Most of the Special Characters you can enter do not appear on the keyboard, whether you are using a physical keyboard or a touchscreen. Here’s how you can type them on your computer or mobile device. You can always search the internet to find the symbol and copy it to the program you are using. This is inefficient, but works for quickly inserting a random incomprehensible character
You can quickly insert special characters in Windows using Alt key codes. They require a separate numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard, so they won’t work on most laptops. They will only work on desktops if you have this numeric keypad to the right of your Enter key.
To use Alt keycodes, make sure Num Lock is on – you may need to press the Num Lock button to turn it on. Then press and hold the Alt key. Press the corresponding numbers using the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard, and then release the Alt key.
For example, let’s say you want to enter the £ symbol for the British pound. This is numeric key combination 0163. If Num Lock is on, press and hold the Alt key, tap 0, tap 1, tap 6 and tap 3 (everything on the numeric keypad), and then release the Alt key.
The Character Map tool can help here. Open it by pressing the Windows key, typing “Symbol Map” for search and pressing Enter. For each special character, you will see its Alt key code printed in the lower right corner of the window. If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you can also go to this window to view a list of symbols and copy them to other applications. You can also find lists of special characters and associated codes online.
Mac OS X has its own character viewer that is easier to access. In almost any application, you can click Edit> Special Characters to open it.
Find the symbol in the window and double-click it to enter it in the text box in the current application. If you use special special characters a lot, you can add them to your favorites list so that they can be easily accessed here. The list is more organized than on Windows.
Option keys can also be used to enter various accented letters and other special characters. For example, let’s say you want to enter the word “touché”. You can type touch, press Option + e at the same time, and then press the e key. This will force your Mac to use a sharp accent over the letter e.
There are also Option + Shift keyboard shortcuts that don’t use accented letters. For example, typing Option + 4 will give you a cent symbol (¢) instead of a dollar sign. Washington State University has a good list of Option and Option + Shift keyboard shortcuts for entering special characters on the Mac.
If you just want to type an accented letter, there is a much faster way in recent versions of macOS. Just press and hold the corresponding letter key on your keyboard. For example, if you want to enter the character “é”, press and hold the “e” key.
A pop-up menu will appear. Press the number key corresponding to the accented letter you want to enter, or click on the menu.
Special Characters in iPhone and iPad
You can enter many additional characters on the iPhone or iPad touch keyboard by pressing and holding the corresponding key. For example, to enter the word “touché”, enter “touch”, press and hold the “e” key, and select the “é” character.
This also works for various symbols. For example, to enter a different currency symbol, you need to press and hold the $ symbol on the keyboard and select the desired symbol.
If you often need to type characters that do not appear on the standard keyboard, you can go to Settings> General> Keyboards> Add New Keyboard to add a keyboard from another language that contains those characters. And now that iOS offers support for third-party keyboards, you can install a keyboard that offers support for a wider range of Unicode characters and use it.
Special Characters in Android
The Android keyboard works the same way. Press and hold keys on the keyboard to access the corresponding symbols and symbols. For example, press and hold e to find accented characters e. Press and hold other symbols – for example, a currency symbol – to access additional symbols.
Anyway, this is how the standard Google Keyboard app for Android works. Other keyboards should work similarly. Since Android offers support for more keyboards, you can install other keyboards from Google Play that are better suited for entering a variety of Unicode characters.
Other platforms with touch keyboards should work similarly. Long-pressing the keys will give you additional accented characters and symbols, while other special characters will come from dedicated keyboards or when pasting copies.
There is no single standard method for entering these Unicode characters on Linux. It depends on the applications and the graphics toolkit they use.