Reference for EVERY Character Key on a Mac

GoSquared reference PDFs for Mac OS X character keys. Free reference sheets to download from GoSquared

Ever wanted to type the copyright icon, or do an accent over an A without having to resort to some character palette? We have, and it takes time and is an effort. So we put together a series of help sheets that reference all of the characters that aren’t listed on your keyboard, along with their shortcut keys to make your life easier.

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Click on a preview image to view a full jpg.

Note: The “Alt” key on these sheets is the same as the “Option” key as some users may put it.

Download the full set

PDF Get them all in one PDF (216KB)

The Individual Sheets

There were so many, that to make the reference usable and readable we had to divide them into 3 sheets.

Glyphs set 1

PDF Get the PDF (128KB)

Glyphs set 2

PDF Get the PDF (116KB)

Last but not least, one more sheet.

Glyphs set 3

PDF Get the PDF (112KB)

We hope you find them useful.

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  • Gernouille

    It’s not the same on a French Canadien QWERTY keyboard 🙁

  • Kudos!

    Finding these little glyphs is always a drag – even using pre-loaded Mac apps. We usually have to default to using Type -> Glyphs in InDesign.

    Just saved us a ton of time from having to make these sheets ourselves -albeit, we would’ve taken a much more non-pretty route.

  • Vincent

    Oh! not available for AZERTY keyboard version. 🙁

  • [option] + [L] gives me an @ — I’m using a QWERTZ keyboard… (Germany)

  • Thanks so much for doing this. There’s still a mysterious glyph I wasn’t able to find on your chart . Scholastic made it a part of a user name/password to access a video we made on the Knight bus.
    You have something very close on your glyph chart – ËœO (doesn’t quite come on top for me). The one I need though, has the little squigly line ON BOTTOM! Can you help?

  • George

    Should not that be DIPHTHONGS not dipthongs?


  • George

    iN THE LAST SHEET YOU REFER TO EPSILON and the letter is actually the Greek capital Sigma …. please correct this – it is truly important


  • frank gamble

    very slick! thanks.

  • Guy

    Thank you

  • Thank you!

    I have a mini binder dedicated to holding the reference pdf print outs I find on the web. This makes a great addition to my new mac laptop.

    Keep up the great work!


  • Julian Hebbrecht

    When I type these characters in an email message on a Mac and send the message to a Windows user or someone with a different language keyboard what will come up at the other end? The same character?? Or some thing toatally different??
    So these characteres are probably only to be used when printing out your text – not for email.

  • What about a broken pipe? I have a Filemaker Database that requires this for a password on a PC and I have not figured out how to enter it on the Mac.

  • Marco


    Thanks for this clutch reference, but there’s a problem with the all-in-one PDF. Namely, a 404 problem…

  • JOnn

    Apple is sooo cool and easy they do not ship a manual with their sweet computers. Amoongst these.

  • Doesn’t work on german Keyboards … 🙁
    Where is the “tilde”-sign? I’m still searching …

  • The tradition on the Mac is to refer to the key as Option, not Alt.

    And George is right, that’s a capital sigma, not an epsilon. See

  • Love this list.
    One thing I noticed, though. You say:

    Shift + Alt + 2 = â„¢ (trademark)
    Shift + 2 = € (the Euro symbol)

    When I tried them, however, they were reversed.


  • King Henry

    Should not George (see posts from 8/7/07)
    pull something from out his royal arse?
    This is not a commercial product, and a Utility is intended to be something “of use.”
    Similarly, if a Comment is to be helpful, it might point out how to amend or fix the original in a constructive manner. Not by degrading the author of the utility’s smarts.

    It’s a dandy, and a useful reference.

    -the 8th

  • King Henry

    Posting 2 negative comments within the space of as many minutes is also a no-no.

    But…maybe a Greek with a dipthong kicked George’s dog.

  • Thanks..

  • michael

    I use the “character palette” in the international menu… but still haven’t find the square root… as an architect is always usefull… and m2 is really not very aesthetical?

  • Eliakim

    What’s with the “alt” key?? I’m looking on my several different Macintosh computers and I have no “Alt” key at all. What I do have is an “Apple” or “Command” key, right next to the space-bar. If that’s what you’re talking about and this is something for Macintosh people, then this sheet should have the keyboard combinations that match the keyboards of “Macintosh keyboards”…

  • Soda Pop

    “Um, my Mac doesn’t have an ALT key….” not very helpful to some.

