Using Furigana in Microsoft Word

I received an email from someone asking how to add furigana (small hiragana) over Japanese text on her computer.  I mentioned I do it with Word using the Phonetic Guide.  She only had Works and Works doesn’t appear to have the Phonetic Guide.

For those who do not want to spend a few hundred dollars to buy Microsoft Office, I believe the free Open Office software does allow the user to add furigana over Japanese.

Since I am only familiar with the Word way of doing things, this post shows how to add furigana over kanji in Microsoft Word 2007:


What you need is called ‘Phonetic Guide.’  Highlight the Japanese in question and press the Phonetic Guide button.

I don’t think the Phonetic Guide button appears by default in Word 2007, but here is how to add the Phonetic Guide quick click button:

1) Right click on the top bar and choose ‘Customize Quick Access Toolbar’

2) When it pops up, choose ‘All Commands’ (where the top hand is)
3) Find ‘Phonetic Guide’ and click on the ‘Add’ button

It now should appear at the top quick launch button bar.

The default furigana guess is pretty good.  It guesses what furigana you want, but you can easily change it.  Although you have to go word by word (you want to make sure the furigana is correct after all), it is pretty fast and easy.

3 thoughts on “Using Furigana in Microsoft Word

  1. very helpful. i typed a letter to one of my students today, and i was just putting furigana in brackets. this will now enable me to type less annoying-to-read letters. many thanks.

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