macOS Character Viewer On Steriods

In my previous article I explored some of the basics of the macOS Character Viewer. If you use any type of special characters at all in your writing or other communications, you pretty much have to use the Character Viewer. There are some cool features buried in the Character Viewer that you will find interesting. Lets take a look and see how to access them.

Character Viewer Features

I am sure you already know this, but you activate the Character Viewer in your menubar in the Keyboard Pref Pane:

Keyboard Pref Pane

Once that is done, just open Character Viewer from your menubar in the macOS:

Character Viewer Window

If you click on the little “Gear Symbol” in the upper left corner of the window, you are presented with some choices:

Viewer Chocies

The first thing I did in here is to make the “Character Size” to Medium which makes those icons a little easier to see. Then I went into “Customize List”:

Customize List

This presents a list of the various symbols available. There are way more symbols available to you than what is typically displayed in the Default Character Viewer window. Or, perhaps you wish to remove some of the items in the left sidebar of the main window. All you have to do is uncheck that item in the Customize area and it is displayed no more.

There is one more overlooked feature of the Character Viewer. You could say it is hidden in plain sight. That feature is the Search Box in the upper right corner of the main window:

Search Box

There are thousands of symbols in the Character Viewer. To save time, click in the Search Box and start typing the name of whatever symbol you need. Here I typed in “Fruit” which produced these results:


Using the Search Box can save you all kinds of time if you already have the symbol in mind.


The macOS Character Viewer is a super handy little App for making our writing more robust. Sometimes we use it for fun, other times we just need the correct symbols for the type of document we are writing. Go ahead and set it up the way it works best for your workflow.