a better way, I’d like to hear it.

Windows 10
Excel 2016
Keyman Desktop 10.0.1093.0
SIL IPA Unicode 1.1.1


@Barry, I’m not sure from what you are writing if this is an issue just with the first letter in a cell? If so, then pressing F2 to start editing the cell before typing works for me.

There is another issue with Excel in that pressing Backspace deletes a whole cluster (for Indic scripts) rather than a single character, but that’s a separate issue that I don’t think will impact your usage with IPA.


@Marc_Keyman, Yes, the problem happened only when the first character of the multi-key sequence was the first thing I typed in the cell. Your suggestion of hitting F2 before typing works great, thanks.

Working from your suggestion, I found:

When the cell is in Ready mode, (mode indicator in the lower left of the Excel screen), is the only time a multi-key sequence does not work. That’s when you’ve selected the cell, but haven’t typed anything yet, or hit F2.

When the cell is in Enter mode, (as when you’ve started typing in the cell), the multi-key sequence works.

When the cell is in Edit mode, (when you’ve hit F2), it works.

Thank you. This thread can be marked Done, as far as I’m concerned.