, , , , , ,

Character and Keyboard Viewer

Here are a couple of little preferences that are extremely helpful in typesetting. They will help you find and use all of the hidden characters that are found embedded in most fonts. One of my favorites is the bullet. That large dot (•) that is centered in the x-height of a line of text. I use them to separate elements in an address or to highlight points in an outline style. The bullet is option 8 in almost all fonts, but how do you find out about it or any of the other hidden characters? Well, here’s how on a Mac. (there is probably a way to identify these useful characters in a Windows computer but I don’t know how, so . . .)

Start by opening your system preferences by clicking on the Apple in the corner of your Menu bar at the top of your Desktop.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.06.31 PMScroll down to the System Preferences and click on it.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.07.20 PMWhen the System Preference window opens, click on Languages & Text in the top row under Personal.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.07.56 PMWhen the Languages & Text window opens, select Input Sources and check the On box next to Keyboard & Character Viewer. At the bottom of the window, check Show Input in menu bar.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.08.26 PMThis will place a tiny icon on the right side of your menu bar. Click on this icon and select Show Character Viewer. This viewer will show you a variety of hidden characters, separated in categories. To use any of these just place your cursor in any text block of any software then go to the Character Viewer and select the character and double click. It will place your chosen character in the text block. Pretty cool!

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.09.13 PMNow let’s look at the Keyboard Viewer. Go back to the icon in the menu bar and select the Keyboard Viewer. When the window opens you will see a standard keyboard. Go to your actual keyboard and press the Option key. Your viewer wil diplay the hidden character available with the Option key, notice Option 8, it’s a bullet. Now press the Option and and Shift at the same time. Amazing!

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.09.50 PMHAPPY CHARACTER HUNTING!