Asterisk symbol on mac keyboard

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Spoiler, Brit chums: hold Option and stab 3 — there you go. On Windows, you access many extended characters by holding the [Alt] key, typing a four-digit code that you've committed to memory for a specific character, and then releasing [Alt]. But Apple at least recognises this, providing you with a couple of handy utilities that enable you to locate characters and also save them to a favourites list. Here we show you how to use the Keyboard Viewer and Character Viewer, so you can easily access a range of characters and symbols.


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This adds a flag to the menu bar. Select Show Keyboard Viewer and a virtual keyboard will appear. This can be resized. Keys are highlighted as you type, but hold a modifier and characters are shown. Hold Option; some characters will highlight in orange. These are diacritics you can add to other characters.

Multiply and Divide With the Asterisk and Slash Keys

Type it into a text editor and it appears, highlighted; type another character such as e to merge the two. For more esoteric characters than those Apple provides direct access to, you need to use Character Viewer, accessed from the flag in the menu bar select Show Character Viewer.

Like Keyboard Viewer, this window can be resized in the standard fashion.


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  • You'll see character info and related characters. You can drag the character from the well to a text editor, or click Insert to insert it. If you locate a symbol you think you'll use regularly, select Add to Favorites from the actions menu at the bottom-left of the window.


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    You can access any characters you've defined as favourites by selecting the Favorites tab in the Character Viewer window. If you're in a hurry, use the Character Viewer window's built-in search. Double-clicking on an item from that list will insert the selected character into your document, and away you go. However, if you use a certain symbol all of the time, it's worthwhile to know the keyboard shortcut for it.

    What is an Asterisk?

    Luckily for us, our Macs have a built-in way to figure out what those shortcuts are, so here's how you find them. After you do that, you'll have this fancy new icon in the upper-right of your screen:. Click on the icon, and you'll see two main choices—not surprisingly, they're to open either the Character Viewer or the Keyboard Viewer. At first glance, it looks just like whatever your keyboard layout is.

    Menu Commands

    But if you start holding down modifier keys, you'll see the symbols change. For example, here's what happens when I hold down Option:. What this means is that, if I hold down Option and then press the key specified in the layout above, I'll get the symbol pictured. So Option-; is the ellipsis, for example, and Option-2 is the trademark symbol.

    Shift-Option-K is the Apple symbol! That gave me a little fangirl thrill.

    How to use special characters, symbols, emojis and accents on Mac - Apple Training