  • Thanks for your feedback. The reference is for English keyboards only. Naturally keyboards designed for other languages that use other sybols, for example, the umlaut in German, will not have the same key combinations.

    As for the incorrect entries, these should be amended to the correct key combinations as soon as our designer returns from his holiday 🙂

  • Thanks so much!

    One addition: the alt/option-shift-8 for the degrees symbol works, but so does option-0, which is shorter.

  • g

    option-shift-? = Spanish inverted question mark

  • Wow, this is awesome – thank you!

  • Karoly

    First, many thanks for this valuable resource. My mother tongue, Hungarian, has these “double-acute” wovels that are a variations of ó and ú. I’d be curious to see if those are also possible with some key combinations. I had a FF add-on, but it stopped working for some reason.

  • There is no such thing as an Alt key on a Mac! It is the Option key! Dude, get on the trolley! And you call yourself a Mac user.

    Anyhow, what you really need to do is teach people how to use the Keyboard Viewer and Character Pallet. The easiest way to keep them handy is:

    Go to System Preferences
    Open the International preference pane
    Check “Show input menu in menu bar”

    This installs a new menu extra, with an option to Show Keyboard Viewer. Hold down Option or Option-Shift to see all the cool keys you have instant access to.

    The Character Pallet gets you access to all of the tens of thousands (especially if you’ve installed lots of international fonts) of obscure symbols you probably had no idea you could easily use.

  • OK this blog is lame. It won’t translate my returns to HTML newlines, and it filters out all my HTML tags. You deserve to have worthless, illegible comments on your site.

  • lfkrebs

    Thanks so much, this is very helpful. Here’s an addition to the next revision I’d like to suggest: the Spanish inverted question mark, which should be Shift + Alt + /. Moreover, there is a typo on the last page: the florin sign is also used for pounds sterling. Instead, it should be this:

    Thanks again for this useful cheat sheet!

  • Jake

    @Aaron: On a german keyboard, use alt-n to get a tilde-character.

  • Good work! One small typo: the symbol for Pound Sterling (usually called just Pounds) is £ but in the sheets it’s listed the same as Florin.

    (There’s no preview but hopefully above character entity will work for £)

  • I don’t see anything in there for » and « characters… I believe the keys are apple + shift + ] and apple + ] respectively.

  • @ Matthew FEdder: Is that better? 🙂

  • Aaron

    This looks great.
    I did notice that in the mathematical symbols you have the sigma ∑ listed as an epsilon E

  • Jason M

    Alt key on a Mac…

    Go visit the Apple site… see the enlarged image of the new Mac keyboard… there it is.

    Find an archive of Mac keyboards the last few years Alt keys have appeared on certain keyboards made by apple.

    Since the original iMac I’ve seen them…

    So please don’t whine.

  • Fish

    Thank you for generously making available something so useful to so many of us.

    My apologies for the unpleasant remarks from a few, you do not deserve any of it.

  • Boatswilly

    Thank you so very much. This will help my writing of articles for the groups on the Internet.

  • Boatswilly

    In most cases, the Alt key is also the option key.

  • Robert M.

    This is a great tool. I have found one omission though (how does one find an omission?). I see a reference to an acute accent –´ (opt., shift, e) but not a double acute accent — ˝ (opt., shift, g). Still, this will be very useful.

  • Chris

    Nice PDF.

    alt == option-shift

    Shift-alt is redundant. Alt without shift should be changed to option, if one wanted to be proper. Still a damn useful PDF.

  • System Preferences > International > Input Menu tab. Click check boxes for Character Palette and Keyboard Viewer. Select your keyboard layout from the countries shown. Click check box for “Show input menu in menu bar.” Character Palette and Keyboard Viewer are now available under your country flag icon in your menu bar. Press Option or Option-Shift to see symbols. Click to insert in your document. Common fractions are available under Character Palette > Digits. And square root is found in Character Palette > Math. √ Along with many others. 🙂

  • chppio

    This is very handy. Thanks for providing it!

