Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Character Viewer/Palette in Macintosh OS X

View Macintosh OS X Keyboards

Apple provides a Character Viewer (formerly the Character Palette) utility which allows users to look up and insert individual characters. Once it is installed, users can enter symbols for math, East Asian languages and other scripts.

Page Content

  1. Yosemite/Mavericks
  2. Older Systems

Yosemite/Maveriscks

Activate Viewer

  1. Go to the Apple menu and open Systems Preferences.
  2. Click the Keyboard option.
  3. In the Keyboard window, check the option Show Keyboard and Character Viewers in menu bar at the bottom of the window.
    Keyboard preferences

Customize Viewer

  1. In the upper right of your desktop, click the flag icon to open the list of activated keyboards and select Show Character Viewer.
    Note: This tool may also be available in the menus of some text editors as Emoji and Symbols.
  2. Click the Gear icon in the upper left and select Customize list.
    Viewer shows sets of blocks and Rightward Arrows with different font options
  3. A list organized by type and region appears. Check blocks you often use then click Done to close.
    Note: Checking the Unicode option under Code Tables allows you to see every character supported.
    Symbol blocks options include Arrows, Braille, Currency, Emoji

Insert Characters

  1. In your document position your cursor where you need to insert a character.
  2. Open the Character Viewer from the top menu on the desktop.
    Note: If you cannot find the viewer, follow the instructions above to activate it.
  3. Select the block you need to access in the left window.
  4. Highlight the character you wish to insert.
  5. Double click on it to insert it in your document.
    Note: Some software packages may not support insertion. Others such as Adobe Creative Suite may require you to change fonts to one that includes the character.

 

 

Older Versions

The Character Palette can be used to insert characters into applications such as TextEdit; however not all characters can be inserted into all applications.

Version Notes

Activation

  1. Go to the Apple menu and open Systems Preferences.
  2. Click the U.N. flag icon (either Text & Language in 10.6, Snow Leopard or International in earlier versions) on the first row of the Systems Preferences panel.
    Note: The panel may differ between different versions of the operating system.

    System Prefences Screen Capture 10.6
    System Preferences, Version 10.6, Snow Leopard. Click "Language and Text".

    .System Preferences Screen capture
    System Preferences in earlier versions with "International" icon.

  3. Click the Input Sources (OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard) or Input Menu tab and check off the option for the Character Palette then close the window.

    Character Viewer Option in 10.6
    OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard. Check "Keyboard & Character Viewer" to activate.

    Input Menu
    Earlier versions of OS X. Click "Character Palette" and "Keyboard Viewer" to activate.

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Insert Math and Punctuation Symbols

  1. Within any application, choose Show Character Viewer (or Palette) from the International (flag icon) menu on the upper right.
  2. In the new window, switch the View drop-down menu to Roman.
  3. Select Math in the left menu to display available math symbols.
  4. Highlight the symbol needed, then drag the symbol into the document or click Insert.
  5. To insert other types of symbols such as Greek letters, click on the right hand menu to reveal the list of characters. Highlight and Insert as in Step #3.
  6. To view addtional math symbols, switch the View menu in the upper left to Unicode (or All Characters in Leopard), then scroll to Mathematical Operators on the left.

Character Palette, Default View
Character Palette - Highlight character, then click Insert.

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East Asian Characters

  1. Within any application, choose Show Character Viewer (or Palette) from the International (flag icon) menu on the upper right.
  2. In the View menu in the upper left, choose Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese to reveal character options
  3. Click the By Radical tab at the top to select Chinese characters by shape
  4. Click the By Category tab to select non-Chinese characters including katagana, hiragana and hangul.
  5. Highlight the symbol needed, then click Insert.

Character Viewer, Chinese, By Radical
Character Viewer showing Chinese options.

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Other Scripts

  1. Within any application, choose Show Character Viewer (or Palette) from the International (flag icon) menu on the upper right.
  2. In the View menu in the upper left, choose All Characters to reveal character options.
  3. In the left menu, scroll down to the appropriate region for your target script. Click the arrow then select a script.
  4. Highlight the symbol needed, then click Insert.

 

Character Palette Screen Capture
Character Viewer/Palette with scripts organized by region.

Panther (10.3) and Jaguar (10.2)

  1. Open an application such as Office 2004, Text Edit or other application which supports Unicode input.
  2. Choose Show Character Palette from the International (flag icon) menu on the upper right.
  3. In the View menu in the upper left, choose Unicode or All to reveal character options.
  4. In the left menu, scroll down to the script block desired.
  5. Highlight the symbol needed, then click Insert.

 

Panther Screencapture
Panther Character Palette (10.3)

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Last Modified: Monday, 20-Jul-2015 15:59:23 EDT