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Accessing special characters

Posted on 2013-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-05-15
I the past, if you wanted to produce a special character; like a Degree sign, or a musical note mathematical symbols you used the Alt key in combination with a number.

An up arrow was Alt-18; a down arrow was 19, a left arrow was 1B.  But that doesn't seem to work any more.

How do I produce those special characters now?
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Question by:mikecox_
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39158729
What application?  In Word and Excel, I just Insert Symbol and pick it. It works well for these two applications.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39158751
The Alt method only works for one character set.  But with fonts with different characters, that won't work with all of them.  Go to Program -> Accessories and bring up Character Map.  You select the font you are using and then the character and then you can put it in the document that you are working on.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 1300 total points
ID: 39158773
Hi Mike,
Still works here in W7 for the ANSI and OEM character sets. Keep in mind that you must use the numbers on the numeric keypad, not the ones on the top row of the keyboard. The list of extended codes (decimal 128-255) for the ANSI character set is in the attached PDF. Regards, Joe
ANSI-characters-128-255.pdf
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Author Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39158901
David, that option isn't listed
Accessories.jpg
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Author Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39158903
Joe,

My laptop doesn't have a keypad.

Your list doesn't appear to be complete; no arrow characters for example, and the Hex codes on my list are very low.

My list is very old, I've had it since the days of DOS! When the Alt-n option worked in any document.
ASCII.jpg
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Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 400 total points
ID: 39158907
Look under System Tools.  And almost all laptops have a way to enable a 'keypad' in the middle of the keyboard.  Actually Alt-n is working here to let me type silly stuff.  ¿  ¿ ¿ ¤

PS: I see the EE editor doesn't like control characters in my messages! { ü é æ
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Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 1300 total points
ID: 39158995
> My laptop doesn't have a keypad.

I have many laptops. They all have a numeric keypad embedded in the keyboard, typically activated by an "fn" key. Here are the usual key mappings:

fn-M: numeric 0
fn-J: numeric 1
fn-K: numeric 2
fn-L: numeric 3
fn-U: numeric 4
fn-I: numeric 5
fn-O: numeric 6
fn-7: numeric 7
fn-8: numeric 8
fn-9: numeric 9

> Your list doesn't appear to be complete

It's complete for the characters 128-255 (decimal)...the so-called extended characters. I didn't think you were interested in 0-127 (decimal). Also, it's for the ANSI set, not the OEM.

Here's a Microsoft discussion of it:
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/unicode/cs.htm

And here's a good third-party discussion of it:
http://www.irongeek.com/alt-numpad-ascii-key-combos-and-chart.html

Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39159653
Mike,
A couple of other comments (again, all numbers entered must be on the numeric keypad...likely via the "fn" key on your laptop). First, Alt-24 and Alt-25 do create up and down arrows...here's the result from Notepad in W7:
up down arrows in NotepadSecond, to follow up on my comment about ANSI and OEM character sets, try this experiment. In Notepad, enter Alt-156. Because there is no leading zero, it will use the OEM character set and generate the British pound symbol. Now enter Alt-0156. The leading zero tells it to use the ANSI character set and you will get the Latin small ligature oe. To complete the experiment, enter Alt-0163 and you will get the British pound symbol again, this time from the ANSI character set because of the leading zero. Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 300 total points
ID: 39159670
@mikecox_ - Office applications have Insert Symbol built in (as I noted much earlier) and Character Map handles all other applications (as DaveBaldwin noted much earlier).

The range of symbols this way is very large (larger than Alt keys).

Why not just use the tools given? These tools do work.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:jcimarron
ID: 39159678
mikecox_--
The simplest for you may be to use Character Map, which has already been suggested.  And the simplest way to use it may be to run charmap.exe (which is in Windows\system32)  from a prompt or create a  shortcut on Desktop or Taskbar.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39159705
Mike,
I found an interesting list of ASCII character/symbols on the web and cleaned it up into the attached PDF searchable image file. I have not tested all of the characters so I can't confirm its accuracy, but I thought it might be helpful for you. Regards, Joe
ASCII-Alt-Numpad-Characters-Symb.pdf
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Author Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39168669
Joe; Thanks for the PDF list; it matches mine exactly; the one I posted on image.

And yes, I do have an embedded # pad; forgot about that¿ and yes, if I press the Fn key with the Alt key +n I get the characters.  Problem solved.

Thanks!

Now to divide the spoils ...
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Author Closing Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39168693
Great follow ups
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