  • Your listing isn’t just for “English” keyboards, of which there are at least two that are distributed to at least six different countries. (Quick: What keyboard does New Zealand use? Ireland?)

    The “Alt” key is the Option key. Alt was printed on keycaps for us in e.g. VirtualPC. The Macintosh keystroke is Option, not Alt.

    It is superfluous to suggest, as this page does, that you need a cheat sheet to type accented letters. On the U.S. English keyboard (misleadingly named; see ¶1), acute, grave, circumflex, dieresis, and tilde all follow predictable patterns, namely (Shift-)Option-e ` i u n, respectively. Trivial to learn, easy to type (I’ve been doing it for over 20 years).

  • Massimo

    Buddy, thank you.
    I am afraid I fail to see the value of this, however.
    Bringing up “Show Keyboard Viewer” from the keyboard menu allows all and sundry to find what they want.
    If they want something real exotic, then only PopChar will do.

  • Thorir Bjornsson

    Very useful. Being an Icelander, I don’t see “thorn”!


  • Cíntia

    Thanks a lot!
    Just today i was trying to type some characters that don’t appear on my mac keyboard.

    Do you ever sleep?

    Best regards my dear friend.

  • Very useful! I will link to you on my blog.

  • Ian

    Matthew FEdder said,

    August 23, 2007 @ 7:16 am

    There is no such thing as an Alt key on a Mac! It is the Option key! Dude, get on the trolley! And you call yourself a Mac user.

    So how come on my white wireless 3 year old mac keyboard, there is no option key, only an Alt key?

    Next to the apple and noughts and crosses key…

  • Rick

    Great tool! Thanks for posting it!

  • That is great! Going to save me a load of time over the year. Thanks for all your hard work, which is going to make work a little easier.

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  • Gabriel

    Julian Hebbrecht said,
    August 18, 2007 @ 12:24 am
    When I type these characters in an email message on a Mac and send the message to a Windows user or someone with a different language keyboard what will come up at the other end? The same character?? Or some thing toatally different??
    So these characteres are probably only to be used when printing out your text – not for email.

    Actually most if not all of the characters generated by the Mac keyboard are ISO Latin-1 characters, and therefore a subset of Unicode, and therefore will display perfectly well on Windows and other systems–although they will need to be entered quite differently (there’s nothing nearly as nice on the Win machine I use at work). So long as your email client is able to send non-ascii characters, you don’t need to worry about these characters being borked by email or anything else.

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  • Allen Watson

    If you enable the Character Palette (via the International System Prefs), you can find any character by its name just by typing the name at the bottom in the search box. E.g. “square root”, “thorn”, or “vertical” (to find variants of the “pipe” character).

    A few people asked about using special characters in mail. It will work for sending to other Macs, but will get corrupted if sent to Windows, as Windows uses different character coding above the standard ASCII 128. It will also not display correctly on Windows if used in web pages. But for web pages, you can get a freeware program that will translate the special characters into HTML Entities, which display correctly on both operating systems.

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  • This is great! Thanks!

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  • crasshopper

    Thank you!

  • Just have become the owner of an Intel iMac, and this helps a lot, thank you so much.
    Now I’m still looking for the so often needed Home and End keys that go so nicely with the well known 102 keys keyboard.

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  • Thanks guys – this is a really useful resource and has just gained a proud place on my omnipresent USB key!

    As for the alt-key kerfuffle – never expect any good deed to go unpunished :/ All my macs have it anyway.

    Just don’t hit the apple key instead, particularly when typing Å“ at the end of a huge great wiki edit like I did the other day!

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  • jr0

    Thanks. I can use NeoOffice again, now that I can easily get an em dash out of it. (Why can’t it replace — with — anyway?)

  • Hello, very nice site, keep up good job!
    Admin good, very good.

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  • Nonym

    Thanks, it’s very useful!

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  • G.Rafics

    Thank you very much! These are a life saver.

    “Real” Mac people know that the alt key and the option key are the same. If you use a Mac mini with a PC keyboard, this is a necessity. Those using KVM switches know this too. Apple has included both Alt and Option on the keyboard for over a decade. They even have a Help file for Windows switchers that identifies the keys.

    Sorry that you were flamed, don’t let that keep you from posting helpful articles. Ignore the trolls.

