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Ivan's picture

How to type exposé

You can type many special characters without activating a new language from the System Preferences. You can get accents with an option and a special modifier key typed before the actual letter. Here is how to type "é" for example: Press Alt-e (Option-e) and than e.

Find below a list of common accents you can type this way:

Acute é, á, ú, etc. Alt+E
Circumflex î, â, ô, etc. Alt+I
Grave à, ì, ò, etc. Alt+`
Tilde ñ, õ, ã, etc. Alt+N
Umlaut ü, ö, ï, etc. Alt+U

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carlosmh's picture
202 pencils

Latinomerican user here... but try uppercase letters... little bit tricky... "Ñ,É".... add shift key....

lovethebomb's picture
4 pencils

I've always liked how easy it was to do these special characters on my mac (Was especially nice when I took Spanish class years ago). I've always wondered if it's as easy to do with Windows machines.

bteverybody's picture
101 pencils

It's rather cumbersome in Windows. For é, you have to hold Alt and type 0233 (I think it's 0233) using the numeric keypad. To find the codes to type, open up the Character Map application. When you click on a letter, the information appears at the bottom. I used to have several memorized (é, em dash, and ñ), but I haven't used Windows for so long that I have forgotten them.

Ezku's picture
3 pencils

We have it great, us Finns. All those diacritics are found straight on the keyboard: ´`^¨~ ... great for having a laugh at your less internationalized American friends, no? ;)

In fact I was surprised to see such a problem exists. I haven't thought about it before, but with your key layout you really can't dô thïs easily, can you.

xGrape's picture
88 pencils

Agreed. It owns to have a keyboard with a somewhat sensible layout :)

javdotnew's picture
11 pencils

you know what would be really great, if i were to print that out and tape it to my monitor.

RM's picture
1 pencil

I need to use these all the time, particularly ½, and I've had to resort to keeping it somewhere and copying it and pasting into PSCS when it's needed. There has to be a better way!!!

yofal's picture
26 pencils

Generally aren't available in all fonts. Windows builds them into their versions of Times and Helvetica, but as those translating Word docs over to Macs, the fractions don't generally follow, especially when placed in page layout.

Some expert fonts, have fraction sets built into them, and some X apps that understand Unicode are able to automatically build them via the OS.

To make a little better looking fraction, use opt-1 to get an optically scaled divider that you can then add smaller numerator and denominator via superscript or baseline shifting (where available).

There's a good (old) article on the issues here:

The Character Palette gives you a way to insert Unicode fractions (available under the keyboard layout menu / or international System Pref.

Do an Apple Help search for "Character Palette" for more info on how to use it. It's a bit wacky...

A nut for a jar of tuna

A nut for a jar of tuna

mrbuhyah's picture
249 pencils

Been doing this for years. Having being in the French Immersion program during elementary and high-school, one soon got used to doing accents with the macs Option key, and awful windows ALT codes. I could do these things in my sleep.

Vortex's picture
20 pencils

alt+shift+k makes 

now you can type the apple logo!

yofal's picture
26 pencils

Has been around since the early days of Chicago bitmap-only fonts...and please - call it "option"...

Mr. Fussy

A nut for a jar of tuna

A nut for a jar of tuna

ghyslain's picture
54 pencils

First, I would like to say that Iv'e been really enjoying reading blogs from Creative Bits, it's always full of useful info! Nicely done Ivan!

Second, what happend to good old "KeyCaps" app that was in the earlier versions of OSX??? I found it was a useful tool(for me anyways) to have when you were looking for a special character. Is there a similar app built-in OSX that I'm not aware of?

yofal's picture
26 pencils

In OSX you'll find access to it in the "International" System Prefs ->Input Menu. Click the check box near the top of this scrolling list on "Keyboard Viewer". Be also sure that "Show input menu in menu bar" is checked at the bottom of the same pref pane.

Once you've turned things on, you can access the viewer when required by clicking on the keyboard layout icon in the menu bar (shows up as a little flag) and selecting "keyboard viewer".

BTW: Discovered recently that opt-F14 opens System Prefs->Displays from anywhere. Quicker than going to the Finder menu...

A nut for a jar of tuna

A nut for a jar of tuna

ghyslain's picture
54 pencils

That is sweet! I guess I wasn't searching hard enough for the Keycaps. I was used to find it in the "Utility" folder (back when Jaguar came out)

iancorey's picture
94 pencils

I learned this becuase I had a Apple Mac Plus, was thirteen and bored. No Internet back then, Carmen Sandiego had been beaten. KeyCaps and HyperCard were about the only thing left that was cool.
Besides Beyond Dark Castle, that is.

Ivan's picture

That's too funny! Pre internet days were boring indeed.

Jammo's picture
-4 pencils

Can someone tell me how to get the cmd symbol, sure Apples fine, but the cmd symbol would be great :)


yofal's picture
26 pencils

Wingding's lowercase "z"

A nut for a jar of tuna

RSL's picture
29 pencils

Maybe some of you Mac users can solve a puzzle I've been wondering about. Every so often, you see some odd little symbols on webpages. Sometimes they're in places you'd expect diacritical marks [a fancy word for accented letters] and sometimes where quotes should be. My suspicion is that these are un-HTML-ized [unescaped?] characters typed directly in the document specifically control sequences that don't duplicate on PCs like mine.

Has anyone else ever seen this? [It's kinda on topic!]

Ivan's picture

got an example...?

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