The Holidays Are for Special Characters

It’s that time of year when people come together to celebrate the holidays. Although most of my family is local, we all gather only during the holidays. And if your family is anything like mine, you have your fair share of odd ducks. There’s the born-again uncle, who will preach your ear off. There’s gramdpa, who has become a bit peculiar in his declining years. There’s the cousin, who needs to dial it down on the Ritalin. Then, there’s the other side of the family, who are Dutch. Don’t get me started on the Dutch; they are just too weird for words. Despite all their foibles and eccentricities, we love our families. Where else can you find such a colorful collection of special characters.

Speaking of special characters…. Sorry for the painful, cheesy segway.

As businesses grow internationally, and as languages commingle and borrow words from each other, we must be able to type diacritics and special characters that do not appear on our standard keyboards. Words and phrases that we use frequently, like résumé, café, cliché, über-, and à la carte require accented characters. Mathematical symbols and some punctuation are further examples of special characters.

You can access special characters in Microsoft Office 2007 or Office 2008 applications from the Symbols palette by clicking Insert and selecting Symbol. Double-clicking a character inserts it into your text.

If you’re an Adobe InDesign user, you can access special characters from the Glyphs palette by clicking Type and selecting Glyphs. Double-clicking a character inserts it into your text. InDesign allows you to save sets of special characters that you use frequently.

With FrameMaker 9, Adobe added a Character Palette. To open the Character Palette, click File, select Utilities, and select Character Palette. Double-clicking a character inserts it into your text.

As convenient as these palettes are, nothing beats a quick, easy keyboard shortcut. Here is a table that will help you type some of the most commonly used special characters, or glyphs, in Mac OS X and Windows applications or in HTML for the Web. Adobe FrameMaker has its own keyboard shortcuts for special characters, but it also recognizes the Windows Alt key combinations. Download Special Characters PDF.

Glyph Description Mac OS Windows HTML
left single quote Option-] Alt-0145 ‘
right single quote Option-Shift-] Alt-0146 ’
left double quote Option-[ Alt-0147 “
right double quote Option-Shift-[ Alt-0148 ”
dagger Option-t Alt-0134 †
double dagger Option-Shift-7 Alt-0135 ‡
per mil sign Option-Shift-R Alt-0137 ‰
trademark symbol Option-2 Alt-0153 ™
en dash Option-hyphen Alt-0150 –
em dash Option-Shift-hyphen Alt-0151 —
¡ inverted exclamation point Option-1 Alt-0161 ¡
¢ cent sign Option-4 Alt-0162 ¢
£ British pound sterling Option-3 Alt-0163 £
¥ Japanese yen Option-y Alt-0165 ¥
European euro Option-Shift-2 Alt-0128 €
§ section sign Option-6 Alt-0167 §
¨ umlaut Option-Shift-U Alt-0168 ¨
© copyright symbol Option-g Alt-0169 ©
® registered trademark symbol Option-r Alt-0174 ®
° degree symbol Option-Shift-8 Alt-0176 °
´ acute accent Option-Shift-E Alt-0180 ´
pilcrow Option-7 Alt-0182 ¶
¸ cidilla Option-Shift-Z Alt-0184 ¸
¼ one-quarter Alt-0188 ¼
½ one-half Alt-0189 ½
¾ three-quarters Alt-0190 ¾
¿ inverted question mark Option-Shift-? Alt-0191 ¿
À uppercase A, grave accent Option-`, Shift-A Alt-0192 À
Á uppercase A, acute accent Option-e, Shift-A Alt-0193 Á
 uppercase A, circumflex accent Option-I, Shift-A Alt-0194 Â
à uppercase A, tilde Option-n, Shift-A Alt-0195 Ã
Ä uppercase A, umlaut Option-u, Shift-A Alt-0196 Ä
Å uppercase A, ring Option-Shift-A Alt-0197 Å
Æ uppercase ash Option-Shift-‘ Alt-0198 Æ
Ç uppercase C, cedilla Option-Shift-C Alt-0199 Ç
È uppercase E, grave accent Option-`, Shift-E Alt-0200 È
É uppercase E, acute accent Option-e, Shift-E Alt-0201 É
Ê uppercase E, circumflex accent Option-I, Shift-E Alt-0202 Ê
Ë uppercase E, umlaut Option-u, Shift-E Alt-0203 Ë
Ì uppercase I, grave accent Option-`, Shift-I Alt-0204 Ì
Í uppercase I, acute accent Option-e, Shift-I Alt-0205 Í
Î uppercase I, circumflex accent Option-I, Shift-I Alt-0206 Î
Ï uppercase I, umlaut Option-u, Shift-I Alt-0207 Ï
Ñ uppercase N, tilde Option-n, Shift-N Alt-0209 Ñ
Ò uppercase O, grave accent Option-`, Shift-O Alt-0210 Ò
Ó uppercase O, acute accent Option-e, Shift-O Alt-0211 Ó
Ô uppercase O, circumflex accent Option-I, Shift-O Alt-0212 Ô
Õ uppercase O, tilde Option-n, Shift-O Alt-0213 Õ
Ö uppercase O, umlaut Option-u, Shift-O Alt-0214 Ö
× multiplication sign Al-0215 ×
Ø uppercase O, slash Option-Shift-O Alt-0216 Ø
Ù uppercase U, grave accent Option-`, Shift-U Alt-0217 Ù
Ú uppercase U, acute accent Option-e, Shift-U Alt-0218 Ú
Û uppercase U, circumflex accent Option-I, Shift-U Alt-0219 Û
Ü uppercase U, umlaut Option-u, Shift-U Alt-0220 Ü
ß lowercase sharps, German Option-s Alt-0223 ß
à lowercase a, grave accent Option-`, a Alt-0224 à
á lowercase a, acute accent Option-e, a Alt-0225 á
â lowercase a, circumflex accent Option-I, a Alt-0226 â
ã lowercase a, tilde Option-n, a Alt-0227 ã
ä lowercase a, umlaut Option-u, a Alt-0228 ä
å lowercase a, ring Option-a Alt-0229 å
æ lowercase ash Option-‘ Alt-0230 æ
ç lowercase c, cedilla Option-c Alt-0231 ç
è lowercase e, grave accent Option-`, e Alt-0232 è
é lowercase e, acute accent Option-e, e Alt-0233 é
ê lowercase e, circumflex accent Option-I, e Alt-0234 ê
ë lowercase e, umlaut Option-u, e Alt-0235 ë
ì lowercase i, grave accent Option-`, i Alt-0236 ì
í lowercase i, acute accent Option-e, i Alt-0237 í
î lowercase i, circumflex accent Option-I, i Alt-0238 î
ï lowercase i, umlaut Option-u, i Alt-0239 ï
ñ lowercase n, tilde Option-n, n Alt-0241 ñ
ò lowercase o, grave accent Option-`, o Alt-0242 ò
ó lowercase o, acute accent Option-e, o Alt-0243 ó
ô lowercase o, circumflex accent Option-I, o Alt-0244 ô
õ lowercase o, tilde Option-n, o Alt-0245 õ
ö lowercase o, umlaut Option-u, o Alt-0246 ö
÷ division sign Option-/ Alt-0247 ÷
ø lowercase o, slash Option-o Alt-0248 ø
ù lowercase u, grave accent Option-`, u Alt-0249 ù
ú lowercase u, acute accent Option-e, u Alt-0250 ú
û lowercase u, circumflex accent Option-I, u Alt-0251 û
ü lowercase u, umlaut Option-u, u Alt-0252 ü
ÿ lowercase y, umlaut Option-u, y Alt-0255 ÿ

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