It would be easy and useful to put the most-commonly-used keyboard shortcut characters (such as ⌃⌥⇧⌘⎋⏏⌫↑⇡↖⇞⇥, and perhaps others — see here for a list, which you can also place at ~/Library/Key Bindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict to type these characters easily) somewhere on the page (perhaps in the editing help, or discreetly in the footer?) so people could copy and paste them when writing questions/answers if they don't have an easy way to type them.

That's actually a really good idea. +1 – Philip Regan Aug 10 '11 at 2:03
A comprehensive list of useful Apple-y characters — if you feel like including more — is here; this is actually how I type them (I can just use ctrl-m ctrl-a for ⌘, etc.), but lots of people don't have this set up :) – jtbandes Aug 10 '11 at 2:37
It could also be useful if there were simply a button to insert <kbd>⌘</kbd>, or maybe also <kbd>⌘ Command</kbd>. – jtbandes Aug 10 '11 at 2:38
Instead of a link, I think there ought to be an extended menu for the text editors on AD to accommodate the Mac's special character set. – Philip Regan Aug 10 '11 at 12:03
This is why I created a few years ago. Nowadays I just use a custom keyboard layout to type these characters. – Mathias Bynens Apr 3 '12 at 14:34

Looking at this question and answer:

Add characters to the press and hold character picker in OS X Lion

I managed to amend the automated replacement options when you press and hold a key down, and made this:

enter image description here

I would plus more if I could. :D – CoffeeRain Apr 23 '12 at 16:07
This is amazingly awesome, and it needs to earn some rep... perhaps you could post this as an answer to this question... and then perhaps I could award it a bounty, since I can't do that on meta. – Daniel Apr 24 '12 at 18:53
This is both awesome and suckish, I prefer my Q-key to be repeating! qqqqqq – Emil Feb 7 '13 at 20:22
Works with any keymapping you like, including the odd ones like "~" :) – stuffe Feb 7 '13 at 21:09
Super clever. Is this the format for your additions to the plist? <key>Roman-Accent-`</key> <dict> <key>Direction</key> <string>left</string> <key>Keycaps</key> <string>⌃ ⌥ ⇧ ⌘ ↩ ⎋ ⌫ ↑ ↓ ← → ⇥</string> <key>Strings</key> <string>⌃ ⌥ ⇧ ⌘ ↩ ⎋ ⌫ ↑ ↓ ← → ⇥</string> </dict> – beroe Aug 29 '13 at 18:25

I would love some implementations of this but only if it was clutter free.

To avoid overload, perhaps only the symbols that appear as menu items of major apps would be available?

The menu bar uses these icons respectively - so it's clear users might need these

  • Finder: ⌃ ⌥ ⇧ ⌘ ⎋ ↑
  • Safari: adds two more ↓ and ⇥

I'd leave all the rest out - although a strong case can be made for eject and power symbols since every mac has one or the other in the top right.

The list of icons you made is too large for my taste - but I'd rather have too much than nothing at all. Lion does make the special characters feature very easy - but not all our users are on that OS. I can't speak for Linux or Windows users as I don't know how easy the tools for clipping are. I do know that the iPad isn't as easy as you have to either enable the emoji board or bookmark a web app like GlyphBoard and multitask /copy / multitask/ paste your way into these characters.

The Markdown Editing Help menu seems an ideal implementation of this. enter image description here

It could ride the coattails of that UI to begin with. It should be fairly trivial to add in a table to the right of HTML - to the left of "advanced help" and drop in a small table that educates users of the current icons in use here.

You could place a few characters in the normal drop down - and have a fuller set when you are in the help mode - just like you get basic lists from the toolbar icon, but get advanced nesting help when you look at it with the markdown overlay.


I've put them into characters' favorites table. They are accessible to me in any app via

And yes, I did copy those symbols to the clipboard by double-clicking on them.

enter image description here

This is useful, but see the link in my question for an even easier way to type them. Anyway, the point of this question was to have the symbols accessible to everyone, without requiring people to set something up like this. – jtbandes Aug 16 '11 at 6:12
Keep in mind people that are using an OS that isn't Mac OS X - iOS on the iPad or Linux or Windows - the hurdle for them to get to some of these characters that are used in the Mac OS X menu system more troublesome. – bmike Aug 18 '11 at 19:59

I'm in the unfortunate situation of sometimes having to read this site running IE8 on a computer at work when I'm on break. While this post solves the copy/paste problem when I'm away from my Mac, unfortunately, many of the aforementioned characters are just rectangular boxes on my work machine.

So perhaps this solution of a copy/paste list will help iPad users, but the special characters are already reasonable accessible on a Mac (but this does make them a little easier to use), and unreadable in some Windows setups, so this solution might be less universally helpful than I might wish it were. Alas.


I like to use the widget:


This is the fastest way I know of to find and copy needed characters.

enter image description here enter image description here

Also, check out – Josh Hunt Apr 16 '13 at 9:45

You can actually copy them from this meta post by Dori. She put all the icons, names, and HTML entities into one post. You can just search the post with Command ⌘ + F.

In response to bmike's comment below, this actually will work for those on an iOS device because the meta post above includes HTML entities. While this isn't preferable, it is better than not having them at all.

@bmike Ah, yes, that's true...However, it is helpful for those on a Mac/PC. – daviesgeek Feb 14 '12 at 2:55
@bmike See my updated answer. – daviesgeek Feb 15 '12 at 6:25

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