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Friday, July 22, 2011

Using Extended Character Sets in Windows

Windows includes a handy utility for previewing, selecting and transferring special characters to most applications that support pasting from the Windows clipboard. This is the accessory called Character Map. If it has been installed it is usually found in the Accessories list under your Start Menu (Start, Programs, Accessories, Character Map.)

[caption id="attachment_359" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Character Map tool in Windows XP"]Character Map tool[/caption]

Using the Character Map accessory: Select the same font you are using in your other Windows application from the pull-down list. If you do not find the symbol you are looking for as part of the font table, you may need to select a different font and change to that to display or print the desired symbol. Different fonts will have different character sets and symbols in their tables. Clicking once on a character displays a larger view of the symbol. The status line at the bottom shows the description and the keystrokes necessary to create the symbol within your application.

Double-clicking on a symbol copies it to the box at the bottom of the window. You can also click on the "Select" button after clicking once on the symbol. Once you have all of the characters listed in the copy box, click the "Copy" button to transfer them to the Windows clipboard. You can then use "Paste" from your file menu to insert them into your application.

Using the ALT key: At the bottom right corner of the window is information for inserting the character from the keyboard. In this example, you would press and hold the ALT key, then enter four numbers - 0,1,7 and 4 from the number pad (not the regular keys above the "qwerty" row). Once you have entered the four digit number, release the ALT key. If this is blank, you must use cut & paste.

[caption id="attachment_360" align="aligncenter" width="77" caption="The complete Times New Roman character set map."]character set map[/caption]

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