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Advanced topics on Computing in Greek

This page is intended to cover advanced topics in using Greek fonts. It is not intended for novice users, AOL users, WebTV users, or people with no programming background. It is heavily UniX-oriented, primarily because the topics addressed have emerged during the past 3 years of developing HR-Net and the HR-Net custom news archiving and distribution system - on a UniX platform.

This page is not "supported". We invite contributions, corrections and discussions with sysadmins of Greek systems or systems that use Greek fonts, but cannot promise to help solve a problem, develop new code, or modify our existing code to suit third-party needs. Please direct all correspondence regarding these topics to the feedback form.

Warning: Anything on this page may be in error. It may not work. It may be incompatible with the RFC's. (Don't know what an RFC is? You're looking at the wrong page, try!) We'll be happy to correct any mistakes you identify, but we offer no guarantees that anything here actually works.

Character Tables

ISO-8859-7 character set
Codepage 437 character set
Unicode 2.0: Greek Block U+0370-U+03FF
Unicode 2.0: Greek Extended U+1F00-U+1FFF

Code Grab-bag
A CGI script in Perl, which uses webcopy to get a given WWW page, and applies a filter to convert from ISO-8859-7 to ASCII Greek before returning the page to the user. Useful for occasional accessing of Greek pages from a machine that does not have Greek fonts installed. In public use on HR-Net:
A Perl script which converts Base64 and Quoted-Printable encoded messages, sections of messages or attachments to 8-bit-clean. Used as a pre-filter to a conversion from ISO-8859-7 to ASCII which facilitates "twin-lists".
Perl filter for converting ISO-8859-7 to ASCII Greek according to an ad-hoc conversion table The ad-hoc definition of the ASCII Greek created by is indicated by "Latin:".
A similar conversion as the previous one, only the output looks as if you typed in Greek text without using a Greek keyboard driver. e.g., the Greek word for "good morning" converts to "kalhm;era". We have used it from within an editor such as vi as in:
to convert a single line.
The exact opposite of the previous filter. If you lack a Greek keyboard driver, you can type in the text pretending you are using one. e.g., you type:
O ;hliow anat;elei ap;o thn anatol;h
Then, you pass the text through this filter and generate an ELOT 928 text.
An extended version of, this script tries to cover multiple versions of ASCII Greek, as they might appear in email distribution lists where discussion is principally in ASCII Greek.
Note: This program does not currently handle accents.
Perl filter for converting antiquated Codepage 437 Greek to ISO-8859-7 according to an ad-hoc definition of Codepage 437.
Ever create an HTML file using an HTML editor (we don't actually use these contraptions, but a lot of stuff that comes our way has been produced using them) only to find it full of cryptic, illegible and sometimes flat out wrong & encoding, such as ê, ġ or even Ώ? The first and second examples occur when your editor does not know that you want the output to be 8-bit ISO-8859-7. These encoding errors are particularly heinous, since they multiply the size of a regular HTML file by a factor of 4 or 5. The second case is actually valid (it's really Unicode encoding) but since all our other tools are ISO-8859-7, we'll hold off on the switch until this becomes more prevalent [*]. clears up all the junk, reverting your file to nice, clean, 8-bit ISO-8859-7. Warning: This code has not really been tested. If you see anything missing, please write us.
mactrans or better yet: trans
On a Macintosh, you might be using what looks like an ELOT 928 font, yet, when it comes to converting to HTML code, nothing looks right. The Mac has its own standards. To convert to PC or Unix standards, after the text has reached its final platform and is illegible, use this variant of tr to fix it.
Use this package to translate Greek Word documents written in Mac format to rtf documents in PC format. Follow the instructions that come with the package.
Some mailers cannot handle 8-bit messages and don't do anything about it. The result is apparent loss of information and the recipient receives something like:
To je_lemo aut| dem ha ckit~sei. Wqei\fetai bo^heia ap| to HR-Net cia ma diabaste_.
Use this variant of tr to recover parts of the text that were originally 8-bit characters of ELOT 928. There is no way for the program to know which parts were originally plain 7-bit characters, i.e., had the most significant bit low. This means that you have to separate the message headers as well as any parts of the damaged message that you can already read before trying to recover the original. Thus, the above example becomes:
Το κείμενο αυτό δεν θα γλιτώσει. Χρειάζεται βοήθεια από το ΘR-Ξετ για να διαβαστεί.
Visual Basic routines for converting various types of files to different Greek encodings, thanks to Panagiotis Louridas. Available also in zip format.


Twin lists is an approach to Greek mailing lists, proposed by HR-Net and used for some supported lists, as well as our internal communications. The principle is simple: Create two lists, one with users that can read Greek, and one with users that cannot. The second list is a member of the first one, but receives its messages after any Greek content is converted from ISO-8859-7 to ASCII Greek.

If you are using Majordomo software, the member of the main list which represents the Greek-impaired list should be defined in /etc/aliases as

list-asc "|/path/|/path/|/path/wrapper resend..."

Both and are available for download. is used to convert all text and text attachments to 8-bit-clean, in order to allow to remain as simple and fast as possible.

Unicode: We are currently evaluating how it might be possible to switch the Greek internet community to using Unicode -- the inevitable, it seems, next step in internationalization.

First attempts at UTF-8 scripts
Converts ISO-8859-7 compliant text to UTF-8 Unicode. STRICT adherence to ISO-8859-7.
Converts Windows-1253 compliant text to UTF-8 Unicode. STRICT adherence to Windows-1253.
Converts UTF-8 Unicode to ISO-8859-7. Bad code, does not handle non-ISO-8859-7 Unicode Characters.
Converts UTF-8 Unicode to ISO-8859-7 using different character mapping. Very simple code, does not handle non-ISO-8859-7 Unicode Characters, maybe more.
Converts UTF-8 Unicode to Windows-1253. Bad code, does not handle non-Windows-1253 Unicode Characters.
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