Sometimes, to work or study, we need specific characters that are not found in the official English layout – the arrow, the mathematical root, the currency symbol, the letters and hieroglyphs of other alphabets, etc. This article will tell you where to find them on a Mac.

Something, by the way, can be done with keyboard shortcuts. For example, in the English-language layout, pressing “Option + Shift + 2” will give you the euro sign: (the sign of official currency of European Union).

To access all special characters, do the following:

How to Quickly Call up Special Characters

  • Open the System settings of your Mac and select the “Keyboard” section;
  • Put on the “Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar” section;
How to Quickly Call Special Characters in macOS?
  • Change menu to “Input Sorces” and put on “Show Input menu in menu bar”;
How to Quickly Call Special Characters in macOS?
  • In the status menu, click on the small flag (American). Two new lines appear – “Show Keyboard and emoji in menu bar”.
How to Quickly Call Special Characters in macOS?

Keyboard Panel

By clicking on this inscription appears virtual keyboard. Press any of the “Option” keys – and wonder how many special characters you can type on it! Below is the usual layout, and then it is the same, but with the clamped Option (Alt)” key pressed.

Read more: Tricks with Window Full-Screen Mode in macOS

You can clamp several optional keys at once. Here, for example, are additional English keyboard options obtained using the “Option (Alt) + Shift” combination:

How to Quickly Call Special Characters in macOS?

Symbols panel

All the Unicode special characters are collected here. Initially, the panel displays ten items – Arrows, Brackets, Punctuation, Currency Symbols (including the ruble icon), Icons, Icons / Stars, Mathematical Symbols, Letter Symbols, Emoji and Latin. Various font options are available, and similar characters are displayed. Special characters used at least once fall into the “Used section”.

You can add new collections – to do this, click on the “gear” in the upper left corner of the window and select the Configure list item … There are many options here, from the euro sign and aviation alphabet to ancient written systems and code tables.


Keyboard in macOS is not only the input of numbers and letters. With it, you can quickly insert into the text of various kinds of special characters, which are international definitions of a concept: it can be a sign of a common currency, a mathematical symbol or a trade designation.

Unfortunately, the characters behind each key are not reflected on the keyboards (this is partly because the displayed value changes depending on the layout).

It’s the best time to ask questions and give us your feedback in comments.


Hi there! My Name is Vincent Lago! My goal is to share insightful reviews, guides, and manuals for people looking to know more about current solutions for Apple hardware and OS. I have years of technological background knowledge including owning a custom iMacs & PCs which was using for different types of business. And now, I want to share my experience with you.


  1. Nice article Vincent. Have been using Mac from a couple of years but never knew this. Also, I actually never had requirement for special character, until today; and you saved my day.


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