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.)


That’s great, but how do I create hieroglyphs?

Well, there are a few different ways, it just depends how well you know either your Gardiner numbers or Manuel de Codage. If you don’t know either very well, then you will be using the hieroglyphic palette. This method may be a little tedious, but you will still be able to use the program just the same.

Once you install JSesh, load it up and you will be met with a screen that looks something like this:

JSesh's Menu

Now, if you aren’t familiar with the Manuel de Codage or Gardiner numbers, then you will be using the sign list located at the bottom right corner labeled, Basic Hieroglyphs. This list orders each hieroglyph into its respective Gardiner sign group, just how the sign list available here groups its hieroglyphs.

JSesh Basic Hieroglyph Menu

Once you find the sign you want to use, you can either click on it and it will be added to the hieroglyphic window, or you can simply type the Gardiner number yourself. If you choose to insert it yourself, make sure that the letter is capitalized. For example, G47 will show up, but g47 will not.


JSesh Hieroglyphic Palette

If you can’t find the sign you are looking for, you can use the Hieroglyphic palette. This palette is incredibly useful because it not only allows you to search for hieroglyphs, it lets you to filter specific signs, display possible variants, and see a short description of the hieroglyph. This palette is very easy to access.

All you need to do is click “Window,” and then check the box next to “Hieroglyphs.” This will cause the palette to pop up.

JSesh Hieroglyphic Palette

From this menu, you have a ton of options. You have the same sign list as the basic one, but with more functionality. You can select which family of hieroglyphs you want to explore, and then displays all of the signs, including a large number of variants in the main window.

If the selection is too overwhelming, you can filter the results in the sub-family menu. This menu allows you to show only the signs that meet your filter requirements. For instance, if you are looking at the “Mammals” family, you could filter your results to only show lion, panther, bovine, or antelope hieroglyphs.

Once you find the hieroglyph to want to use, click on it to select. It will then show up in the smaller window, with its Gardiner number beneath it. You can also click on the button located at the bottom left of the screen, with the owl hieroglyph, in order to show the sign’s possible variations.

Now, to place the hieroglyph into the main hieroglyphic window, you can either hit enter or you can simply type in the Gardiner number. Both will achieve the same result.


It’s that Easy!

In the next installment, I will discuss how to manipulate signs in order to group them to your linking as well as the Manuel de Codage. If you can’t wait until then, check out the JSesh website for a few different tutorials and play around with the program on your on your own. Good luck!

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