Using Alt codes to insert special characters
What are Alt codes?
Alt codes are keyboard combinations, which can be used to type special characters and symbols that are not available on your keyboard. An average keyboard layout displays the most commonly used letters and symbols, but if you want to type other special characters, you may have to look for another way to type them, e.g., using Alt codes.
alt keyAs the name already suggests, the Alt key – on the Mac also called Option key – is a modifier key that changes the result when pressing a regular key.
If you want to type a special character, you "just" hold down the Alt key while typing the corresponding series of numbers of the favored character, i.e. the registered sign ®, has the Alt code 0174. But make sure to have Number Lock enabled – otherwise it will not work.
So, with the help of Alt codes we get a huge extended set of additional characters and symbols, even those which are rather unusal or not often needed. Insert e.g. smilies ☺ or music notes ♬, different currency symbols such as € or ₤, math symbols ÷, ±, or other punctuation like © or ™.
Problem with Alt codes
So, it's amazing to have access to all these special characters. However, even though this sounds awesome, there is a problem anyway. It's a great thing to use all this Alt codes, but before you can use them, you would have to know the numeric code for each special character.
Yes, there are many sites out there offering tables showing the symbols with their number codes. But honestly, would you really want to walk through a table to find an Alt code each time you want to insert a special character?
How can PopChar help me with Alt codes?
So, if you know the numeric codes of all the Alt codes by heart, you wouldn't have a problem. Honestly though, how many Alt codes do you know?
Fortunately there is a solution - PopChar. PopChar is a user-friendly character map that lets you insert all characters and symbols from all installed fonts into your documents - no matter what application you're currently using. There is no need to search for and remember different keyboard combinations or to keep the correct numeric code of Alt codes in mind. All you need to do is open up PopChar and click on the desired character.
PopChar is useful for other things too! You can insert characters for a varity of foreign languages, Unicode, HTML and more, and it is easy and intuitive to use.
PopChar is not only a replacement for using Alt codes on Windows, but it's also available for the Mac. Read more about the Mac version or the Windows version of PopChar here.