'D' for Design 'T' for Typography

Using the Mac Keyboard Viewer

There’s a nice tutorial over at Suffix.Abuse about using glyphs. Many fonts have alternate versions of letters that you can use for a more decorative look, and you can access them in Illustrator and InDesign through the glyphs menu.

For those of you on a Mac, the Keyboard Viewer is another helpful way to get the most out of your fonts.

Bring up your System Preferences (found in the Applications folder), and click on “International”.

Next, check the box for the Keyboard Viewer (under the Input Menu tab). You may want the Character Palette as well. Scroll down a bit and choose your language/country too.

You can close your System Preferences now. You should see a new icon in the top right of your screen, in the Finder’s Input Menu (don’t worry… I didn’t know it had a name either). Click and hold on the icon and select “Show Keyboard Viewer”.

A little keyboard will show up on your screen, and it responds to any key you press. Then you can choose a specific font off the Font Menu.

Now you can look for that fancy ‘d’, the ‘y’ with the big flourish, or just find the copyright symbol (hint: it’s option + g).

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  • Laura J.
    November 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Do you know how much I love you right now? :) I have always wondered how to access all those cool little symbols and you ‘splained it for me so well! I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • erin Ruge
    November 4, 2007 at 10:43 am

    that is amazingly helpful. thanks!

  • Anonymous
    November 5, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Thank you! I’ve been wondering where that old utilities/preferences thing called “Keyboard” had been since OS moved to Tiger/Panther/Leopard….

  • People St.Clair
    November 5, 2007 at 9:55 am

    ooo thank you!

  • janet
    November 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    brilliant! thank you so much for this tip

  • Janet
    November 20, 2007 at 8:48 am

    You can also access these special characters, called glyphs, in InDesign. In an open document, go to the “type” menu at the top of the screen and select the “glyphs” option. A new palette will open. You can dock it or leave it open and you can select your font from a drop down menu at the lower left. To select a glyph to use, place your cursor in a type box and double click on the symbol you want in the glyphs palette.

  • Jodie
    January 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I just now found this post. You are my instructor from now on. I have had a mac since 2006 and just learned this 2/14/11. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!