How and Where to Insert Special Characters in InDesign

show more Inserting special characters provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by David Blatner as part of the InDesign CS6 Essential Training show less
please wait ...

Inserting special characters

Quick, what's the keyboard shortcut to type the Registered Trademark Symbol or how about an Em Dash? If you don't use these characters very often, there's no reason to clutter your head with trying to remember the shortcuts. InDesign has a couple of features that makes inserting special characters a breeze. I'm going to select this text frame on my page, and zoom in to 400% by pressing Command+4 on a Mac, or Ctrl+4 on Windows. I'm going to switch the Type tool and place my cursor right after the word Gallery here by double-clicking, and now I'd like to insert a special character here.

So I'm going to go to the Type menu and look all the way down at the very end where it says Insert Special Character. Inside the Symbol submenu, we'll find many of the characters that people often need. Such as Bullets, Copyrights, Ellipsis, Paragraphs, that's the little pilcrow symbol and then, finally here's the one we were looking for, Registered Trademark. I'll select that and InDesign types it for me. There is lot's of other special characters hiding in there too. Let's say, I don't remember how to type an En Dash.

This little En Dash that I want to use instead of a hyphen when I'm talking about ranges. I'll just delete that, go back to the Type menu and choose Insert Special Character and instead of Symbols, I'm going to choose Hyphens and Dashes, and there it is. There's my En Dash. Now perhaps I don't like the amount of space there is between the 6 and that En Dash. I can place my cursor between them, and add a little bit of space with a special white space character. Down near at the bottom of the Type menu you'll see that there's not only an Insert Special Character menu, but also an Insert White Space menu, and inside this submenu, you'll find all kinds of special spaces.

From the very large Em Space, it's very wide Em Space there, to the sort of medium-sized En Space. But we really want a tiny little space. So I'm going to choose Hair Space. When I do that, InDesign actually places a special width Hair Space in between those two characters. Now there are other ways to add and remove space between characters, such as Kerning and I'm going to be talking about that in the later chapter. But it's great to know that InDesign has the special characters to use, if you want to use them. Of course many of the fonts that you're using, have special characters built into them, Ornaments and Math symbols and so on, but you may not know how to type them.

Fortunately, InDesign has a special feature called the Glyphs panel and I can find that under the Window menu, or the Type menu. Here's the Glyphs panel, and the Glyphs panel shows me every character that's inside my current font. It's really quite incredible. You can just go through and scroll through this list. I'm going to make this even a little bit bigger, so we can really see this characters. You can scroll through this list and see all the different characters that are inside this font, and some of these things I would have no idea how to type, I don't even know what some of these are. Now for this document, I'd like a place a special ornaments just before the P in this word Pittinger.

So I click there and now I'm going to change my font. I can change it right here inside the Glyphs panel if I want to. I'll select that font and replace it with let's say Wingdings. I just had to type a few letters WIN and it guessed that I want Wingdings. Now I'll hit Return or Enter and we can see all the different characters inside the Wingdings font. This one looks nice, so I'll double-click on it and you can see that InDesign places that character right wherever the cursor was. InDesign also places that cursor up here in the Recently Used list and that's kind of cool, because I might want to use that same character over and over again.

I might come up here and click before the E. All of a sudden, all of these characters change because it's back to representing what this font is, wherever the cursor is, the Myriad Pro Font. But it still keeps my Recently Used glyph up here. So I can double-click on it, and it automatically adds it and changes the font. Now Wingdings and symbol fonts like that, and many of the Pro fonts from Adobe have a lot of special characters in there. Check them out, take a little time to go through and just scroll to the Glyphs panel and see what kind of treasures are hiding in there.

Inserting special characters
Video duration: 4m 1s 8h 24m Beginner


Inserting special characters provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by David Blatner as part of the InDesign CS6 Essential Training

please wait ...