Mac Keyboard Viewer and Unicode

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

In macOS, you can type special characters such as { é ƒ © ° }, by holding down the ⌥ option key. To see what characters are available, you can pull the Keyboard Viewer.

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Mac keyboard preference panel. 2017-09-22. Checkbox the “Show Input menu in menu bar”

To start Keyboard Viewer:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click keyboard icon
  3. Select “Input Sources” tab
  4. Click at the botton “Show input menu in menu bar”.
  5. Then, on the input menu at the top right of the menu bar, there's a 〖Show Keyboard Viewer〗 menu. This will show the Keyboard Viewer.
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Mac keyboard menu bar
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Mac keyboard viewer, 2017-09-22
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Mac keyboard viewer, with ⌥ option key held down. 2017-09-22

Those colored orange are prefix keys, allowing you to type accented characters such as {é ü ô}.

International Keyboard Layouts

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Mac keyboard viewer, with ⌥ option key down, US International layout, 2017.
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Mac keyboard viewer, with ⌥ option key down, US extended layout, 2017

Switch the keyboard layout to US Extended if you need lots of accented characters.

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Mac keyboard viewer, with ⌥ option key down, Dvorak layout, 2017

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Mac keyboard viewer, 2017.
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Mac keyboard viewer, Dvorak layout, 2017.
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Mac keyboard viewer, Dvorak layout, ~2006.
mac keyboard viewer
Mac keyboard viewer, Dvorak layout, ~2006.

Define Your Own Keys to Insert Unicode Symbols

You can define keys to insert any Unicode character, such as { 😂 α }.

For how, see: Creating Keyboard Layout in Mac OS X.

For a list of symbols, see: Unicode Characters ☯ ⚡ ∑ ♥ 😄

See also: Apple Keyboards ⌨

back to Keyboard Shortcut and Layout Tutorial

Mac Keyboard/Mouse Topic

  1. Mac: Key Remapping and Keybinding Tools
  2. Mac: Swap Control, Caps Lock, Option, Command Keys
  3. Mac: How to Change Keybinding
  4. Mac Keyboard Viewer and Unicode
  5. Mac: How to Switch to Dvorak Keyboard Layout
  6. Mac: Hover to Switch Window
  7. Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
  8. Apple Keyboards ⌨
  9. Difference Between Apple and PC keyboards