How to Add Special Characters in Mac and Other Tricks

How to Add Special Characters in Mac and Other Tricks

There may be times when you want to insert special characters when writing a report or creating an invoice or in a random conversation on the Mac. macOS supports all types of special characters, but it is hidden in the operating system. Apple has added various arrows, bullets, currency symbols, Latin words, math symbols, punctuation, etc. Even better, macOS also allows you to search for fonts in settings and add them as favorites for easy access.

Add special characters in mac

I mainly use different currency symbols while chatting with clients and writing a budget proposal for them. Students will also appreciate the inclusion of degree signs, degrees Celsius, Fahrenheit and other symbols. Most mathematical symbols are already built into the keyboard. However, the symbol menu goes ahead with the inclusion of special mathematical characters such as subset, increment, full extension, summation, division, etc.

In this article, we will talk about how to add special characters in Mac and other keyboard tips. We will also mention how you can create shortcut words to implement special characters in macOS. It is useful when you use certain characters more frequently. Let’s start.

Use the Edit menu

macOS offers a standard menu bar at the top for all applications. No matter which application you are currently using, the menu at the top, like File, Edit, View, Format, Note, etc., remains standard at the top.

Follow the steps below to add a special character in macOS.

Step 1: Whenever you want to add a special character, you can access the Edit menu.

2nd step: Scroll down to the Emoji and Symbols option. Tap it, and it will open the Emoji and Symbols menu.

Edit menu

Step 3: By default, it will open the Emoji menu. Double tap the emoji icon to add them, and there are two ways to add them for special characters.

Letters and symbols menu

You can either use the bottom menu, which is carefully organized into different emoji menus and character styles. Or even better, you can tap the emoji section in the upper right corner and open the emoji and symbols menu in detail.

It is carefully divided into emoji, arrows, bullets, currency symbols, Latin words, math symbols, etc. I am sure you will find what you are looking for.

Add to favorites

There are hundreds of special characters and symbols. Sometimes it can be difficult for the user to find the perfect symbol they are looking for.

Apple has added a few ways to easily access the most used special characters. From the character viewer, you can display the frequently used menu to see your most used symbols on the Mac. Users can select a symbol and from the side menu they can choose the “Add to Favorites” menu. The option will create a separate Favorites menu on the sidebar as well as in the emoji menu.

Favorites menu

In the character viewer menu, you can simply use the search bar to find the special character you are looking for. It works perfectly. For example, you can just type “Euro” in the search bar and it will come back with the results of the Latin words (Hey, this can be useful if you are learning a new language) as well as the currency Euro and the flags of European nations. I mainly use the search bar because it is fast and efficient compared to juggling a bunch of sections in the character viewer menu.

Search menu

Use keyboard shortcuts

You don’t have to go to Edit> Emoji and Symbols every time to use the menu. You can easily master the keyboard shortcut “Control + Command + Space” to open the Emoji and symbol menu.

The alphabetical keyword keys also work as the perfect way to add special characters on Mac. You can long press the keys like S, E, I, N, etc. to display the context menu with numbers and symbols.

You can also memorize certain keyboard shortcuts to quickly add certain special characters when writing. Here are some examples of these keyboard shortcuts.

Option + R = registered sign (®)

Option + P = Circular symbol (π)

Option + W = summation sign (∑)

Option + G = Copyright symbol (©)

And much more!

Customize keyboard text

I use this one all the time. I have created a text shortcut for some of my most used special characters and symbols.

Open the System Preferences menu on Mac and go to the Keyboard> Text menu. By default, you will see ‘omw’ on On my way! phrasing. You can use the same menu to convert text to a symbol or special character.

Create keyboard shortcuts

Tap the “+” icon below and write the replacement phrase. I added a word “Degree” here and configured the system to replace it with the degree symbol. So next time, every time I want to add the ° symbol, I write the word degree, and the system replaces it with the symbol. You can create as many short sentences to replace them with symbols and special characters.

Keyboard shortcut in action

Also on Guiding Tech

Spice up your writing with special characters

Adding a special character on the Mac is quick and easy. You can always master keyboard shortcuts to add these symbols on the go. My favorite is to create a text shortcut, so as not to interrupt the writing flow.


You can also add special characters when working in Google Docs. Read the post below for how to insert them into Google Docs.

Last updated on June 25, 2020

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