Typing Special Characters

If you need to type special characters, such as letter variations or symbols, you can use one of several different methods. For letters with accent marks, you can just hold down the key on your keyboard. You can also learn special keyboard combinations. For other symbols you can use the Character Viewer to special for them. You can also save characters you use often for easy access.

Comments: 20 Responses to “Typing Special Characters”

    J. G. Tuender
    7 years ago

    how to type ‘alpha’? the omega is there: ∞ !

      Jack Poulter
      7 years ago

      If you go to the character viewer and enter “alpha” in the search window (top right corner) it will show the symbol. I don’t know the keyboard method.

    7 years ago

    Very helpful…thanks for another great lesson!

    7 years ago

    Holding down those keys on my (wireless) kb does not pop up the key variations. Is there any other requirement? I am using a Mac mini late 2012 with Yosemite.

      Andrew Murr
      7 years ago

      When I’m in Facebook, I click on special characters in edit, in the case of typing someone’s name like Andre, which has a apostrophe above the e. I highlight the required character and click insert and hey presto.

    7 years ago

    This was very helpful. I did not know about the keyboard and character viewer even though I’ve been using Macs since the Mac Classic.

    7 years ago

    Oh yeah! Thank you! Not long after purchasing my first iMac I accidentally discovered the utility of holding down a letter on the keyboard to see additional options, but I did not know how to get things like ß, which I recently needed and felt dumb for not finding or figuring out. As I don’t know German I didn’t even know what to call the character to look for it on Google.

    I’m going to go fix that document right now!

    7 years ago

    How can I get back the ½ and other fractions? On new Macs this is not available.Yes it is in the character viewer but it used to come up automatically because it was in the system preferences under Language and region > Keyboard preferences > text.

      7 years ago

      Usually they appear automatically when you type the characters, like 1/2. But it depends on the app you are using and also if you have that enabled in System Preferences, Keyboard, Text.

    7 years ago

    To make an e with an accent as in Andre, just type “Option and ‘e’ together and then the e. “é”
    Swedish å is Option and a, Swedish ö is Option u and then o, Swedish ä is Option u and then a. Many combinations like this already built in. I use them all the time.

    Jeannine McCullagh
    7 years ago

    Where can I find the command symbol?

      7 years ago

      In the Character viewer, look under Technical Symbols.

    7 years ago

    That was great Thanks

    Linda DesGroseilliers
    7 years ago

    *Great* tutorial! Wish I’d known about this a couple of years ago. It would have saved me a lot of time! Thanks!!

    7 years ago

    WOW!!! Great tutorial. Thanks so much. So very helpful and a wonderful surprise.

    7 years ago

    where is the interrobang (exclamation point superimposed on question mark?

    7 years ago

    Is this just for pages? or Text edit. What about Word?

      7 years ago

      These should work in any and all apps. But some apps my use simpler text entry fields or restrict the font you are using. When in doubt, simply try it.

    6 years ago

    This is a supremely useful function. How can we petition the Mac decision-makers to add ‘ą’ to the options for ‘A’? (I ask because all of the other special characters for Polish are available by holding the key–why not ‘ą’?)

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