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JSesh: ATutorial for the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor Part 4

JSesh Tutorial Part 4In Part 3 of our tutorial series, I reproduced the hieroglyphs found in a cartouche, went through a few diiferent steps that were  to help you search for unknown hieroglyphs (Another method is the Aaou Dictionary App!), but did not organize them.

In this part of the tutorial, I will expand on Part 3 by showing you different methods for arranging individual hieroglyphs JSesh.

Basic Grouping

For the beginner, the basic commands will fulfill all your arrangement needs.

There are only 4 symbols that you need to know, and they each serve a separate grouping function. Below is a list of the symbols and their respective function.


: – Places the glyph below the previous glyph or glyph group.

* – Groups glyphs side-by-side

& – Groups glyphs together in the most appropriate blank space around a glyph.

( ) – Glyphs in parentheses can be arranged as one entity.


Lets see how these symbols in action by using the Manuel de Codage we created in the last part.

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Aaou Hieroglyphic Dictionary App: A Smart Alternative to Faulkner’s Middle Egyptian Dictionary

Aaou Egyptian Hieroglyph Dictionary App

Price: $9.99 in the App Store.

I stumbled across this app after I bought an iPhone in late 2009, and it has proved to be incredibly useful when I either can’t find a word in Faulkner’s Middle Egyptian Dictionary, or forgot the book at home.

What is the Aaou app all about?

Aaou is an Egyptian hieroglyph dictionary app created by Jean-Francois Dumon for the iPhone, iPod touch, and the Ipad.

The current version comes with over 21,000 words and is packed with a ton of features.

 The main features can be found below:

  • Aaou Main ScreenHieroglyphic dictionary, searchable through transliteration, sign filtering, or English.
  • Manuel de Codage displayed next to the word,allowing for easy reproduction in JSesh.
  • Gardiner sign list
  • Ability to filter signs depending on their shape.
  • Index of uniliterals, biliterals, and triliterals.

A quick walkthrough of Aaou

Let’s say you came across a word that you don’t recognize. You don’t even know what the first sign is, so you can’t look it up in Faulkner’s Dictionary. You’re basically stuck.

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JSesh: A Tutorial for the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor – Part 3

JSesh Tutorial Part 3In part 2 of our JSesh tutorial series, I covered how to create hieroglyphs using the Manuel de Codage. This is the method I prefer to use, since it is much more efficient than using the hieroglyphic palette.

In this part, I will show you how to find hieroglyphs you aren’t familiar with using the search utility in the hieroglyphic palette, and also how to arrange individual hieroglyphs in order to achieve the results you want.

Edit: Due to the length of this article, we will cover arrangement in the next part.

Pick what you want to reproduce.

So, before you begin you should probably have an idea of what you want to create. In this tutorial I’ll be using the inscription that was featured in Translate it! #1.

This example is the cartouche of Amenemhat. It’s fairly short, but may be difficult to reproduce if you’re new to JSesh.

Search for unknown hieroglyphs.

Most of these signs should be fairly familiar to you, since they are a part of the Alphabet (uniliterals). If you are having trouble identifying them now, you might want to check out Lesson 1, where uniliterals are discussed in more detail.

Two of the signs may be unfamiliar, Hieroglyph biliteral for mn and Forepart of Lion - HAt. If you can’t figure out what these hieroglyphs are, don’t worry. There are a few different methods for finding them, either through JSesh’s hieroglyphic palette or a separate sign list.

Let’s use the palette in order to find the Forepart of Lion - HAt glyph.

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JSesh: A Tutorial for the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor – Part 2

JSesh Tutorial Part 2In part 1 of this JSesh Tutorial series, I introduced you to the the Hieroglyphic editor, JSesh, and its most basic method for creating hieroglyphs. This method uses the Hieroglyphic palette, a useful tool in searching for specific types of hieroglyphs.

This method does not require previous knowledge of hieroglyphs, so it is the easiest method for beginners to use. Although it is easy to use, it is very time consuming.

In this part, I will introduce you to an alternate method to create hieroglyphs. This method uses the Manuel de Codage or Gardiner numbers in order to achieve the same result, only much more efficiently.

What is the Manuel de Codage?

As you have most likely noticed, sometimes the letters we use to transliterate Egyptian hieroglyphs have strange markings on them ( š, etc.). These markings are called diacritical marks, and change the sound value of the letter.

With the increased use of computers, Egyptologists needed an easy way to input transliterations into computers, and the result was the Manuel de Codage (MdC). In this system, there are no diacritical marks, so any keyboard or font is capable of creating perfectly acceptable transliterations.

Below is a chart that lists the Egyptian alphabet, its transliteration, and the corresponding Manuel de Codage value.

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JSesh: A Guide to the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor – Part 1

How to use JSeshWithout a doubt, the most essential tool I use to create content for this site is JSesh. Every hieroglyphic symbol in the sign list, lessons, and even the logo was created through this program.

Now, I haven’t fully explored every function JSesh offers, but I have used it enough to guide you through the basics and show you a few tricks I learned along the way. In this installment, I will cover one of the methods to create hieroglyphs using JSesh: the hieroglyphic palette.


What is JSesh?

JSesh is a free, open source, hieroglyphic editor created by Serge Rosmorduc. There are a number of features JSesh offers, but the following are the ones that I use the most:

  • A sign list to reference the Gardiner number of a hieroglyph.
  • Search utility with filter options to help find specific signs (kneeling, sitting, dancing, etc.)
  • Descriptions of signs
  • Creating hieroglyphs by inputting either the Gardiner number or using Manuel de Codage
  • Manipulation of sign direction and sizes.
  • Capability to copy & paste hieroglyphs into other programs such as Word.
  • Exporting hieroglyphs into a number of different formats ( .jpg, .png, .pdf, etc.)
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The Top 5 Reasons Why I Made

Alec excavating in EgyptThe site has been up and running for about a week now. I’m surprised at seeing this amount of traffic so early, but it’s nice.

So I thought, rather than writing about something related to ancient Egypt, I’d share a little bit about myself and why I began this project.


In the middle of my undergrad, I transferred to a school that offered courses in Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic, and Coptic in order to pursue a degree in Egyptology. I felt the current track I was on wasn’t leading the direction I wanted, so I decided to make the leap.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

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