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Type special characters in OS X

Dan Frakes | April 26, 2013
Your Mac's keyboard makes it easy to type any of the standard characters--the ones used most frequently in everyday typing. But OS X lets you use hundreds of special characters that don't appear on your keyboard's keys. This week's video explains three ways to access special characters in OS X.

Note that Keyboard Viewer reflects the available characters in the frontmost app's current font, so a particular key combination may produce different results in a different app or font.

Using Character Viewer What about characters you can't access from the keyboard? From the same Input Menu, choose Show Character Viewer, and you see a window listing any special character your Mac is able to produce, organized by category. Select a category on the left, and you see all the characters available in that category. Double-click a character to "type" it in the frontmost application.

Character Viewer offers a few other useful features. The Recently Used list makes it easy to reuse recently typed characters, while the Favorites list includes any character you've designated as a favorite. The details area on the right shows a larger version of the selected character, along with more information about it, similar characters, and variations available in other fonts. (You can right-click any character to copy its detailed information to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere.)

Perhaps most useful is Character Viewer's search field. If you know what you're looking for, but you can't find it, type part of the character's name--such as euro or smil--to show only matching characters.


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