Accessing Special Characters Directly
Popular elements of the Special Character set, Copyright © for instance, are available as an alternate layer to the Mac's normal keyboard layout. You can access these using the Option key, which is one of the modifier keys found on each side of the spacebar. Rather than play a guessing game as to what underlying character matches a given key, you can preview the assignments easily.
First, let's tweak a couple of things in your OS X setup. Go to "System Preferences" under the "Apple menu," then select "Language & Text." Near the top of the window, select "Input Sources." At the top of the column to the left, place a checkmark next to "Keyboard & Character Viewer." In addition, place a checkmark in the box at the bottom right of the window next to "Show input menu in menu bar." A tiny box should appear in the menu bar at the top right hand side of your Mac's display screen. Click it, then select "Show Keyboard Viewer." A virtual keyboard should appear on the Mac's screen. Now you can hold down the "Option" key to show the underlying special character assignments for the keyboard.
A modified version of the character set is available by holding "Shift" along with "Option." The Keyboard Viewer does not need to be displayed for the keyboard modifier shortcuts to work. Simply hold your selection while typing the corresponding letter. You can, however, type characters directly into the virtual keyboard using mouse clicks if you prefer. You can even use a Windows keyboard, but some of the labeling will not match.
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