Zodiac Typewriter

In our many online discussions of the Zodiac’s ciphers, I’ve often needed to create pictures of symbols or pieces of the cipher text to illustrate a point. This became tedious after a while, so I created the “Zodiac Typewriter” to make this task simpler.

The Zodiac Typewriter gives you a quick way to string together a set of symbols to save as HTML (for blogposts and web pages), or as BBCode (for forum posts). It also generates hyperlinks so you can share your chunks of cipher text. This is so much faster than creating homemade, custom images. For example:

Here’s how to use it:

First, enter some text into the input box:

As you type your text, the generated cipher text image will appear below:

Each of the available cipher symbols is displayed in a table, along with the corresponding letter you can type to use it. The symbols come from the 408, 340, 13, and 32 character ciphers:

To use a symbol, enter its corresponding letter into the input box. Or, while your cursor is in the input box, click on one of the symbols. If you enter an unrecognized letter, a red question mark will appear.

If the table of symbols gets in your way, click the “hide” button.

Click the “lighter” button to make the cipher text gray. You can then click the “darker” button to make it black again. Maybe we’ll make this thing support more colors in the future.

When you’re happy with the cipher text, you can share it in several ways. One option is HTML, which is simply a collection of image tags that link directly to the images for each symbol. Click the “show html” button and you’ll see the HTML source. Copy and paste it to your blog post or web page and you’ll see the cipher text.

Another sharing option is to use BBCode for forum posts. Click the “show bbcode” button and you’ll see the bbcode necessary to reproduce your cipher text in a post. It is a collection of image tags, just like the HTML source. Simply copy and paste the BBCode into your post.

Finally, you can link directly to your cipher by clicking the “show links” button, which will generate hyperlinks for your cipher text. The “Full” link will open your cipher in the full Zodiac Typewriter interface. The “Compact” link opens a page that displays only your cipher.