Before we start inserting Characters, you have to consider the FONT you are using. Some Special Characters will also require the installation of a special FONT or the Character will not be displayed. Windows already comes with over 100 fonts. To see these fonts in Windows 10, Click on START - SETTINGS - PERSONALISATION - FONTS.
What is a FONT? A font is the design of letters and contains their style details.
Fonts have Names. Example:
The Defalit Font for Microsoft Word is Calibri and for Open Office it is Times New Roman
Not much difference.
In MS Word you can change the Font and the Font Size from settings on the Ribbon Tool Bar:
To change the defalit font settings, click the small box with an arrow in the lower right corner of the Font section of the Home tab in the Ribbon.
To increase or decrease the font size of text in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
Highlight the text that you want to make bigger or smaller.
To increase the font size, press Ctrl+]. (Hold the Ctrl key, and press Right Bracket.)
Or, to decrease the font size, press Ctrl+[.
The Tool Bar Settings in Open Office and Libre Office are very similar to Word
To change the Defalit Font Size in Open Office - Click on TOOL - Options - Open Office Writer or Libre Office Writer- Basic Fonts:
There are many web sites that will provide you with a list of Fonts and instructions on how to install them.
How to Install Custom Fonts
1001 Free Fonts.
Example: If you want to print Egyptian Hieroglyphs -𓀀- you will have to download and install a special font called "Aegyptus". Then you open Word and select that font and you will be able to display all the Hieroglyphs in your Word Document.
Download Aegyptus Font
A PDF file listing all the Egyptian Hieroglyphs and their Unicode can be found at Hieroglyphs
There are two major English Language computer keyboard layouts for Windows, the United States layout and the United Kingdom layout. In Australia the U.S. Keyboard is used. The UK keyboard has additional keys added for the Pound and Euro currency symbols and some other special symbols are in a different location. So when you are installing a new operating system select the U.S. Keyboard layout for Australia.
You will find several U.S. Keyboard options in Windows 10. The one you want to select is US QWERTY. One of the other ones, the United States - International keyboard, will return letters with accent marks when using the Quote sign and other so-called Dead Keys.
U.S. Desktop keyboard
U.S. International Keyboard
Using the International Keyboard
U.S. U.K. keyboard differences
Apple Mac has a different keyboard layout shown below in the Apple Section.
The Standard U.S. keyboard has 95 characters that you can type directly into any document. However, there are 143,859 characters, with Unicode 13.0, that are available.
What are Special Characters? A character that is not an alphabetic or numeric character. $ is a special character. Punctuation marks and other symbols are examples of special characters. There are only 33 special characters that appear on your keyboard (including the Space). The rest require a special method to insert into your document.
Every Character is assigned a Hexadecimal number called a UNICODE. We can use these UNICODE numbers to display any character we want.
Unicode Examples: EURO - € - Unicode 20AC . English Pound - £ - Unicode 00A3
What is Hexadecimal? Hexadecimal describes a base-16 number system. The hexadecimal numbers are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F.
Why do we use Hexadecimal? Hexadecimal is a convenient way to express binary numbers in modern computers.
1. Copy and Paste from a list that you created. My Unicode List
2. Copy and Paste from your Office Programs Character List.
Microsoft Word: From the Ribbon Tool Bar > select the INSERT Tab then the Symbol tool as shown below. Just select the special character you want and click insert.
Open Office and Libre Office: On the Menu Tool Bar, click on Insert > Special Characters and the Special Characters Windows will open which almost exactly the same as the one in Microsoft Word. Just select your character and click OK.
3. Copy and Paste from the Operating Systems Character Map.
Your Windows Operating System contains chart of Characters and Symbols, called the Character Map. Just click on Search and type Character Map, then click on it when it appears at the top of the search reslits. (pin it to your Task Bar). This will open Windows Character Map where you can Select the Character or Characters and click on Select. When you are finished click on COPY, then go to your document and Paste.
This Method can be used on any text editor: Word Pad, Notepad or EMAIL.
For a more comprehensive listing of all the Characters, download Character Map UWP from the Microsoft Store (free program). This Program will list all the Fonts you have installed on your computer and all the Characters in that font family.
Characters on both of these Character Maps are in Hex order.
4. Use the Alt Key plus the numeric Value of the Character. This method works on Notepad, Wordpad, Microsoft Office Programs such as Word and Excel, Apache Open Office, Libre Office, Outlook, Thunderbird and Web Mail.
Use the Keystroke numbers (bottom right) of the Character Map and enter that code from the keyboard number pad.
There is a direct relationship between the Hex Value in the lower left corner of the Character Map and the Keystroke Valve in the lower Right Corner. The Keystroke is the Decimal Value. If the Keystroke Number is not listed, just convert the HEX Value to Decimal and add a leading zero. Example. Some of the Latin Letters with marks over them don't have a Keystroke Value. Latin Capital letter G with Circumflex only lists the Hexadecimal value U+011C. Convert this to Decimal and you get 284. Make it 0284 and this will work as the Alt Keystroke value.
Type the Pound Sign £ by holding down the Alt Key and typing 0163 on the Number Pad. You have to use the Number Pad, the numbers at the top of the key board do not work. Type Euro Sign € by holding down the Alt Key and typing 0128.
5. Use the Alt X method using the Characters Unicode (Hex) Value. This method only works on Wordpad, Microsoft Office Programs (such as Word, Excel, Outlook), and Libre Office. It does not work on Apache Open Office, Thunderbird or Web Mail.
The Unicode (Hex number) is located in the bottom left corner of the Character Map or from the On Line Character Map. Unicode Table
To Insert a Unicode character into Microsoft Word, first type the character code. In this case it is 00BC, then press ALT X.
00BC ALT X will give you 1/4, 00A3 will give you £. 20AC will give you €
You can also see the Unicode value of a character by placing the cursor immediately after the character and pressing Alt-X.
6. Use an On-Line UNICODE Table to either Copy and Paste or find the Unicode Value.
7. Use a special program called the Unicode Input Tool.
There is a special program you can download for free called the Unicode Input Tool and this works with all programs including your email. Unicode Tool.
8. Another Example: Ήταν η καλύτερη εποχή, ήταν η χειρότερη εποχή
For this article I am using a Macbook Air with macOS Big Sur Version 11.2
The macOS does not have a built in Character Map like Windows does. The Character Map it does have is limited.
But it does have a UNICODE INPUT TOOL, which you have to first set up.
The Unicode Hex Input Keyboard:
1. Launch System Preference, Then click KEYBOARD
2. Click the Input Sources TAB
3. Click the + button in the bottom left corner
4. You will see a long list of languages on the left side. Scroll down to the very bottom and click OTHERS. There is only one input source listed - Unicode Hex Input. Click on it, then click ADD.
5. TIC - "SHOW INPUT MENU IN MENU BAR"
6. Now up on the top menu bar over on the right side next to the Battery ICON you will notice a new ICON - Your Country Flag - Click on it and select UNICODE HEX INPUT, the icon will change to U+.
7. To input a special character, look up the Unicode Number for that Character, then Hold the OPTION KEY and type the Unicode number.
This works on Pages, MS Word and Libre Office
For this article I am using ZORIN which comes with Libre Office.
Works the same way as it does in Windows.
Type Unicode Number and Press ALT X (just like you do in Windows) or use Libre's built in Character Map. Insert > Special Character
- This page last updated on 6 June 2021 -