Author Topic: Inserting symbols as code  (Read 3165 times)

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BillB

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Inserting symbols as code
« on: August 23, 2007, 11:39:51 AM »
If you have Microsoft® Windows®, you can look up the code for any printable character.

Open the Character Map from Start > Accessories > System Tools and select the character you want to insert. In the bottom right corner, it displays the 3- or 4-digit code that is the decimal extended ASCII for the selected character. Enter this code any place that displays font characters by holding Alt and typing the digits on the numeric keypad. You can also Select and Copy the code to the clipboard to paste in without using a code æ.

Once you've used some symbols a few dozen times, you'll learn the code such as I have for a bullet (• alt-149) or em dash (– alt-150). I always forget that the ¢ (alt-0162) also exists -- I never understood why they left that character off the US keyboard.

Microsoft® Word® has the same functionality in the Insert > Symbol command, it just works a little differently. If you fight with it, it will show you the ASCII (decimal) code you can use in other applications. And Word will, irritatingly, "Autocorrect" certain entries such as (c) to the ©.

That said, in a portable environment, I always resist using anything that might be even slightly non-standard. If the device or program can't display the symbol, the results may be ugly or even lose some meaning. I've seen virii name their files with non-printable symbols so you can't delete them. If you're confident the symbol is universally available or critical to your needs, be sure you select it from a default font such as Arial, Times, or Normal Text. If you start using characters from Wingdings4 or even Symbol, you run the risk that whoever you send the file to won't be able to properly display it.

©, (c), (r), ÷, å & ™ 2007, BillB
(The item above before the "&" was supposed to be a capital Sigma from the Symbol font.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2007, 12:36:43 PM by BillB »