HomeHieroglyphic typesettingHieroglyphic databasesOther hieroglyphic applications
Typesetting Arabic and CopticOther useful Egyptological applications

Working with hieroglyphs on a Mac—resources for Egyptologists


For an Egyptologist, it's not always easy if you don't use MS Windows. For typesetting hieroglyphs, everyone of your colleagues probably uses WinGlyph—but that's of course not an option for Macintosh users. Therefore, I've made a (certainly not complete) list of Macintosh compatible applications which can be useful for Egyptological work. Please note that I am not involved in any of these applications, so I might not be able to help you if you have some troubles.

Many of the applications mentioned here have not yet been tested by me, because I can’t buy and test every application, so these are not guaranteed to work… But I’ll try to test every free application.


The applications are divided in the following categories:

  1. Hieroglyphic typesetting: solutions for typesetting hieroglyphs, ranging from web-based forms to simple TrueType fonts and complex typesetting environments.
  2. Hieroglyphic databases: applications for viewing and editing hieroglyphic texts and/or transliterations/translations. These are not primarily intended for printing or integration in other documents (e.g. articles or books), therefore see the previous category. The database applications are mostly used for easily exchanging hieroglyphic texts/transliterations/translations for translating purposes.
  3. Other hieroglyphic applications: some other applications for working with hieroglyphs that do not fit in the first two categories, but are also worth to mention.
  4. Typesetting Arabic and Coptic: you might encounter these languages too during Egyptological work, but here are also a couple of solutions available, some are very easy to use, others not but are extremely powerful.
  5. Other useful Egyptological applications: some other applications which can be useful for Egyptological work.

The different applications are all shortly described: their capacities, their strong and weak points (in my opinion of course) and their price (freeware, shareware or commercial). I’ve also given them a rating from 1 to 5 stars: this is of course very subjective, so don’t blame me for having another opinion about a particular application… If I haven’t tested the application, the rating is based upon the specifications I read and is placed between parentheses.

For further information you'd better visit the website of the application's developers. For some applications, I've included detailed installation instructions, because their installation is not explained on the developer's website or because I seem to be the first who has successfully run the application on Mac OS X ;-) Most applications mentioned here only work on Mac OS X—OS 9 or previous support is only sometimes available. Note that I use ‘OS 9’ for every version of Mac OS prior to X. Sometimes these application will also be available for OS 8.6 or even 6.0.7.

I hope this website will be very helpful for you. If you have any further questions or comments about the installation or this web page, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Filip Vervloesem
Former student Egyptology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)

Last updates:

This are the last updates on this website:

  • 16-03-2008: final update for this site: I've set up a new webpage with updated installation instructions for HieroTeX (using MacTeX, this works on Mac OS X 10.3-10.5, both on PowerPC- and Intel-Macs). I won't update this website in the future (really, this time I'm serious) and since I'm not using Mac OS X as my primary operating system, I most likely cannot help you if you encounter problems when trying to install one of the applications listed on this website (except HieroTeX of course)!
    However, I will keep this website online for a while, since the information on it still might be useful for some people.
  • 23-02-2007: ok, this really should be the last update: the installation instructions for HieroTeX didn't quite seem to work on Mac OS X 10.4 if you've installed LaTeX using TeXShop/TeXLive, but now they should work!
  • 24-11-06: this is the last update for this website (but it will stay online), because I'm now using Linux as my primary operating system instead of Mac OS X. (If you happen to use Linux too, check out my new website about Linux-compatible applications for egyptologists, it's coming soon...).
    I've never tested any of the applications listed here on the new Intel Macs, nor will I test them with Mac OS X releases newer than Tiger (10.4). If you encounter any problems while installing any application listed here, I cannot guarantee that I can help you (although I can try)... Anyway, these are the changes with this update: updated manual installation instructions for HieroTeX (installation is different for OS X 10.4!) and for the Copte LaTeX-package.
  • 30-08-05: added section Egyptianized Latin Fonts, some minor improvements on the installation instructions for TkSesh.
  • 25-05-05: corrected some minor errors in the installation instructions for HieroTex for better compatibility with non-Fink Tex-installations, although it's not working (yet) as it should with TeXLive (people reported me they still have problems with the PostScript-fonts)…
  • 02-05-05: added compiled version of res2image 0.2.3.
  • 24-03-05: added detailed installation instructions for ArabTex.
  • 08-03-05: updated installer for HieroTex, with the possibility to copy all diagnostic messages of the installation process, better documentation and support for another type of Latex-installation: TeXShop/TeXLive-teTeX (in addition to tetex/Fink).
  • 03-03-05: new version of the HieroTex-installer, which solves many errors (in fact, I believe this is the first version that just *works* – at least I hope so :-))

©2006 F. Vervloesem.