Seeing Available Characters
Before we explain how to access special characters, it's important to note that not all fonts have a full complement of special characters. To see the characters available in any font, click the question-mark button (or the blue 'Information button on MacOS) next to the Text entry field in the Letters tab of the Properties window in the lower right of your screen. as seen below in the lettering tab. This holds true for both native Embrilliance fonts like those included with Embrilliance Essentials and in our Font Collections or any of the thousands of stitch-based BX- installable fonts.
As you can see, our Block Condensed font has a reasonably comprehensive set of special characters. Remember, the properties window and lettering tab will only be available once you've clicked the 'ABC' lettering tool in the menu bar to create a lettering object.
On MacOS, the blue 'i' icon serves the same function as the Windows '?' button. Click it to see the characters available in the selected font.
Entering Special Characters
Copy and Paste
Once you know your font has the characters you want, there are many methods by which you can type or enter special characters, but the easiest on either platform may be to copy and paste! If you are using a document that contains the special character, you can simply select, copy, and paste the name/word/character into the text entry field on either Windows or Mac. Select your text by click-dragging to highlight, use the keyboard command Ctrl+c on Windows or Command+c on Mac to copy the text, then click in the Text input field in your Embrilliance Platform program and press either Ctrl+v or Command+v to paste. Hit enter on single line text or Set on multi-line text, and your pasted text will appear, complete with available special characters.
If you want to both view and copy special characters on any version of Windows, the surest bet is to use the Character Map. It's easily accessed by searching for 'Character Map' in the Windows search bar. Once you run it, you'll see a window showing special characters in the latest TrueType or OpenType font you used in Windows. Since this viewer doesn't show our embroidery fonts, for our purposes, the font doesn't matter much, we just want to select one that has all of the special characters shown. All Windows systems should have Arial- if you are missing characters in the currently selected font, choose Arial in the 'Font' drop down list at the top of the window.
With the special characters showing, I can now click on the character I want to use, in this case an Enye, and hit the 'Select' button to copy it into the 'Characters to Copy' field. I can then hit the copy button, and paste my special character into the Text entry field in Embrilliance as described above, using the Ctrl+V command.
Using Keystrokes (Alt Codes)
On clicking a special character in the Character Map, we also get one other critical piece of information we can use for a faster way to enter these characters; in the bottom right corner of the window, the status bar shows the 'Keystroke' corresponding to this character. If you have a number pad on your keyboard, you may choose to use this Keystroke combination to quickly enter characters; simply hold down the alt key and use the number pad keys to enter the 4 digits shown in the 'Keystroke' to immediately type your special character into any text field.
The Windows 10 Onscreen Symbol Keyboard
If you have a recent version of Windows 10, there's an even easier way to access the special symbols. With your cursor already in the Embrilliance text entry field, hold down the Windows key and press . (the period key). A window will pop up that shows Emojis, but if you click the Omega symbol on the upper bar of this window, you'll special characters. Clicking one of these characters will type the character in the field. Note, you may need to click the character twice for it to appear. Once you are done entering characters, simply hit the 'X' in the upper right corner of the window to close it and return to Embrilliance to hit Enter or Set to commit your changes to the lettering.
Using the Character Viewer
Similar to the Character Map in Windows is the Character Viewer. You can easily open it with a quick keyboard shortcut. Hold down Control + Command and press Spacebar to launch the viewer. Once you have the Character Viewer open, select Latin from the left side and then scroll down to the Accented Latin Characters section to see the special characters. From here, you can simply select the letter you need and then drag it into the text entry field.
Holding a Key
With recent version of the Mac OS, you can easily access accented versions of characters by simply holding down the original key. for simple accents like an a acute (á), you simply hold down the a key until a popup menu appears, allowing you to select from several accented a characters as seen below.