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Picking the Perfect Font…

Using the Mac OS X Character Viewer




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  • prak

    except if I plan to use that character three dozen times, nowhere does it tell me what keystroke to use!

  • Noah

    Hi Chita,

    Nice video on the Character Viewer. More people should know about this very useful feature for choosing exactly the right characters.

    One note thought. You mentioned that you select the US Extended input method because you sometimes have an extended keyboard connected to your laptop. The US Extended input type, as far as I understand it, is not referring to the type of keyboard but rather the extended set of characters that can be entered using modifier keys and dead keys (for entering accented characters). You can see the difference by opening the Keyboard Viewer. With the US input method selected, hold the option key down. The orange keys you see are the dead keys. Now do the same with the US Extended input method selected and you will see there are more dead keys as well as different characters that can be entered.

  • Chita

    Some of those keystrokes can be found using the Keyboard Viewer, accessed from the same menu icon.

  • Chita

    Thanks for the clarification; but also for me, selecting U.S. Extended does actually change the Keyboard Viewer keyboard configuration that pops up from a standard to an extended keyboard configuration. So, it might be a combination of both.

  • Noah

    That’s true but not because you have the US Extended input source selected. This is a function of the Keyboard Viewer app detecting the keyboard type from which the keystrokes are coming from. For example, if you subsequently type a keystroke on your laptop keyboard you will see the Keyboard Viewer change on-the-fly. You can have US Extended completely off and Keyboard Viewer will still show the keyboard type that it detects keystrokes from.

    With that said, it’s certainly conceivable that with the additional extended keyboard keys, you may be able to enter more characters from the US Extended input source set (as well as from any given input source set).

  • Thank you Chita! I always learn something new from you!

  • Prak – A workaround if you need to use a special character “a lot.” (Not perfect, but a step in the right direction)

    Use the character chooser to put one in your document. Then, wherever you want to use the character, enter a “code” keystroke(s) For example: qz, or something that is not a “real word.”

    Then do a Search & Replace: Search for the code, Replace with the character (copied from the one you entered in the doc).

    If you want to get into the technicalities, look up this article:

    I agree that there’s “got to be a better way” however.

  • Online source of interest re Unicode Hex input:
    – (Penn State resource. Scroll way down)

    ANOTHER WAY: A simple test of this method worked well. I used Typeit4Me, which enables typing something brief to bring up anything from a word to a whole page of text:
    1. Find a special character (like this recycling symbol, for example: ♺ )
    2. Save it to “Favorites” in the Characters Palette for safe keeping and ready reference.
    3. Copy or double-click it from Favorites to get it into a document, such as TextEdit. (keep it simple, for the next step)
    4. THE TRICK: Select the character in the document, and add it to Typeit4Me. Use a non-word “code” of your own to input the character(s) in any document that takes text. (I set up “xc” without quotes as code for getting the recycle symbol.) Cool!