How to type thousands of special “hidden” characters

September 16, 2009 by Dean Rieck
Filed under: Writing Tools 

registration markHave you ever been writing copy and needed to insert a ® (registration mark), © (copyright symbol), or some other special character?

On some word processing programs if you type (c), the program will automatically transform those three characters (left parentheses, the letter c, right parentheses) into the proper one-character symbol. This works for a few other characters as well.

But there are other ways to do this and access thousands of “extended characters” hidden inside the fonts on your computer. One is to look up a list of Alt codes for all the characters, which you can find on the Internet. For example, if you hold down the Alt key and type 0169, you get ©.

Another way is to open a little built-in program called Character Map on Windows and Character Palette on Mac. You just select the typeface you’re using and you can choose from a huge collection of special characters. Personally, I find this a lot easier than memorizing Alt codes. And using the correct symbols gives documents a professional look.

If you need a little help, read more about Character Map or Character Palette.

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