How to Do the Okina in Microsoft Word


While the okina -- the symbol indicating a glottal stop in several Polynesian languages -- does have an official Unicode number and is thus available for inclusion in most fonts, many font designers overlook it anyway. Fortunately, the far more common "left single quotation mark" looks very much like the okina, and is often used as a substitute in electronic documents. You can train Microsoft Word to place one of these symbols -- depending on what's available in your font -- in your document when you press a certain key combination.

  • Access the Symbol dialog box. In Word 2007, do this by clicking the "Insert" tab, then "Symbol," then "More Symbols;" in earlier versions of Word, open the "Insert" menu and click "Symbol." The window that appears will contain a grid of special symbols and characters, and a drop-down menu from which you can select symbol categories.

  • Select "General Punctuation" from the "Subset" menu.

  • Enter "02BB" in the "Character Code" box. If the font you're using has an okina, it will appear highlighted in the symbol grid. If it doesn't, enter "2018" in the box instead. The selection in the grid should jump to "LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK," a character that in most fonts is extremely similar to the okina.

  • Click "Shortcut Key." When the dialog box appears, press the key combination you want to assign to the okina -- for example, you could hold down "ALT" and press the apostrophe. When you've set the combination you want, click "Assign," then "Close." Close the Symbol dialog too.

  • Press the key combination you set at any time while editing a document to insert an okina at the position of the cursor.

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