Find Special Typographic Characters on a Mac


Need special characters (like å é î ø ü) but can’t remember where they live on the keyboard?

Mac OS X has a great feature for this—the Keyboard & Character Viewer.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Language & Text > Input Sources, and enable the Keyboard & Character Viewer.
  2. Check the box for Show Input menu in menu bar.
  3. Notice the new icon in your menu bar (likely a flag that matches the language). When needed, simply click it and choose Show or Hide Character Palette.
  4. The palette automatically floats above your active application.
  5. Be sure to check that you’re using the same font in the text generator or other application.
  6. Double-click or drag to use the special character.

This panel is really useful as you can search by category using the lefthand column. Be sure to also try searching using the bottom search field as well as you can search by name or keyword. Lastly the View menu offers additional filters, I find the All Characters and Glyph views most useful.