We’ve all done it. Regardless of your respective operating system, we’ve all done the hunt for a symbol on our keyboards just to find ourselves dismayed and attempting to copy and paste it from another website or a document. For me, it has always been the £ symbol. Whenever I share a deal or a press release for a device that’s launching overseas, I most certainly end up copying the price and the £ from the reporting website. What you may not realize is that standard and non-standard symbols, characters, and even emojis have a universal standard that can be accessed directly from your keyboard if you learn this one, little trick.
The trick I’m referring to is to use Unicode to type your non-standard inputs on your Chromebook or any desktop OS, for that matter. Unicode is the aforementioned universal standard for keyboard input and it can give you the power to type just about any text, symbol, emoticon, or whatever on your device should you know where to find the corresponding codes.
Unicode characters on Chrome OS
Because Unicode is universal, you can create any of these symbols or characters on your Chromebook with a simple keyboard shortcut and the corresponding Unicode for the desired character. Let’s say you want to write out some math equations. If you’re doing a little division, you could always use the “/” character like in this example. 144/12=12. However, that’s no fun. To use an actual obelus(division symbol), you can use Unicode, and then you can be fancy like this: 144 ÷ 12=12. See, that’s so much better. To use the division symbol, simply press Ctrl+Shift+u while in the text box you’re using. This will produce a small letter “u” with an underline beneath it. Then, type the corresponding Unicode and hit enter. For the division symbol, the Unicode is “00f7“.
Emoticons(Emojis) on a Chromebook
Another great use for Unicode is when you want to type an emoji. Chrome OS has a built-in emoji picker that you can access by right-clicking a text field or pressing Search+Shift+Space but you can quickly add any emoji you want using Unicode. If there’s a particular emoji you use frequently, such as the 🤣, you can just memorize the code “1f923” and then use the same Ctrl+Shift+u that we used above and your hearty laughing emoji will be at your fingertips whenever you need it. Below, you can find many of the most common emoticons and their corresponding Unicode and you can find an exhaustive list here.
More than emojis and math
Unicode can be used for so much more than just dropping in an emoji or making grammatically correct mathematical equations. The majority of the world’s languages, past and present, have their own Unicode. If you’re typing a paper in English but you need to add some Greek characters, you don’t have to copy and paste. Instead, you can consult a chart like the one in this link and you can now Unicode to your heart’s content. I love the fact that you can reproduce just about any language using a singular keyboard. My name is Gabriel from the Latin, Gavri’el. This is taken from the original Hebrew word גַבְרִיאֵל and thanks to Unicode, I can type my name with a plain old US English keyboard.
Whatever your use case, there are Unicodes for just about everything. From copyright symbols to emojis and even Braille. There’s not much that you can’t create with Unicode and it’s a handy tool to have in your typing arsenal if you fancy yourself a wordsmith, copywriter, or whatever. Hope this tip helps you get the most out of your Chrome OS keyboard.