Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Accessing Special Symbols & Characters on Your Mac

There are many sources and websites on-line that display tables of key combinations to use for typing special symbols and characters on a Mac keyboard.  I find it difficult  at times to locate the file that contains the table of these magic keystroke combinations.

So whenever, I need to use a special character in a document typed with my Mac keyboard,   I access the character Keyboard Viewer.  The Keyboard Viewer can be found amongst the menubar icons in the upper right hand-side of the menubar.

If you do not see the Keyboard Viewer icon, you need to enable it.
You can do this by:
  • Selecting Systems Preferences under the Apple Menu.  
  • Select the Language & Text icon and the Input Sources tab from the Language & Text window. 
  • Make sure the option in the left-hand column of the window Keyboard & Character Viewer is enabled. Enable Show input menu in menubar by checking the box.

You can then hold down various keys on your Mac keyboard.  Try holding down the shift key, option and command keys individually to see what symbols are produced on the keyboard.

You will see more characters, when you hold down a combination of shift and option or command keys.  All the characters that are available will be viewable on the keyboard viewer and you will then be able to ascertain the correct keys to hold down to get the symbol of your choice.

Hope you find this tip helpful.

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