How To Write In Morse Code

Last Updated on January 16, 2023

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How To Write In Morse Code

How to Write in Morse Code: 5 Easy Steps

It is pretty easy to start writing in Morse code; you just have to know the basic steps to help you get on your way.

Morse code is universal and unique because the alphabet for pretty much any language can be mapped to its signals and can be communicated with it.

This provides encoding for that language as well as enhances the ways it can be used.

Here are the five basic rules to follow when writing in Morse code!

1. Find the Morse code Translation for Your Message

morse code writing rule1

You first need to know what signal combinations represent the characters in your message.

If you do not have the Morse code alphabet memorized, you will need a chart or translator handy to help you get started.

The letters in the alphabet are represented by at least one but up to five signal characters, so these rules are critical for reducing confusion.

There are two basic ways you can write Morse code:

  1. You can write the actual dot and dash signals themselves; for example, the word “hello” in Morse code would be “…. . .─.. .─.. ─ ─ ─ “. I would recommend doing it this way because it is faster and much simpler. It doesn’t really matter if you choose to write a dash(-) or an underscore(_), but we will use the dash in our examples.
  2. Another option is to  actually spell the dot and dash signals how they sound using “dit” and “dahs,” for example, the word “hello” would be “di-di-di-dit dit di-dah-di-dit di-dah-di-dit dah-dah-dah.”

Once you have figured out what you are writing, you will just use the rest of the rules to make it easy to read and follow.

2. Put a Space After Each Letter

writing in morse code rule2

The second basic rule is to leave a space after each letter in a word; otherwise, you will mix your signals and make it near impossible to read.

As you can see, the spaces clearly show where each letter starts and ends.

3. Write a Slash After Each Word

morse code writing rules3

To make it easier to read and understand, put a slash after completing the spelling of a word.

For example, for the phrase “I Love You” in Morse code, you would write, “.. / .─.. ─ ─ ─ …─ . / ─.─ ─  ─ ─ ─ ..─

There should be a space before the slash already because of the space after each word, but you should also put one after.

Once again, this spacing cleans up and organizes the writing for easy readability.Sponsored Links

4. Treat Punctuation as a Letter in the Word

writing in morse code rule4

When you use punctuation in Morse code, you just treat it as a letter in the word. That means a period at the end of a sentence is just added like another letter at the end with just the regular space between letters.

For example, the phrase, “Let’s do this.” would be  “.─.. . ─ .─ ─ ─ ─. … / ─.. ─ ─ ─ / ─ …. .. … .─.─.─” Notice the apostrophe is represented by “.─ ─ ─ ─.”  and in “Let’s,” it is just spelled out within the word. The same rule applies to the period at the end of this small sentence.

If you were writing another sentence after this one, you would just put a slash after the period’s dot and dash combo and start writing again.

5. Don’t use Capitalization in Morse Code

writing in morse code rule5

Last but not least, remember there is no way or real way or need to capitalize in Morse code.

It wasn’t deemed necessary with the creation of the code and would add unwanted complexity to the code.

The spacing is key to understanding Morse code messages no matter if it is tapped, written, or even spoken.

How to Write Morse Code Sentences

Here are five examples of how to write sentences in Morse code:

English SentenceWritten Morse Code Translation
1. This is how you write in Morse code.─ …. .. … / .. … / …. ─ ─ ─ .─ ─ / ─.─ ─  ─ ─ ─ ..─ / .─ ─ .─. .. ─ . / .. ─. / ─ ─ ─  ─ ─  .─. … . / ─.─. ─ ─ ─  ─.. . .─.─.─
2. I am from the United States of America... / .─ ─ ─ / ..─. .─. ─ ─ ─ – / ─ …. . / ..─ ─. .. ─ . ─.. / … ─ .─ ─ . … / ─ ─ ─ ..─. / .─ – . .─. .. ─.─. .─ .─.─.─
3. What is your destination?.─ ─ …. .─ ─ / .. … / ─.─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ..─ .─. / ─.. . … ─ .. ─. .─ ─ .. ─ ─ ─ ─. ..─ ─..
4. What is your name?.─ ─ …. .─ ─ / .. … / ─.─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ..─ .─. / ─. .─ ─ ─ . ..─ ─..
5. Learning Morse code is not as hard as it may seem..─.. . .─ .─. ─. .. ─. ─ ─. / ─ ─  ─ ─ ─ .─. … . / ─.─. ─ ─ ─ ─.. . / .. … / ─. ─ ─ ─ ─ / .─ … / …. .─ .─. ─.. / .─ … / .. ─ / ─ ─ .─ ─.─ ─ / … . . ─ ─ .─.─.─

how to write morse code on paper

Become a Morse Code Expert

Morse code operator doing work in early 1900s.

