Inserting Unicode symbols

I just added a dialog to FocusWriter for inserting Unicode symbols. The popularity of this feature request surprised me, but after giving it some thought it does make sense. After all, other word processors don’t require you to switch to a separate program just to insert the bullet symbol.

I went a little crazy designing the dialog, as I am wont to do. It started much simpler, just a basic grid of all of the Unicode symbols. However, since there are tens of thousands of symbols it was very hard to navigate, and so I had to come up with some way of filtering what symbols were shown. Unicode defines the writing script and block for every symbol (as well as its general category, but that is useless for filtering as most all symbols are in the same category), so I added those as a sidebar.

I started with a “favorites” bar, but it was annoying to have to remember to add them so I replaced it with a “recently used” bar. I also had to make sure users were able to specify a shortcut for symbols, so that they didn’t have to use the dialog every time they wanted to insert a character! There are three symbols with shortcuts by default: em dash (Ctrl+-), ellipsis (Ctrl+.), and bullet (Ctrl+*); these can all be changed to something else.

There are a few more behind-the-scenes things I am going to do the dialog, but for the most part it is done and in the development source code. Another popular feature finished for the next version!

symbols dialog

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4 Responses to Inserting Unicode symbols

  1. Todd Lucas says:

    I have absolutely no need for this function, but it looks so awesome that I’m furiously trying to come up with one just so I can use it.

  2. Graeme says:

    Ha! Fanstatic. šŸ™‚

  3. UnicodeUser says:

    Maybe I overlooked, however is it possible to input unicode in focuswriter by means of something like Ctrl+Shift+u?

  4. Graeme says:

    That would be handled by Qt, the framework I use to make FocusWriter. I don’t believe it has support for that, sorry.