using the special character itim pallet

macOS & Mac Apps
hi all, any mac users used the character itim pallet?? i want to insert those cool little emoticons for twitter facebook etc. vo describes them really well. amy



Submitted by Nicolai Svendsen on Thursday, June 7, 2012

Club AppleVis Member
I'm actually kind of surprised no one has responded to this yet. Anyway, you can do this by going to the character pallet. You can access it from anywhere by hitting Command-Option-T. You are going to have to use VoiceOVer navigation here because the keyboard focus remains in the text box in whatever application has focus at the time. Interact with the "Character category" then use the VoiceOver keys to move to Emoji. Next, stop interacting and VO-right to Subcategory. Interact here as well and select the category you want. Stop interacting, then move right again to "Character sections" and proceed to interact with it. VoiceOver might either say "grid" or the currently focussed emoji. Interact again and VO-right until you get to the one you want. Now, you can hit VO-comma to mark it for drag and drop, then using the WIndow Chooser (VO-F2-F2,) move back to the window you want the emoji to be inserted. When the VoiceOver cursor has focus where you want the emoji to be placed, hit VO-Period to drop it. I find that drag and drop here sometimes fails, so you can alternatively hit VO-Shift-M to bring up the contextual menu for the emoji character, then choose "Copy Character Info." This will copy any information for the character, including its name and other identifiable information. You can simply edit this out, as it pastes the character as well. I hope that didn't sound too confusing! However, do keep in mind that some websites in particular limit themselves to which emojis they accept. In the case of Facebook, I've only seen it accept a very few select ones like the red hearts, where as Mac OS X applications seem to accept all of them and even seem to send them to the public with no problems. Also note that not everyone can see them, such as some Windows users. I do know that Blackberry, Mac OS X and iOS users have full support for emoji characters last I checked.

Submitted by amyg90 on Thursday, June 7, 2012

thanks so much for this, when i paste the info in yurufukarou it comes up with all this unicode stuff, and it presents the emojee as text is it meant to do that?

Hi Nic, An easier way to get characters from the character palette is to just select them, and make a copy of these in a TextEdit window. This gets you out of having to drag and drop, using copy from the contextual menu, switching windows, etc. It also means you don't get the name and all other identifiable information that you don't need. So the idea is that you open a TextEdit window (I use plain text, and you can shift between rich text and plain text formats with Command-Shift-T, but either should work), and then bring up the character palette with Command-Option-T as you outlined. You then use your VoiceOver keys to navigate the character palette window to the emoji menu that you want, as you described. However, once you are in the menu of special characters that you want, all you need to do is navigate to a character that you want and select it by using VO-Space or, what's probably easier, if you are using Quick Nav mode to navigate, by simultaneously pressing the up and down arrow keys. In this strategy you just navigate to the next character you want in the character palette window and select it. Your selection appears in the TextEdit window. You never use the window chooser menu to switch between the character palette window and the TextEdit window, and you never use drag and drop or have to use the contextual menu command to copy. Another suggestion: as you select emoji characters, press the return key after each selection to put each character on a new line in your TextEdit window. This will make it easier for you to use the TextEdit window contents afterwards. So your keystroke actions in the character palette window are going to be (with Quick Nav on): right arrow, select by pressing up and down arrows simultaneously, return, and then repeat again. If you are not using Quick Nav, use VO-Right arrow to navigate and VO-Space to select, again followed by a press of the return key. You can quickly copy the entire emoji keyboard for people this way. (Well, maybe not that quickly since there are nearly 150 characters -- I stopped after 54 for this experiment.) If you only want a few characters, just right arrow (or VO-right-arrow) to the ones that you want, and select them (with VO-Space or by pressing the up and down arrow keys if in Quick Nav mode). I find that if I do this fast in Quick Nav mode, I tend to get a few double emoji characters when I select, so I may press the delete key to get rid of the duplicate before pressing the return (or "enter" key in Windows parlance). When you're done, close the character palette window by navigating to the "close" button and pressing it, (e.g., use VO-Home, or VO-Fn-Shift-left arrow on a laptop to move to the start of the window, then left arrow to the "close" button and press it). You'll be left with your focus in the TextEdit window with your lines of copied characters, which you can save as a file. Now any actions you want to take in typing emoji characters can be done by switching to the TextEdit window with emoji characters. You can quickly arrow up or down and copy the characters you most frequently use to the top of the file. (This is why I suggested pressing the "return" key after each selection.) So now you have a couple of options when composing text with emoji characters. If you've saved a TextEdit file with a few of your favorite emoji characters just open the file and navigate to the character you want, and use copy and paste (Command-C from from the TextEdit window of your emoji characters, then switch windows with Command-` or applications with Command-Tab, and Command-V to paste). If you only have a few characters that you use, you can keep them all on the same line, for easier navigation. If you want to be even slicker, you can bind specific frequently used emoticons to your own custom-defined text expansion snippets. Starting with Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard), you can create and add your own text expansion snippets under System Preferences > Language & Text. Use VO-M or Control-F2 to navigate to the Apple Menu on your menu bar, then arrow down to "System Preferences" (you and arrow down and press "s y" to go there more quickly) and press return. Navigate to "Language & Text" and select it with VO-Space (or by pressing the up and down arrow keys together if you are using Quick Nav mode). Under "Language & Text" navigate to the "Text" tab (2 of 4) and select it. This window has a check box for "Use symbol and text substitution". When checked, you can press the "Add" button to add your own custom snippet definition for text substitution to the table. So if you wanted to define a snippet like "emo1" to be bound to the "smiling face with smiling mouth and open eyes emoji" (the first of the Unicode characters in the emoji character palette) you could copy that character from you TextEdit window, then go to the "Text" tab of System Preferences > Language & Text, press the "Add" button, type in your snippet (e.g. "emo1" without the quotation marks), press tab, then use Command-V to paste in the emoji character you want associated with your new snippet, and press tab again to exit the dialog. Close the window with Command-W. I don't remember whether you need to relaunch Finder or log out to have your new definitions take effect. But now, when you type "emo1" (or whatever you chose for your snippet), once you add a space after the snippet, it should be replaced by the emoji character. This doesn't work in all applications on the Mac -- use a dedicated utility such as TextExpander if you want more capabilities and definitions that work in every Mac application -- but such custom definitions will likely work in most of the text applications you use. It's a good idea to use snippets that are not likely to be close to mistyped words. You could use a character to start the snippet definition instead, such as add a semi-colon to the start of the snippet like ";emo1". I don't use any of these character definitions for Facebook or Twitter, but I do make use of the character palette for special characters in other languages or mathematics. If you work in TextEdit, VoiceOver will announce these characters correctly (e.g., Greek letters, Cyrillic letters for Russian, math symbols) even in earlier versions of the operating system, and even if you hadn't purchased a voice for these languages. So the solution of using TextEdit along with the character palette has general applications beyond emoji symbols for social media. Navigating the character palette with VoiceOver back in Leopard was even more painful (many of the tables weren't labeled, although their contents would be read by VoiceOver), so it was much, much easier to simply get the symbols into a TextEdit file once, and then work with the contents of that file (and never have to go back to the character palette table again.) Hope this helps.

yes, it's supposed to do that. It's because it displays the name of the icon in words also. That having been said, thanks a lot for that suggestion, Esther. That makes it a lot easier. I keep forgetting VO-Space because I never use it, or use the mouse to do it half of the time. :) Obviously just to clarify, this works in any window. An obvious conclusion I suppose, but still worth noting.