Inserting Stress Marks into Cyrillic

There are two strategies for doing stress (accent) marks in Russian Cyrillic.


Method 1 (Vremya Accent)

Llimited to Times New Roman (or very similar-looking fonts) uses a special font that contains accented vowels but which in every other way resembles a standard serifed "Times" family font. Main advantage: Russian spell checkers accept accented characters. That's because the accented word being checked is spelled the same as its non-accented counterpart. Only the font changes. Main disadvantage: "Times" (Times new Roman, Times, etc.) font family only. Another slight disadvantage: the accented characters look ugly on the screen – but they print very nicely. Finally, other computer users can read documents containing VremyaAccent marks only if they have this font installed on their computers.


Method 2 (Native Stress Marks)

Inserts "real" stress marks directly over the vowel itself. It works with almost any font. Main advantage: Accents work with almost any font in Windows. You can accent any letter in any alphabet – great for those situations where you really need an accented "j". Then too, documents that use this method can be read on any Windows computer. You don't need special fonts. Main disadvantages: (1) Spellcheckers reject stressed words as misspelled. So xaoc 'chaos' is accepted as correct but it's accented counterpart xaoc is seen as a misspelling. That's because the accented version is really read as something  akin to xa’oc. (2) Sometimes the accents come out misplaced - not quite over the center of the vowel in question - or sometimes too high or too low. This can be adjusted through Format, Font, Spacing, Position. But these adjustments can be tricky.
Finally, in order to make either method work effortlessly, you have to be working in a program that allows macros, such as Word or Excel.

You can combine both methods. For example, you can use the VremyaAccent method for serifed text which you want to spell-check and then add accent marks to Helvetica text, for which you will have to forgo spellchecking.


How to Insert Stress Marks

Both methods require several steps to set up. But once you're done, everything works easily. The following description installs both methods onto your computer.

1. Download and install the VremyaAccent fonts and the Word macro installer. (Right-click and save as...) There are four fonts (vremya1.ttf, vremya2.ttf, vremya3.ttf, and vremya1.ttf) – all packaged into an accent installer zip file. The zip file also contains the Word macro installer. Download this file to any folder on your computer. Then unzip the fonts (but not the macro installer) to c:\windows\fonts\ folder.

2. Unzip the macro installer (stressmark-installer.doc) to any directory where you keep Word files.

3. Open the macro installer (stressmark-installer.doc) in Word. Word (and perhaps additional anti-virus add-on programs such as Norton and Zone Alarm) are likely to try to deny you access to this file or the macros in it. You may have to temporarily reset the security level on these program to Low for these operations. Or it may be that the program will warn you about the dangers of macros and then let you open them anyway if you choose.

4. With stressmark-installer.doc on the screen, go to Tools, Macro, Macros, Organizer. That will produce a menu:

Screenshot of a menu showing Organizer with tab Macro Project Items tab open

5. As shown, highlight the two macros in "Document 1" (cyraccent and VremyaAccent) and copy them to "".

6. Assign each macro to a shortcut key. In this example, I assign VremyaAccent to the Ctrl-q key. In Word, go to Tools, Customize. That will produce the screen shown at the left. Immediately hit "Keyboard. "You will now see the "Customize Keyboard" screen. Scroll down the categories list. Highlight the macro you want to add a keyboard shortcut to (in this case, Normal.Vremya.Accent.main). Now place the cursor in "Press New Shortcut key" and press the keystroke you want (in this example, I hold down the Ctrl key and press "q". You'll see the dialog box confirm your choice. Now press "Assign." Then press close.

7. To use the macro type a few words in Russian. For example, type xaoc. Then place the cursor immediate after the a and press Ctrl-q. The accent mark will appear over the a. When you use VremyaAccent, the actual letter a will look fat and ugly on the screen, but it will print normally.

8. Tip for working with Method 2 (Native Stress Marks): Let Word use its native accent marks for all non-exclusive Cyrillic characters (а, е, o, y) and save the CyrAccent stresses for the exclusively Cyrillic characters. It will make your text look neater both on screen and in print. To access Word's native accented characters for a, e, o, y, type ctrl ' (ctrl + apostrophe) before you type the vowel you want to accent.