  • pressgang

    Any idea what the key stroke combination for unicode 0142 is? I can get indesign to type the right glyph (and “l” with a bar through it at a slight slant) hence I’ve got the unicode ref. But I’m trying to type this in Quark.


  • pressgang

    Hey! I’ve just found a glyphs file in Quark!! Hooray…. But seriously, thanks for providing us with ‘most’ of the keystroke combinations that you’d ever need on a mac in the UK!!! Marvellous stuff.

  • EvilPlatypus

    Thank you ever so much!

    Apple had to choose the weirdest key combinations possible and it’s really horrid to have to try several combinations just to type one letter; this will save me a ton of time!

  • Dave

    Um…. No cheat sheets needed.Just go up to your menu bar and open the Keyboard Viewer.

    “Huh?” you say?

    Setting it up….

    Goto System Preferences, International. Select the Input Menu tab. Check the checkbox labeled “Show Input Menu in Menu Bar”. Now you should have a little flag on your menu bar.

    Using. Go to the flag and select Show Keyboard Viewer. You will get a keyboard palette. Now press the option (alt) key and option-shft to see the alternate characters on the keyboard. You can even click the keyboard to enter those key strokes.

    And for those of you who want even more, look at the Show Character Palette unfer the flag menu. Unicode? No problem. It’s all in there.

    Hope this helps.

  • Hans

    Thnx a mile. In Dutch we use a lot of ë, ï, ö which are a pain when using insert symbol. Now with alt U readily available.

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  • Lance E Sloan

    What about these on a U.S. English keyboard:

    Shift-Option-; 2 => ƨ

    Shift-Option-; 3 => É›

    I don’t know what they are for, but I just noticed them today.

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  • theJingster

    i’ve been trying to find this for a while but there has been an occasion here and there where i need to enter the command key. you know, the one with the propellor/knot/fan/etc. i can find it in the character palette but i was wondering if there was a keyboard shortcut.

    also, 10.5 allows the user to create their own keyboard shortcuts. is there a way to create a keyboard shortcut for special characters?

    on a third note, how does one enter a unicode combination to insert a special character?


  • RD

    The Pounds Sterling character key combo is correct on your chart. However, the symbol you displayed on the chart is incorrect You show a ‘florin’ instead of the ‘Pound’ symbol.

    Other than that, it’s great!

  • Sure wish you had a version of this for PCs. I’m having a hard time getting the “greater than or equal to” sign into a Quark 6.1 document and Character Map is no help. If anyone knows of a similar resource, please share.

  • Hi echo, better late than never.. but, do you know if there is an open question sign like the one used in spanish? You’ve included the open exclamation mark and i dont find the other one :S
    many thanks in advance 🙂

  • JT

    Hi mariano, I’m one of the guys here at liquidicty who doesn’t regularly use a mac, but I believe the shortcut you need is Shift + Option + /

    And Karen, yeah, I think it would be a good idea for a PC version as well. We were originally going to do one to go along with this at the same time, but we appear to have forgotten…

  • Drew

    A shout out to the Liquidcity team: THANKS!! This is very cool AND very helpful.

    Can I make a suggestion? I don’t know how to do this and I suspect other’s don’t either. So maybe useful addition to the bottom of the reference sheet would be a quick explanation on how to make your own keyboard short cuts for these characters.

    For instance, I’d like to be able to figure out how to short-cut-ize the interrobang. I can find it on the character palette easily enough, but a shortcut would be cool.

    Again, many MANY thanks for a great help. Does it get any cooler than that‽

  • daza

    Hi,great info but im looking for a P with a circle round it. Like the © it is a copyright symbol,but for artwork, does anyone know where it is please

  • evil_milk

    This is nice, the alt option thing is easy to overlook- my daughter is trying to communicate with spanish speaking (typing) players on warcraft- very handy for her.

    House Industry printed a mac and pc version of this on their instruction for installing their fonts maybe 15 years ago… If anyone has any interest, I’d be happy to scan mine and send it to you or posted somewhere.

  • d

    How do you make a heart?

  • dan

    Have a look at Keyboard Viewer!

  • whatnoaltkey

    I have an 8 year old iMac, a 1 year old Macbook and a one of the new metal ultra slim keyboards and all of mine have an alt key. Those who suggest ‘getting on the trolley’ are evidently off theirs….

