Fonts for Typing Russian

Many common fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Comic Sans, Palatinto and many more include basic Cyrillic characters. The way to see these characters is to activate a Russian keyboard utility (see the next section for details).

Additional Russian fonts can be purchased or downloaded, but it’s important that the fonts be properly encoded fonts.

Typing Russian

Keyboards: Native vs. Transliterated Layout

Russian keyboards utilities allow users to type Cyrillic letters on their computers. These utilities come with two main layout option types. One is the native layout which is similar to a Cyrillic typewritier from Russia.

The other is a transliterated (or phonetic/QWERTY) layout in which Cyrillic letters are mapped to the closest English keyboard counterpart. For instance typing Latin D would result in Cyrillic Д, S would be Cyrillic "С (Similar shape to capital C), Latin R would be Cyrillic Р (similar to Greek Ρ) and Latin "P" would be Cyrillic П (similar to Greek Π). This layout is often preferred by English speakers because it is easier to remember the position of the letters.

Basic Instructions (Windows and Mac)


Note: For learners in Windows 10, the Russian Mnemonic keyboard is recommended.


Note: For learners, the Russian-Phonetic option is recommended.

Transliterated Keyboards

Window 10 and 8

Windows 8 and 10 include a Russian Mnemonic option which is a transliterated keyboard.

Windows 7 and lower

Earlier versions only included native layouts, but users can download phonetic keyboard utilities in their place.

External Windows Transliterated Keyboard Downloads


On the Mac, the Russian Phonetic or Bulgarian Phonetic keyboards are available to activate. See Macintosh Keyboard instructions for details on accessing and using these utilities.


Test Sites

If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web sites below should display the correct characters. If you have difficulties, see list below for font and browser configuration instructions.

If these sites are not displaying correctly, see the Browser Setup page for debugging information.

Web Development and Language Codes

This section presents information specific to Russian. For general information about developing non-English Web sites, see the Encoding Tutorial or the Web Layout sections.

Historical Encodings

Unicode (utf-8) is the preferred encoding for Web sites. However, the following historic encodings may still be encountered.

  • win-1251
  • koi-8

Language Tags

Language Tags allow browsers and other software to process Russian text more efficiently.

Language Code: ru

Using Unicode Escape Characters

In most cases it is better to type content with the Russian keyboard utilities, but if you wish to input a word or short phrase, you can use Unicode entity codes.

the Cyrillic Unicode Block Codes page for details.



Russian Keyboards

Transliterated Windows Keyboards


Older Windows

These pages mostly talk about older technology, but still have useful information.


Web Development Tips

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