How can I type in special characters not available on my keyboard when I type into annotations or form fields?

Select a special character from a screen

Most operating systems provide a small dialog where users can visually select characters from. This is the most user-friendly way to select special characters.

In Microsoft Windows

MS Windows has provided a Unicode version of the Character Map program.  Open Character Map by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Character Map, and then, in the list of results, click Character Map.

In Mac OS X

Mac OS X provides a “character palette” with much the same functionality, along with searching by related characters, glyph tables in a font, etc. It can be enabled in the input menu in the menu bar under System Preferences → International → Input Menu (or System Preferences → Language and Text → Input Sources) or can be viewed under Edit → Special Characters… while Finder is in the foreground.

In Linux and Unix

Equivalent tools – such as gucharmap (GNOME) or kcharselect (KDE) – exist on most Linux desktop environments.

Type-in a special character using hexadecimal code input

In Microsoft Windows

Unicode characters can be entered by holding down Alt, pressing the + on the numeric keypad, followed by the hex code – using the numeric keypad for digits from 0 to 9 and letter keys for A to F digits – and then releasing Alt.

  1. Press and hold down the Alt key.
  2. Press the + (plus) key on the numeric keypad.
  3. Type the hexidecimal unicode value (0233 for é)
  4. Release the Alt key

See list of common unicode characters below.

In Mac OS X

Holding down the Option, one then types the four-digit hex Unicode code point and the equivalent character appears. One can then release the Option key.

See list of common unicode characters below.

Common Unicode Characters

  • Letters with Accents – (e.g. ó, ò, ñ)
  • Other Foreign Characters – (e.g. ç, ¿, ß)
  • Currency Symbols – (e.g. ¢, £, ¥)
  • Math Symbols – (e.g. ±, °, ÷)
  • Other Punctuation – (e.g. &, ©, §)