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Mac OS X Pocket Guide, Second Edition by Chuck Toporek

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Special Characters

Included with Mac OS X is the Key Caps application (located in /Applications/Utilities), which is a keyboard widget that allows you to see which character would be created by applying the Shift, Option, or Shift-Option keys to any key on the keyboard. Key Caps also allows you to copy and paste the character you create into another application, such as Microsoft Word.

While this might seem useful, it can be a hassle to launch another app just to create one character and copy and paste it into another program. Fortunately, one of the most little-known/-used features of the Mac OS is its ability to give you the same functionality within any application—making Key Caps unnecessary if you know what you’re doing. Table 5-1 lists these special characters. Keep in mind that this doesn’t work for all font types, and some fonts such as Symbol, Wingdings, and Zapf Dingbats create an entirely different set of characters or symbols. For example, to create the symbol for the Command key (

Special Characters

), you would need to switch the font to Wingdings and type a lowercase z.

Table 5-1. Special characters and their key mappings

Normal

Shift

Option

Shift-Option

1

!

¡

/

2

@

Special characters and their key mappings

3

#

£

4

$

¢

5

%

fi

6

^

§

fl

7

&

8

*

·

°

9

(

ª

·

0

)

º

'

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