How to Use macOS Keyboard Viewer & Special Characters Palette?

Online communication is impossible without using emojis and special symbols. The same goes for writing, which often requires special characters to make a point. Are you looking for a way to insert a copyright symbol into the text or watermark a photo? macOS has the Character Viewer feature to make using special characters, emojis, and currency symbols a lot easier.

How to Type Special Symbols on Mac’s Keyboard?

mac keyboard

Owing to the Keyboard Viewer functionality shipped with macOS, one can use special symbols and characters in written communication. To see where these characters locate on Mac’s keyboard, do the following:

  1. In the menu bar on top, click the Input menu → select Show Keyboard Viewer. Alternatively, go to Apple menu → System Preferences → Keyboard. After that, choose the ‘Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar’ option.
  2. Click the Input menu and select the input source to view the keyboard in a specific language.
  3. On your Mac’s keyboard, hit the key that corresponds to the specific character in the Keyboard Viewer. Alternatively, you can click the needed keys in the Keyboard Viewer directly.
  4. Hit a modifier key, or a group of modifier keys, to view special characters or symbols used in typing. For instance, to type a copyright symbol on Mac’s keyboard, use the Option-G key combination.

It is possible to insert the copyright symbol directly from the Special Characters palette using the Control-Command-Space key combination.

If you need to insert a letter with a diacritical mark, there are special modifier keys known as «dead keys» on Mac’s keyboard.

Don’t forget to revert to your default source or keyboard layout in case you changed it earlier.

How to Type Accented Characters on Mac’s Keyboard?

If you need to type an accented/alternate version of a specific character, press down the necessary key until the variations show up in a separate pop-up.

To select the needed option, type the number located under the character, or click the option you want to use. If you don’t need to type the accented character anymore, hit Escape, or type another one.

How to Insert Emojis?

The macOS Character Viewer allows inserting emojis as you type. If you want to spice up your written speech with emotion, do the following:

  1. Choose the place in your message/document you want to insert the emoji and put the cursor right there.
  2. Use Control–Command–Space key combination to launch the Character Viewer pop-up.
  3. To look up the needed emoji, use the search field at the top of the window. Alternatively, click Command to see more characters by expanding the window. Once you have located the needed character, click it to insert it into your document/text.

The cool thing is, you don’t have to look for the same smileys and characters again next time you want to use them. The symbols you use often, settle in the Frequently Used list.