Using Mac OS X's Character Viewer

Spend some time on my blog and you'll notice that most of my posts are about Macs and the Mac OS. A lot of the time, I'm posting how-to articles on the operating system and I've become a bit of a pro at entering in keystroke combinations in my posts. In the past, I've been asked how I was able to generate the OS symbols Mac users have become familiar with seeing. First a bit of background - a bit of a keyboard key guide if you will.

  • ⌘ – ⌘ – ⌘ – the Command Key symbol
  • ⌥ – ⌥ – ⌥ – the Option Key symbol
  • ⇧ – ⇧ – ⇧ – the Shift Key symbol
  • ⎋ – ⎋ – ⎋ – the ESC Key symbol
  • ⇪ – ⇪ – ⇪ – the Caps Lock symbol
  • ⏎ – ⏎ – ⏎ – the Return symbol
  • ⌫ – ⌫ – ⌫ – the Delete / Backspace symbol

Because I like to use Markdown when I write my blog posts, I never use unicode when I write because it's counter-productive to the very nature of Markdown. Instead, I keep the Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar. This handy menu item allows me to do a simple drag-and-drop for the key symbols I frequently use in my posts. To enable it, simply go to your Keyboard preference pane --> Keyboard tab --> check Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.

Of course the Keyboard & Character Viewers offer more than just these essential key symbols - they have a library with everything from TM and copyright symbols to math symbols, emoji, bullets and currency symbols. The best part is that you can frequently used symbols to a favorites list so you can easily drag-and-drop symbols you use most often.

Source: Command, Option, & Shift Symbols in Unicode for the OS X symbol guide shown above.