With the Character Map Windows application, you can:
Character Map would be the prefered approach for individual special characters for single words or phrases. For iconic and other very special fonts, such as WingDings, Character Map may be the only practical method to use.
- View all the characters of any font installed on your system.
- For any individual character in the font, Character Map displays its keystroke. That keystroke will either be the actual key to be pressed or an "Alt+number" sequence for inputting the character through the numeric keypad.
- You can select and copy any group of characters to the clipboard to paste into your document.
Character Map is available in all versions of Windows from Windows 3.x up to Windows 10. It is not available in MS-DOS.
Finding Character Map can sometimes be a problem. Although Character Map is provided with Windows, I have seen a few inconsistencies in where its shortcut icon is displayed, or even whether it is displayed at all. In Windows 95/98, it is usually in the Start Menu under "Programs/Accessories," but I have also found it under "Programs/Accessories/System Tools." In Windows 3.1, it is usually in the Accessories group. Sometimes its shortcut icon cannot be found anywhere; indeed, one complaint I've found on-line is that Windows 10 does not display that icon.
If you cannot find the shortcut/icon for Character Map, then simply use the Run dialog to run it. The program's file name is CHARMAP.EXE, so enter charmap in the Run dialog and run it. You could even run it from the "DOS" Command Prompt window by typing charmap on the command line and pressing Enter. Actually, this is the preferred way to run it.
If you still really need an icon, then you should be able to find the program in the Windows directory by the name "CHARMAP.EXE" and create a shortcut to it.
Figure 1 below shows what Character Map looks like. Please note:
- The "
Font" combo box for selecting the font to view.
- The "
Characters to copy" edit box for containing the characters you have selected to copy to the clipboard.
- The "
Close" button to exit Character Map.
- The "
Select" button to place a character into the "
Characters to copy" edit box.
- The "
Copy" button to copy the selected characters into the clipboard. It is currently disabled because no characters have been selected.
- The "
Keystroke" field in the lower-right corner. This displays the keystroke for the current character or, if no keystroke exists, its "Alt+number" sequence for inputting the character through the numeric keypad. Note that in Figure 1 the current character is the "µ" and that its "Alt+number" sequence is "Alt+0181".
- When you move to or click on a character, it becomes the current character and it is enlarged four-fold. If it had been clicked, when you release the mouse button the current character returns to normal size but remains highlighted (not shown).To use Character Map:
- Run Character Map.
- Use the "
Font" combo box to select the font. All fonts installed in your system will be listed.
- When the program starts, the first character (upper-left-most) will be highlighted as the current character. Navigating through the character list can be done in two ways:
Note that the keystroke or "Alt+number" sequence of the current character will be displayed in the "
- Use the arrow keys. This will cause the new current character to be enlarged and remain enlarged. See the "µ" in Figure 1.
- Left-click on the desired character. This will cause it to be enlarged for as long as the mouse button is depressed. When you release the mouse button, the character will return to normal size and be highlighted.
Keystroke" field in the lower-right corner.
- Select the current character for copying by clicking on the "
Select" button. The selected character will appear in the "
Characters to copy" edit box. Select another character and it will join the first in the edit box.
- Click on the "
Copy" button to copy the selected characters to the clipboard.
- Back in your document, paste the selected characters from the clipboard with the menu command "Edit / Paste (CTRL+V)".
- Exit Character Map by clicking on the "
Close" button or on the "X" system menu button.
Return to DWise1's Foreign and Special Characters in Word Processing Page
First uploaded on 2000 January 31.
Last updated on 2016 May 20.