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Question: Symbol font

I wanted to add symbols to the available fonts for Pages, Keynote, etc. After discovering Font Book I went to the symbol font and double clicked it. It says its installed. However it doesn't appear in the font list for any of the office apps. What am I doing wrong?

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Two ways to do this:


  • type any character in a text box, use the character viewer (control command spacebar) or Edit > Emoji and Symbols
  • select the Apple Symbol font in the Inspector then press the alt or alt and shift keys while typing on the keyboard

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Dec 15, 2017 1:30 PM in response to DesertRatR In response to DesertRatR

OK, I discovered the symbol font does shows up and can be selected in Keynote. So I select Symbol, and hit a key on the keyboard. And I still see English letters, not the symbols. How do I get a symbol with the symbol font selected?

Dec 15, 2017 1:30 PM

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Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM in response to DesertRatR In response to DesertRatR

Two ways to do this:


  • type any character in a text box, use the character viewer (control command spacebar) or Edit > Emoji and Symbols
  • select the Apple Symbol font in the Inspector then press the alt or alt and shift keys while typing on the keyboard

Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM

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Dec 15, 2017 6:01 PM in response to Gary Scotland In response to Gary Scotland

Gary Scotland wrote:


select the Apple Symbol font in the Inspector then press the alt or alt and shift keys while typing on the keyboard


Typing on the keyboard always produces the same letters and symbols in an Unicode system like MacOS, regardless of the font. To access anything special in Apple Symbol, you have to use your first method, the Character Viewer.

Dec 15, 2017 6:01 PM

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Dec 25, 2017 5:40 PM in response to Tom Gewecke In response to Tom Gewecke

Tom Gewecke wrote:

• Typing on the keyboard always produces the same letters and symbols in an Unicode system like MacOS, regardless of the font. To access anything special in Apple Symbol, you have to use your first method, the Character Viewer.


This does not make to me . Selecting, for example, "Wingdings 2" causes keystrokes to be displayed as I expect. There is no a priori reason that "Apple Symbols" can't behave the same way. The screen appearance of a keystroke is not a property of the Unicode, but of the application's metadata.


I hate to say it, but Microsoft Office applications behave as expected. Using Apple's symbol palette is annoyingly cumbersome.

Dec 25, 2017 5:40 PM

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Dec 26, 2017 7:51 AM in response to Gorpus In response to Gorpus

Gorpus wrote:



This does not make sense to me . Selecting, for example, "Wingdings 2" causes keystrokes to be displayed as I expect. There is no a priori reason that "Apple Symbols" can't behave the same way. The screen appearance of a keystroke is not a property of the Unicode, but of the application's metadata.


The way it is supposed to work is like this: The keyboard produces key codes, which are translated into Unicode values by the MacOS mapping files, which are then translated into glyphs on the screen by the active font. The app normally plays little role, and standard fonts all produce the same unicode characters. Symbols and characters from the scripts used by other languages are produced by changing the keyboard layout instead of the font, or by using a utility like Character Viewer.


But there are some legacy fonts held over from the past which are non-Unicode and a some apps will recognize them, so that sometimes you can use the keyboard to type symbols instead of normal Latin letters. But text produced this way will most likely revert to Latin when copy/pasted to another app or transmitted to another system, so it’s best to avoid this if you need to ensure what you produce is always seen as you intended.


If MS Office does what you require, by all means use it. But I don’t see Apple ever going back to non-Unicode systems and having the characters created by keystrokes determined by the font you choose. Instead any non-unicode left overs that still do that will eventually disappear.

Dec 26, 2017 7:51 AM

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Dec 26, 2017 4:25 PM in response to Tom Gewecke In response to Tom Gewecke

I suppose my question really is, "Why is there no 'Mathematical Symbols' UNICODE font?" Several UNICODE blocks contain among them all the symbols that one would normally need. I'd would guess that there'd be a significant user base.


I don't want to use MS Office, if I can avoid it, but the alternative (the character palette) is stupidly cumbersome.

Dec 26, 2017 4:25 PM

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Dec 26, 2017 6:45 PM in response to Gorpus In response to Gorpus

The font is irrelevant, in Unicode systems you need a keyboard layout. You can make one yourself with


http://scripts.sil.org/ukelele


Someone already did one, see this page


editors - Entering unicode math symbols into LaTeX, direct from keyboard, on a Mac - TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange


If if you really need to type a lot of math, I strongly recommend you use an equation editor .

Dec 26, 2017 6:45 PM

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Question: Symbol font