Using special characters in Windows 7 with Character Map

Have you ever wanted to use a character that you could not find on your keyboard? Maybe a copyright, registered or trademark symbol. Or how about a fraction or letter variation. You can insert all of these and more into any document with Character Map in Windows 7.

Character Map inside of Windows 3.11
Character Map inside of Windows 3.11

Character Map is a cool little program that is built into Windows 7 (I have been using it since Windows 3.11). It allows you to view all of the characters inside of a font. You can use any font installed on your computer, as long as it has some special characters inside (most of them do).

Character Map inside of Windows 7
Character Map inside of Windows 7

You can then select one or a group of characters (you can even select private characters) and copy them to the clipboard. Then just paste them into a program that can display them. Remember, if you use a font in a document on your computer and then open it on another computer that does not have that same font installed, Windows 7 will substitute it for a default one (which may or may have that same special character).

How to insert a special character into a document

  1. Click on Start, then click on All Programs, then click on Accessories, then click on System Tools, and then click Character Map.
  2. Click the Font list, and then click the font you want to use.
  3. Click the special character you want to insert into the document.
  4. Click Select, and then click Copy.
  5. Open your document and click the location in the document where you want the special character to appear.
  6. Click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.

Geek Tip: Many programs allow you to drag special characters into documents. To do this, click the character you want to copy. When the character appears enlarged, drag it into the open document.

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