graphicpush

Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Quick Access to Character Map

The Character Map is a utility includes things like special dashes, copyright symbols, wingdings and variations on certain characters. Learn how to place it directly in your toolbar for quick access.

In Windows, Microsoft provides a great tool that allows access to all a font’s special characters that don’t appear on the keyboard. Called the Character Map, the utility includes things like special dashes, copyright symbols, wingdings and variations on certain characters. (It is especially useful for getting some funky bullets.) In all versions of Windows, it is available through Start > Accessories > System Tools.

Instead of constantly opening this palette manually, PowerPoint allows the user quick access by inserting a special button in any toolbar. Unfortunately, this button is not set up in the default configuration. To get it, go to Tools > Customize > Commands. In the “Categories” window on the left side, click “Insert.” On the right side in the “Commands” window, scroll down to “Symbol,” which is represented by an upside-down horseshoe (also known as the Omega symbol), and drag the icon into any toolbar you wish.

Insert Character Map

Clicking on this new icon will bring up a small window with all the characters in the current font. You can select a font from the dropdown menu on the left, and to insert a character, simply select it in the main window and click “Insert.” Try to keep your selections constrained to typical Windows fonts (Verdana, Arial, Trebuchet, Times New Roman, etc.) in case you have to move your presentation between computers. Each font maps its special characters differently, so one typeface’s triangle bullet will be another’s ampersand.