Character Maps – Discussion 1

You might remember my introduction to the Compose key a few weeks ago. While the default settings in each of the programs I reviewed are usually good enough for common characters, what do you do when you need something that they don’t list?

If you have Internet access, then a simple Google/Yahoo/DuckDuckGo/Bing search for its description should be enough to find it. Then you can just copy and paste the character wherever you please. If you’re going to use it a lot in the future, then the best action might be to add a new entry to the compose key database so you can type it faster.

Don’t give up hope if you don’t have (reliable) Internet access – your OS has a built-in tool to help.

The Character Map

On Windows and *nix this tool is known as Character Map (or a direct translation thereof); on Mac OS X it is Character Palette. It contains a long list of every character from each font installed on your computer.

Select a font (or use the default), then start scrolling to find the character you want. A menu on the side lets you change which category of characters is displayed. Double-click a character to add it to the text-box at the bottom of the window, from whence you can select and copy it.

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge them.

GNOME 3.6

Windows 7

KDE 4.10

Mac OS X 10.5.8

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