Before cell phones even before telephones, people communicated through Morse code. Despite being a technology that is over 160 years old, it’s still used today among amateur radio users and on some ships. If you were in Boy Scouts, you might have messed around with Morse code or maybe you had a grandpa who used it on his ham radio. Learning Morse is a fun and engaging hobby you can share with gramps and an interesting man skill to possess.

The History of Morse Code

Morse code was invented by Samuel F. B. Morse in the 1830s. He began work on the electric telegraph in 1832, developed a practical system in 1844, and patented his technology in 1849. The code that Morse developed for use with his system went through a few transformations before arriving at the code we’re familiar with today. Initially, Morse code only transmitted numbers. The transmission’s receiver would then have to use a dictionary to translate the numbers into words. But that proved to be tedious. Soon the code was expanded to include letters and even punctuation.

In 1844, Morse appeared before Congress to show off his little machine. The first public message was transmitted on May 24, 1844. It was “What God hath wrought.”

The original telegraph system had an apparatus on the receiving end that spat out a string of paper with indentations on it. Short indentations were called “dots” and the longer ones “dashes.” As telegraph users became more proficient with the code, they soon dispensed with the paper tape and deciphered code by year. Self made tycoon Andrew Carnegie worked as a telegraph operator as a boy. He set himself apart by learning to decipher Morse code by ear.

Ten years after the first telegraph line opened in 1844, over 23,000 miles of line crossed the country. The telegraph and Morse code had a profound effect on the development of the American West. Railroad companies used it to communicate between their stations and telegraph companies began to pop up everywhere, shortening the amount of time needed to communicate across the country.

During this period, European countries had developed their own system of Morse code. The code used in America was called American Morse code or often Railroad Morse code. The code used in Europe was called Continental Morse code.

In the 1890’s radio communication was invented and Morse code was used for transmitting messages at sea. As radio frequencies got longer and longer, international communication soon became possible and a need for an international standard code developed. In 1912, the International Morse code was adopted for all international communication. However, many railroads and telegraph companies continued using Railroad Morse code because it could be sent faster. Today, American Morse code is nearly extinct. A few amateur radio users and Civil War re-enactors still keep it alive.

Morse code became extremely important in maritime shipping and aviation. Pilots were required to know how to communicate using Morse code up until the 1990s.

Today Morse code is primarily used among amateur radio users. In fact, up until 2007, if you wanted to get your amateur radio license in America, you had to pass a Morse code proficiency test.

How to Learn Morse Code

Learning Morse code is like learning any language. You have to practice, practice, practice. We’ve brought together some resources to help you get started on the path to becoming a master telegraph operator. Who knows? Maybe you can start your own telegraph shop.

1. Get familiar with the code.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get familiar with what the alphabet looks like in Morse code. Below I’ve included the International Morse code alphabet. Print it off, carry it around with you, and study it during your free time. (In order to download the image, right click it and hit “save.”)

International morse code chart displayed.

2. Start listening to Morse code.

You’re going to have to actually listen to Morse code if you ever want to learn it. Head over to and download some MP3s of some code. Listen to it and see if you can decipher any letters.

3. Use this nifty chart.

Print off this dichotomic search tree to help you decipher code. Start off where it says “start.” Every time you hear a dit (or short sound) you move down and to the left. Every time you hear a dah (or long sound) you move down and to the right. has a dichotomic chart as well, except it’s the reverse of this one. (You go left on dah, right on dit). Use whichever one is comfortable for you.

4. Practice with the AA9PW app.

This online app will help you practice with it for 10 minutes a day and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Morse code wiz.

You can also try out “The Mill.” It’s a downlodable app that not only allows you to use International Morse code, but also American Morse code.

Tips to Make Morse Code Memorization Easier

Knowing the number of characters in each letter can help you narrow down your possibilities when you receive a message.

T, E= 1 character each

A, I, M,N= 2 characters

D, G, K, O, R, S, U, W= 3 characters

B, C, F, H, J, L, P, Q, V, X, Y, Z= 4 characters each

Reverse letters. Some letters are the reverse of each other in Morse code. For example “a” is “._” while “n” is “_.”

Here are the rest of the letters that are the reverse of each other:

a & n d & u g & w b & v f & l q & y

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