What is the International Morse Code Alphabet, and How to Convert Morse Code to English?

What is the International Morse Code Alphabet, and How to Convert Morse Code to English?


What is Morse Code?

The International Morse Code Alphabet was created in 1851, which represented all the English alphabets, numbers, and punctuations in the form of dots and dashes with spaces denoting the end of the word. The dots and dashes are also represented by the di and dah sound respectively. This system of communications was developed initially for the telegraph and later was used by the Navy on ships and submarines all over the world.

A . _ J . _ _ _ S . . . 2 . . – – –
B _ . . . K _ . _ T _ 3 . . . – –
C _ . _ . L . _ . . U . . _ 4 . . . . _
D _ . . M _ _ V . . . _ 5 . . . . .
E . N _ . W . _ _ 6 – . . . .
F . . _ . O _ _ _ X _ . . _ 7 – – . . .
G _ _ . P . _ _ . Y _ . _ _ 8 – – – . .
H . . . . Q _ _ . _ Z _ _ . . 9 – – – – .
I . . R . _ . 1 . – – – – 0 – – – – –

The Morse Code Alphabet was developed by Samuel Morse in 1830, and it only included numbers. After realizing the importance of Morse Code Alphabets to send and receive messages, the original Morse Code system was changed to include alphabets, punctuations, diacritic characters of other languages. It was rechristened as International Morse Code Alphabets in 1851 and has remained the same ever since.

Fun Fact

The International Morse Code Alphabet was assigned with considering the fact that the most frequent letters in the English Language must be assigned with an easy to execute Morse Alphabet.

For Example, the most frequently used alphabet in the English language is the letter E, which is denoted by just one single dot or period followed by T, which is represented by a single dash

E .
A .-
I ..

Where was/is the International Morse Code Alphabet used?

Before the invention of the telegraph, the only way to deliver a message was to send someone with a handwritten note on horseback. After the subsequent invention of the Morse Code Alphabet, sending long-distance messages was easy. It became more popular after ships used it to communicate with other ships using large lights. With the sudden improvement in the speed of communication, the International Morse Code Alphabet was quickly adapted by the military during the second world war. Naval Ships could send and receive messages to their bases, and similarly, Fighter Jets could survey the area and provide the exact location of the enemy bases and troops.

enemy bases and troops
Image Source: Wikipedia

Although the International Morse Code Alphabet is not widely used today it is still a mandate to learn in the Aviation and Aeronautical field of work. In an emergency, if all the modern means of communication fails, the Morse Code Alphabet can still be used to convey a message with the help of a flashlight or any instrument that makes two distinguishable sounds. It is also popular among radio enthusiasts and used as an alternative form of communication by people having certain disabilities. The International Morse Code Alphabet is still used by the US Navy and Coast Guard in certain situations.

International Morse Code Alphabet
Image Source: Britannica

You do not necessarily need a telegraph machine installed and can use anything that can create two actions or two distinct sounds. For example, Large lights indicating two actions – ON and OFF.

Did you know that there are instances where people with complete paralysis of their body have communicated through the opening and shutting their eyelids using the International Morse Code Alphabet?

List of Best Free Morse Code Decoders Online

If you want to learn the International Morse Code Alphabet or want to decode a message, then you can use some of the best free Morse Code decoders online. Here are a few of them:

1)  Boxentriq

A simple website that enables the user to paste English or the Morse Code Alphabet and convert it. You can then copy the translated text and paste it wherever required. It is free to use, and the conversation results are almost instant.

2) Convertcase

Another one of the free Morse Code decoders online is the Convertcase website, which has two text boxes. The left box is for English and the right one is for Morse Code Alphabet. The conversion is instant and keeps updating as you type an English letter in the left box.

3) MorseCode.World

One of the best free Morse Code decoders online is the Morsecode.World, a website dedicated to all that there is to know the International Morse Code Alphabet. It not only facilitates the conversion of English alphabets to Morse Code Alphabet and vice versa but also can play the message you have typed with Sound and Light expressions. The below video would give you a better idea of how Morse Code looks and sounds while in use.

This video displays the “I want to learn Morse Code” message via the International Morse Code Alphabets text, sound and light effects. Courtesy of MorseCodeWorld

How To Type Morse Code in Gboard App in Android?

If you are impressed by the International Morse Code Alphabet and want to learn and practice it, there is an exciting way to do so on your Android Smartphone. After you have memorized the Morse Code Alphabet, you can use it to type in your Android Phone using the Gboard App in Android. But first, you must enable the Morse Code in Gboard App on your smartphone.

Steps to add Morse Code keyboard to your Gboard App in Android

Step 1. Open the Android Settings on your mobile, and tap on System.

Step 2. Next, tap on Languages and Input and then tap on Virtual Keyboard,

Step 3. From the list of keyboards, tap on Gboard to open the Settings list.

Step 4. Select Languages from the list and, you will see a list of keyboard languages and layouts.

Step 5. Select English US and from the various options on the top, scroll left till you locate Morse Code.

Note: If you do not have English US added, then you can do so by tapping on the Add Keyboard button at the bottom.

Step 6. Tap on Morse Code and click on the back button. The Morse Code keyboard has been added to your system.

Steps to use Morse Code keyboard to your Gboard App in Android

Step 1.  Open any app that requires you to type like Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram.

Step 2. Tap and press the Globe for some time until the list of keyboards active appears on the screen.

Step 3. Choose English US Morse Code from the list. You will find that the Qwerty keyboard with alphabets will be replaced by a dual split space, containing a dot and a dash.

Tap on the appropriate symbols in sequence and you will find English letters and numbers appear on the text box, indicating that the message would be sent in English.

Your thoughts on International Morse Code Alphabet

The International Morse Code Alphabet may be a thing of the past in today’s world but it still hasn’t lost its charm. It is always exciting to learn a new language and learning to communicate in Morse Code is just the same. With many free Morse Code decoders online, it is easy to practice and gauge your skills. Also, once you have mastered a bit, you can practice sending instant messages to your contacts using the Morse Code Alphabets in the Gboard App.

It is now time to say  –. — — -.. -… -.– . (Goodbye) for now. Do share your thoughts and subscribe to Systweak Blogs and Facebook Channel for tech news and updates like these.

What Do You Think?


  • Lee Lawley
    I am 77 and first learned the Code in Fort Gordon, GA. I still enjoy holding a conversation with the Standard Key as well as the “BUG” as we called it.

    3 months ago Reply
    • Dheeraj Manghnani
      Hi Lee, Thank you for your feedback, it matters a lot especially from someone who has worked in Camp Gordon. By “BUG”, I believe you mean the Vibroplex device code used in the 50/60’s. To stay updated and get more articles like this do subscribe to our notifications and follow us on social media. And yes, here is something for you to decipher.

      3 months ago Reply

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