4 Ways To Type Special Characters On A Mac

You can type special characters on your Mac using one of four different techniques. For accent marks and character variations you can hold down keys on the keyboard or use Option and Shift to access some keys. You can also bring up the Emoji & Symbols chooser for thousands of special characters. Watch for more options and tips.

Comments: 11 Responses to “4 Ways To Type Special Characters On A Mac”

    Mark Flannery
    4 months ago

    This was informative. Now I can easily find the symbol for degrees °, which I use often

    emmanuel scerri
    4 months ago

    Hello Gary, Thanks for a useful video. Keep up the good work! Emmanuel

    Brad
    4 months ago

    When I hold down a key, it repeats.

    4 months ago

    Brad: Perhaps in the past you used a Terminal command to disable this?

    Debra
    4 months ago

    Gary when I go to System preferences and click on “keyboard”, then “input sources”, then click the box below for “show input menus in menue bar” nothing shows up. I have tried unchecking it and rechecking the box but nothing happens. I have a Mac book air with Big Sur 11.4. My husband has a Mac book pro with the same Big Sur 11.4 and it worked for him but not on my computer. My computer is about 2 years old.
    Thanks,
    Debi

    Brad
    4 months ago

    Thanks Gary! If you have to execute a Terminal command to get keys to repeat, I can definitely see how I would have given up the special character feature for it. I’ve had this machine long enough to forget lots of things I’ve done to it. :)
    Seems weird that repeating isn’t the default action when holding down a key, though.

    4 months ago

    Brad: Do you use repeating keys? I can’t imagine what for, in 2021. The only reason I can see to use them would be back in the typewriter days when you wanted to put a line of dashes as a horizontal rule. What do you use repeating keys for?

    Brad
    4 months ago

    Still living in the typewriter days. Sometimes I go +++++++++ and sometimes I go ============== and sometimes i go ============> and sometimes I go <===========. I might use repeating keys to go AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG!

    Tom
    4 months ago

    So, how about a tip on how to keep all of your tips somewhere so I don’t forget how to use a tip? I still think you should publish lists of tips that we can purchase and download and laminate for handy-dandy guides. Your tips are great. My memory…not so much.

    Jasper
    3 months ago

    Is there a mouse-less way to dismiss the Special Character window? I saw you used Return, when you’d selected an Emoji; but what if you change your mind? I thought that either Escape, ⌘q, or ⌘⌥␣ would do it—seems not. And is there any other way to interface with System Preferences’ text replacement? The field is too small for my longer replacements. Maybe in Terminal somehow?

    3 months ago

    Jasper: The Esc key is the way to do it in normal mode. But perhaps you have switched from the “picker” to the window. Click the button at the top right corner to switch back to the picker. As for text replacements, just create the longer segment in TextEdit, copy, and paste into System Preferences.

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