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Frequently-used symbols and characters will appear beneath the search box, saving you a bit of time in the future. While typing, move your cursor to the location at which you want to insert a degree symbol.
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Then, use one of the following keyboard shortcuts:. You can either do a copy and paste for each occurrence, or you can type the character using a unique hexadecimal code that is assigned to each character.
How to Type Common Symbols and Special Characters in Mac OS X
To determine what that code is for any character, just click on the character in the viewer, then "hover" your cursor above it until a yellow tooltip appears near it as in the screenshot above. Make a note of the Unicode code number for the character; for the pointing finger, it's C.
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To type the special characters, go back to the Input menu in the menu bar and select "Unicode Hex Input. In this case, you'd type OptionC to make the left pointing index finger magically appear in your document. This tip is not only fun, but extremely useful in those cases where you want to use a specific non-standard character or symbol to call attention to something in a document. Be sure to visit our earlier Mac articles for other time-saving tips. Buyer's Guide. Log in.
Sign up. Apple may soon hand special iPhones to security researchers. Just another symbol character set in Unicode. Everything we talk about here applies to OS X You could even add Shift to get more characters, so Shift-Option— minus gives you an em-dash — character. The trick is to type the keyboard shortcut for the accent, such as Option-U for an umlaut, followed immediately by the character you want underneath. It was hard to remember all the combinations, so starting in Mac OS X Just press and hold the key for the character until the Character Picker appears.
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- The Keyboard Viewer.
Then click the accented character you want, or press its corresponding number. The Character Picker suffers from two problems.
Second, it prevents you from holding down a key and having it repeat. To re-enable that functionality, enter this command into Terminal and relaunch the app in question revert the setting by changing false to true at the end :.
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Using the Option key to type special characters remains the fastest and easiest way to enter commonly used ones. How can you learn those shortcuts? With the Keyboard Viewer, a floating window that shows what pressing any combination of keys will insert. Click that menu and choose Show Keyboard Viewer.
Whenever you press a key, Keyboard Viewer gives you feedback, and if you press Shift, Option, or Shift-Option, it shows you what characters you can type. Starting in OS X By default, it comes up in the compressed form you see above, but unless space is at a premium, we recommend you expand it to its full glory below by clicking the square button at the top right.
Click that button again to shrink it, if you prefer the thinner look. Switch back and it reappears. The window also remembers its state, position, and size per app, so you can configure it for one app and have it look different for another. When Emoji is selected, as it was in the screenshot above, three more columns appear: one for emoji categories, another with the actual emoji characters, and a third that displays a large preview of the selected character with additional information and variations in other loaded fonts. When selected, the non-emoji categories show only two columns: the character and preview columns.
Once you insert a character, it appears in the Frequently Used category in the left-most column, which makes it easy to find and enter again later. You can also add your most used characters to a Favorites category: while a character is selected, click the Add to Favorites button in the right-hand preview column. Browsing might work for emoji, but for other characters, you often know which character you want. Clicking it displays a pop-up menu that lets you customize which symbol categories appear and the size of the symbols; you can also use it to clear your list of frequently used characters.
For instance, when you first click on some emoji of people or body parts, a popover menu appears that lets you choose a skin tone. To change the skin tone later, click and hold on the emoji. If you have an appropriate trackpad, a Force Touch will also bring up the popover. There are other variations, too.
With a character selected, take a look at the preview column. However, most other Unicode characters have at least a few variations, and some have dozens. Now that you know how to access these characters, what can you do with them?
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