    Thanks for the useful character chart.

  • G

    @WhatNoAltKey exactly. I am the same – I have an old black “Pro” Apple Keyboard from an early G4 PowerMac and a new slim Apple Keyboard like you, as well as a G4 PowerBook- and all say Alt. What could be more clear than that eh?

    Glad you like it!

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  • George

    You have truly answered an almost lifetime dream of mine today. Thank you so many times.


  • Peter

    I am trying to access the euro symbol. When I type alt and 2 I get the TM symbol and when shift + alt + 2 I get a short cut to desktop. Any ideas?

  • Peter – i know you asked the question a week ago, but just in case you are still scratching your head!! I think you will find you have the caps key on.With the caps on you press alt 2/@ you get ….â„¢ Without caps you get €
    Just to say the pdf here for all the symbols etc is BRILLIANT! Thank you guys

  • Kop

    Just so you know, the “Epsilon” in sheet two is actually a capital Sigma. You should also make a note that on US keyboards at least, the Pound sign £ is alt-3, while the hash is shift-3. Other than that, great stuff!

  • Ah good point thanks Kop. We’ll update these character references one of these days and make changes as soon as we can.


  • Dan

    Very useful thanks! found what i needed in 5 secs.

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  • Thanks!,

  • When it comes to option vs. alt, I do not think I have seen the word “option” written on that key anywhere outside the US. I’m currently typing on an “international English” keyboard and it only says “alt”, and my French keyboard says “alt” as well. I have typed on German and Swedish mac keyboards in the past, and I do not recall them saying “option” either.

    Calling it the “alt” key makes much more sense, as it is understood by everyone.

  • terith

    Thanks for this reference, great job categorizing, too. Cranky people, check your keyboards: Mac option keys say alt, too, on Mac laptops and standalone keyboards.

  • That is so amazing fo me! Thankms!

  • MacSoap

    why didn’t you make it formatted as 8.5″ x 11″?
    instead you made it 8.33″ x 12.5″. the printing got all screwed up because of that. otherwise its good

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  • Mark

    Thank you!!!!!
    May you bear many children

  • Thank you for this resource! I have been looking for an all-in-one chart like this for a little while. This is extremely helpful in that it’s complete and well designed. Kudos.

  • David

    Thank you! This will become a useful reference for my Macbook.

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  • Very handy. All I have to do is print this off and tape it to the wall. hehe!

  • Gene

    Thank you!

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  • just use keyboard preferences. It’s way easier unless you need to type some of these glyphs daily. nice work though.

  • Elizabeth

    How do you type in the COMMAND icon?

  • I found out that on a Mac, that {alt 2} is the TradeMarkâ„¢ symbol and {shift alt 2} is the Euro sign€. The PDF page starts with this title “Mac Glyphs: Ligatures, Mathematics, Money, Question Marks, and more… ”

    Shadolen White

  • Thanks so much for this, still getting used to having a Mac shortcuts after many years as a PC user (loved all my PC shortcuts, sniff). Because I am in Panama I got a Mac with a Spanish keyboard, but by changing the language to English I am able to carry on typing the way I’m used to (as long as I don’t look at the keyboard, there’s no confusion…the ñ key is a semi-colon and all is right with the world). By having my keyboard set to English I’m able to use all your shortcuts perfectly ( ¿ ñ Ø – as you can see…)

  • Hi Jessica, thanks very much! That’s fantastic to hear 😀 We really appreciate you taking the time to comment, give your feedback, and showing off your skills!

  • Shawn

    How about the @ symbol…? It’s missing from your list. Thanks! (We just installed a new German keyboard – we are accustomed to the English American keyboard style – and can’t figure out how to type it using the keys that are available (it’s on the G key).)

  • Ryan Moore

    The good people at GoSquared have taken the time to put together something useful, something that can benefit the community and make life just that teensy bit easier for everybody. So how does the community respond? By nit-picking over whether it’s “Alt” or “Option”, what characters are what, etc.

    There is a proper term for people who exhibit such behaviour — they’re called assholes.

    I’m happy just to be able to thank GoSquared for all their work, I’ve downloaded every single cheat sheet on this site and I love them all! So thanks guys!!

    P.S. Can you please do a PC one?

