Using Character Map

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.

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.

Using Character Map

Figure 1 below shows what Character Map looks like. Please note:
Character Map
Figure 1.
To use Character Map:
  1. Run Character Map.
  2. Use the "Font" combo box to select the font. All fonts installed in your system will be listed.
  3. 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:
    1. Use the arrow keys. This will cause the new current character to be enlarged and remain enlarged. See the "µ" in Figure 1.
    2. 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.
    Note that the keystroke or "Alt+number" sequence of the current character will be displayed in the "Keystroke" field in the lower-right corner.
  4. 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.
  5. Click on the "Copy" button to copy the selected characters to the clipboard.
  6. Back in your document, paste the selected characters from the clipboard with the menu command "Edit / Paste (CTRL+V)".
  7. Exit Character Map by clicking on the "Close" button or on the "X" system menu button.

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First uploaded on 2000 January 31.
Last updated on 2016 May 20.

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