Funky names, names using characters, or symbols you don’t know what to do with (and with that not quite knowing how to pronounce these.) Some come and go whereas others stick around. Ever wanted to re-create any of these characters, maybe for some journaling for your abroad experiences, and weren’t quite sure how?
There are a bunch of languages that use symbols, some called Umlauts such as ü and ä, Germany being one of them. These can usually be replaced with “ue” or “ae” to give the same effect, which I only resort to when I am too lazy - I have memorized most keyboard shortcuts for German letters. Keyboards in Germany are set up a little different, so is Z and Y reversed for example, and they also offer separate keys for the Umlauts. This in turn moves some other keys and functions around, which makes switching between a European (German) and US computer/keyboard interesting reading and writing at times when I travel or communicate with my family or the German Creative Memories Home Office.
Now, if you want to use special characters and are not fortunate enough to have an option to have these situated right on your keyboard, or memorized them for some reason, the following may come in handy. Our friends with Mac’s may want to check this site out http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1518.
The Alt key on your keyboard doesn’t stand for Altitude, but for Alternative. Holding down the Alt key while typing in numbers (often referred to as Alt codes) on the numeric keypad allows to type special characters not normally available on the keyboard. For example, holding down Alt while typing 0216 on the numeric keypad will results in Ø. I have seen some Laptops that also use the Alt key to access a third function on some keys, such as to adjust the brightness of the Laptops display and sound.
Some software has also options built in to insert not only images, graphs and shapes but also symbols.
StoryBook Creator, for example, allows you to insert Symbols. Just right-click on a text box you created and select “Insert Symbol…” (or use the Insert ribbon and select Symbol in the Text group) and pick the one you want from the list. Note, you will only see the characters and symbols for the font you have currently selected.
You could also check out the Character Map, usually to be found on Windows computers, under Start > (All) Program > Accessories, or further under > System Tools. If it isn’t present here, navigate to your Windows folder on your hard drive and look for a sub-folder called System32, then look for a file called Charmap.exe. Once you located it, right-click on it, select Send-To and then Desktop (create shortcut) to have easy access to it in the future.
This nifty tool allows you to choose different fonts (the ALT code, or the associated symbol may differ from font to font). Once you chose a font, scroll through the list of characters and symbols, and when you find the character you are looking for, click on it. You will see a larger version of it and the corresponding code and you can even copy it, or a series of selected characters, to your clip board, ready to be inserted elsewhere. Some applications may not understand the code and give you no or a wrong result, some (programs or fonts) require you to highlight the inserted portion and re-format it. So just check it out and play with it.
Here are a few codes to play with.
ß = ALT + 0223; ‡ = ALT + 0135; ö = ALT + 0246; ñ = ALT + 0241; ¿ = ALT + 0191
Some symbols are already sort of coded into software, so, for example, can Microsoft Word and others understand if you type (R) and automatically translate that into ®. The same goes for (TM).
There are no limitations as to what characters you use in your StoryBook Creator projects for example, all can be printed. However, if you were to personalize your album using our Persona Imprinting service for Albums, there are limitations and I recommend checking out the samples provided as well as using the spell check tool.
Ever wanted to have your own stamp of approval or some other character and you could never find an existing character you liked among the thousands of fonts, including the Wingdings fonts 1, 2 and 3? Well, one option you may want to check out is a not very well know nor well documented Microsoft Windows one.
Navigate again to Windows/System32 and look for a file called Eudcedit.exe. That is a Private Character Editor build right into Windows. You could create your own font too, if you have a lot of time and patience. Again, it’s not very well documented and the built-in help is pretty much all documentation you can find elsewhere too and there are limitations, but it works to import your own unique characters into StoryBook Creator projects for example. Once you created your very one, just retrieve it in the Character Map, copy it to the clip board and choose the “Insert > Place clipboard text on page” from within StoryBook Creator. From there, you can manipulate it just as you can regular text.