View and Use Dingbat Fonts (Mac)

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Allison SattgastIt's an experience common to anyone who's used a dingbat font: sitting at the computer, randomly pecking all the keys on your keyboard to see what dingbat each key will produce, then shift-clicking or control-clicking and trying all the keys over again in case there are more to find.

Ah, the hunt for the elusive dingbat.

Well, as exciting as the hunt is, most of us would really prefer to see and use our dingbat fonts without any hassle.

If you're working on a Mac**, I can help you with that! If you're on a PC, run over and check out Jen White's fabulous Tip on how to easily view and use dingbats in Windows.

**Please note that Apple has removed this feature in Lion. If that is your current operating system, there is no way we know of to view dingbats fonts without a third party application.

Tutorial:This complete Digi Scrap Tutorial is available to our Digital Scrapper Premier Members. If you're a member, please take a moment to log in, then just refresh this page. Not a Premier Member? Find out more information here.

Step 1: Your New Friend, the Input Menu

The Input Menu can be found in the Menu Bar at the top right of your screen. Depending on your settings and individual system, it may either look like a flag or a little box.

Note: Some computers may not automatically display the Input Menu. If you can't find it, follow step 2 to add the Input Menu to the Menu Bar so that it can be easily accessed.

Step 2: If the Input Menu Isn't Displayed in Your Menu Bar

If you have found the Input menu, skip this step.

Open System Preferences, which can be found in the Apple Menu at the top left of your screen.

Click on "Language and Text" on the top row. (Note: an older operating system might name this option "International" instead of "Language and Text.")

In "Language and Text," click on "Input Sources" at the top right. (See picture below.)

Next, click the check box for "Keyboard and Character Viewer" so it is selected, and make sure "Show Input Menu in Menu Bar" down at the bottom of the "Language and Text" screen is also checked. Now the Input Menu will be visible and accessible in the Menu Bar.

Step 3: Navigating the Character Viewer

Click on the Input Menu and choose "Show Character Viewer" (or "Show Character Palette" on some computers).

To get to the portion of the Character Viewer that will display dingbats, choose View: "Glyph."

Choose your dingbat font from the Font Menu in the Character Viewer.

Voila! There are your dingbats, all in rows. But being able to see them isn't enough. We also want to use them!

Step 4: Using the Character Viewer to Insert Dingbats into a Document

Open Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Create a new document (Photoshop Elements: File > New > Blank File; Photoshop: File > New).

Click on your document with the Type tool so you can enter text (I clicked and dragged to create a text box), and make sure to choose the same dingbat font that you currently have active in the Character Viewer. (Note: You must have the same font selected in both the Character Viewer and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, or this will not work.)

Make sure that your text box is currently active in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, then double click on the image of the dingbat in the Character Viewer that you want to use. It will appear in the text box of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements just as if you had typed it. From there, you can treat it like normal type and do whatever you like with it!

And that's how you can view and use a dingbat font using Mac's Character Viewer. Give it a try, and you'll be amazed at how easy using dingbats will become!

Tutorial: Allison Sattgast
Font: Critters1DC

Download a PDF version of this "View and Use Dingbats" tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

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