  • Hi Ryan!

    Geoff and I were just chatting about the lack of gratitude that seems to be expressed on the web lately, especially in relation to the free content that we and others give away on a regular basis.

    People seem to forget that content is being given away for *free* left, right, and centre, and act as if they’re paying good money for the privilege to shout the kind of criticism that they do. You’re right – people like that are ass holes.

    So I say to Ryan, and to everyone who has commented positively on this and any other article on GoSquared – Thank You. You’re the guys and girls who keep us doing what we do.


  • eir

    cool! now i know how to triforce!
    ∆ ∆

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  • jmgregory

    I’m getting 404’d on the PDF links now. Are the PDFs still around? Thanks.

  • Whoops, looks like when we switched a couple of things around the other day we didn’t update the links on this post. We’ll sort it shortly!

    Thanks for the heads up 😉

  • All links updated and should work as expected now. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  • Marcie

    I am importing an Xtag document created on a PC into a Mac file. The accent keys do not translate correctly. Does anyone know an easy way to fix this and/or have a chart which shows what the characters SHOULD be once imported?

  • nikola

    What I really miss all the time (and IT IS NOT mentioned in shhets) is this symbol (like vertical dash): |

    Anyone know how to type it? I’ve tried many key combos but nothing….

    | | | |

  • Wonderful guide! However its not quite working for me as listed on the things I wanted. I have a new iMac. Not sure if that makes a dif. (jan 2011) When I try to get the o or the i with the 2 dots over it i get these when I do as it says. ( Alt U O ) ¨ø ¨ˆ

    I hold down Alt then U then O … correct? Am I doing it wrong?


  • Finally figured it out. I just needed cleared instructions for my non mac keyboard. Another site had them. Hold Alt and U down at same time, RELEASE, the hit the vowel you want with the accent. Awesome!

  • chung-deh tien

    Thank you for the chart! its great!

  • Leah

    For THEJINGSTER, comment #69
    (and anyone else who may be searching for this answer)

    I’ve been trying to find this for a while as well, I wanted to know if there was a way to create my own keyboard shortcut for a special symbol or character for like the heart symbol. As far as I know, there’s no way with the command or alt key. However, in Snow Leopard, there’s something you can do with text substitutions. To learn how, go here:

    also, 10.5 allows the user to create their own keyboard shortcuts. is there a way to create a keyboard shortcut for special characters?

    on a third note, how does one enter a unicode combination to insert a special character?


  • steve pencz

    Apple does not give good service to Hungarians, since don’t have a proper keyboard setting for Hungarian language. Battling with with phone calls and emails for more than a year. Especially when the special characters already there just have to switch the letter Y and Z with each other. That is all !!! Yet you refuse to do that. For a programmer 2 minutes job. For other nationalities have it like Croats, Slovaks and so on. I just do not get it ???!!! I call upon all Hungarians who I know here and people of Hungary to boycott Mac products.

  • Meghan

    Hello, I know this post is many years old (still very helpful though, thank you!) but I am hoping someone might be able to tell me how I can get the little 2 for MC (squared). I’m on a Mac, don’t see any option for “option/alt” and a key, or set of keys to create this; haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Thank you!

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  • Theo van der Ster

    Wonderful. The only keys I’m missing are the modifier keys. So, if anyone knows the shortcuts for ⇧ ⌥ and ⌘ I’d be very grateful.

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  • Max

    is there a shortcut to get an arrow (up, left, right or down) printed on screen ?
    Thank you

  • Hi there

    This is the best article I read now for finding glyphs. Thank you!
    For finding them easily under mac OSX watch out this tutorial also:

    Have Fun!

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  • Great work. I really find this pdf useful and often refer to it.

  • Luis

    Nice reference. You may want to add “Open question mark ¿” (used in Spanish) which you get by pressing shift option ?

  • Fengyuan

    Very useful.

  • Transmixer

    Thank you so much!
    However, there seems to be a little mistake: ™ and € should be exchanged in the all-in-one PDF which I downloaded, so far as I see on my Air.
    Great work though!

  • Cass

    Awesome work. After switching over from PC a couple of years ago, the only thing I ever missed were the keyboard shortcuts. Now there is absolutely nothing that doesn’t work better with mac!!
    Cheers and Thank You,