SignWriter Tiger Logo (eye on purple palm) Logo 

SignWriter Tiger

Valid HTML 4.01!  Valid CSS!
Logo Developed with IntelliJ IDEA 

What is the SignWriter?

It is a program to edit SignWriting texts. It is developed in Java 5 aka Java "Tiger", hence the name SignWriter Tiger. We use IntelliJ IDEA. The company granted us an open source license of their IDE.

What is SignWriting?

It is a practical writing system for Sign Languages, developed by Valerie Sutton. SignWriting describes how the movements of signing of Deaf people look like with easy to understand symbols. This gives Deaf people the possibility of writing to each other, making notes and reading text in their native language. Hearing people learning sign languages can note movements on paper and don't always need videos to memorize signs.

Please visit the Sutton's SignWritingSite for more information. Find the "Lessons in SignWriting - Textbook and Workbook" there to learn SignWriting.

Software for SignWriting

There is already some software for SignWriting, especially the 'veteran' "SignWriter DOS", and others. "SignWriter Tiger" is the new SignWriter program and follows "SignWriter DOS". It is still in development. Please see the paper "Development of a new 'SignWriter' Program" for the conference in Lisbon end of May 2004. At the First European SignWriting Symposium in Brussels July 2005 SignWriter Tiger will be presented, too.

May 16th 2005 is the first public release of executables and source code on SourceForge. Developers who know SignWriting and Java Tiger are still welcome to participate. The software runs under any Java Tiger (Java 5.0) installation, but is still very alpha. Users are welcome to experiment with the software and complain about missing features and bugs (but politely, please :-).


Click on the screenshots to enlarge them.

screenshot, see comment
Displaying the text "Deaf Perspective" (with mistakes)-:
screenshot, see comment
A sign and a symbol are selected for editing
screenshot, see comment
Typing the Index Finger (type a, then a)
screenshot, see comment
EXTRA: The SymbolDisplayer displaying the Circle Hand

Windows and Linux Download

Windows Download SignWriter Tiger! On Windows or Linux with an Java 5 installation download and double-click the jar file. A Linux user reported that he could start SignWriter Tiger from the jar file.

Mac OS X Download

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger users must download and install Java 5 (from Apple) first. Then you can download Mac OS X SignWriter Tiger! Inside the dmg file you find a Mac OS X application.

Sorry, but Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and before cannot run SignWriter Tiger. Later we will offer a release which works under the older versions.

Source Code CVS Download

Here is the most current CVS tarball (4.7 MB). Extract it to a directory of your choosing and you can use that directory as a CVS repository. If you prefer the sources directly, download them from the SourceForge project directory.

Licenses and Development Model

SignWriter Tiger is being developed under an Open Source license, namely the Artistic License. It is the same license used for the development of the Perl programming language. You don't have to buy the software. It is Open Source.

SignWriter Tiger is a SourceForge project, too. is the world's largest Open Source software development website, with the largest repository of Open Source code and applications available on the Internet. provides free services to Open Source developers.


Any donations are very welcome. The team members develop SignWriter Tiger, a complex software, in their free time. The money will motivate us to work harder and make SignWriter Tiger more complete and more robust.

If you want to donate, click here. You will get to a SourceForge page and be able to donate money with PayPal. Thank you!

PayPal Donate button

Old stuff

There is my old SignWriter Development homepage (not maintained anymore).

nalp, Moos Switzerland