Māori language week: The easy shortcut for creating macrons on your computer

young woman on computer
If you're trying to incorporate more Te Reo into everyday life, make sure you're nailing the basics. Photo credit: Getty.

Every year Te Wiki o te Reo Māori or Māori Language Week provides a great chance for New Zealanders to expand their knowledge and use of Te Reo in everyday life. 

A key element of Te Reo in written form is macron use. Macrons, the horizontal lines above certain vowels to indicate emphasis, can completely change the meaning of a word or sentence. 

Previously I've undertaken the laborious process of Googling the letter with "macron", and then copying and pasting the result into whichever document I'm writing - definitely not the most straightforward way of using Te Reo. 

It's led to me being somewhat slack with macron use in the past, which this year I'm determined to rectify. 

Luckily it turns out there is an easy way to install the Māori dictionary on your computer and then with a couple of quick keyboard shortcuts, macron use is a breeze. 

Just use the following easy steps outlined below:

Māori keyboard and language for Windows

  • In Windows 7, 8 and 10, most computers should include the Māori language update. In order to use Māori macrons in Windows, do the following:
  • Click the Language Bar in the bottom right of the screen near the clock, then choose 'Language Preferences'
  • Click 'Add a language' under the heading 'Preferred Languages'
  • Choose 'Te Reo Māori' from the list, and click 'install 
  • The language for your keyboard will now be set to the New Zealand English and Māori dictionary - just make sure it now says 'MRI' next to the clock
  • To create macrons easily, you can hold the ` key (normally the one left of the 1 key) and press the appropriate letter to place the macron (ie: ` and a will give you ā)
  • Use the Shift key in the middle of the sequence to make the letter a capital 

Māori language and keyboard for Mac

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose 'System Preferences'
  • Click 'Language & Region', then choose 'Keyboard Preferences' 
  • Click the + icon and find Māori in the list
  • Optionally, tick Show input menu in menu bar
  • To type a macronised vowel on a Mac, you simply hold down Alt / Option and then the vowel. You can also do this in conjunction with the Shift key to type an uppercase vowel.