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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Typing Curly Quotes, Accents, etc. In OS X

I like to use typographically correct punctuation (curly/‘smart’ quotes and the right dashes), but typing symbols can be a pain. Yeah, you can let Word’s AutoFormat guess what you’re trying to do, like an invisible Clippy sharing your keyboard, but when it screws up you’ll soon find yourself wanting to break things.

Luckily, OS X makes typing common symbols and accented characters reasonably easy using the Option key (Apple, please sort out the confusing naming/labelling of Option and Command):


double quote open option [
double quote close shift option [
single quote open option ]
single quote close shift option ]


en dash option -
em dash shift option -


After pressing the key combination for the accent, release and then press the letter you want to apply the accent to.

´ acute option e
` grave option `
^ circumflex option i
~ tilde option n
¨ umlaut option u


On UK keyboards £ and # are reversed, hence the oft-heard cries of “How do I type a bloody hash symbol?!” amongst new Mac users over here. Euro and trademark are also swapped round.

£ pound option 3
UK: shift 3
euro shift option 2
UK: option 2
¢ cent option 4
¥ yen option y

Misc. symbols

ellipsis option ;
© copyright option g
® registered option r
trademark option 2
UK: shift option 2
° degree shift option 8
· middle dot shift option 9

To browse other key combinations, use Tiger’s built-in Keyboard Viewer.


what on earth is a afflon, or athlon. its a symbol you would put in a email adress, no idea which one

— Tash, 4th May, 6:04am

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