What's it all about?

This blog is about photography and photoediting. Its purpose is to provide hints and tips and links to interesting and useful resources for digital photographers, regardless of their level of expertise or experience. It is aimed at people who use digital SLR cameras and who process their images using the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

The author of this blog is Glenn Springer and you can read more about him at his web portal at faczen.com. Information on workshops, and links to everything is at photography.to. Glenn's original blog, which is an ongoing journal of his photographic meanderings goes back to 2006 and contains many additional hints and tips, as well as representative images that he has made. Gallery quality prints are available through his Smugmug gallery site. It is an interesting place to visit to see a variety of quality images, as well as an ongoing general journal of photos going back several years.

Photography workshops are scheduled every few weeks starting in the Spring. For an overview of what's happening, please visit the photography.to website.

The most recent blog post is below. Scroll down to the bottom to see the list of previous postings or search for any particular topic.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ALT-NUMPAD ASCII Character shortcuts

This isn't really about photography, but I find myself using these shortcuts all the time so I thought I'd share them…

I like to use properly formatted extended ASCII characters sometimes (technically they're "ANSI characters"). This post is about giving some of you some keyboard shortcuts.

Why only "some of you"? Well because I think they work on a Mac, but I'm not sure since I don't have one. I haven't found a way to use them on my iPad, and laptops without numeric keypads are a challenge as well.

I'm pretty sure this is not news to a lot of you, but there's a whole new generation out there who don't know what the extended ASCII characters are. If they want to insert a special character, well they're only familiar with the menu in the MS Office programs.

Since I have some typography background, I know, for instance, that an "ellipsis" is not just three periods in a row. I even know what an ellipsis is! If you don't, well Google is your friend! Do you know when to use a hyphen, or an en-dash, or an em-dash? I know I don't use them exactly correctly according to the book, but I find that an em-dash — surrounded by a space on either side — makes text read better than either of the other two, in my eyes anyway.

So without further ado, here's a table of some of the special ASCII characters that I often use in my workflow. Feel free to add to the list. You can look these up here, but it's rather a lengthy list — there are lots more characters that I don't use. My list only includes the ones I use regularly.

These characters are typed by holding down the alt key ('option' on a Mac?) and typing the 4-digit ASCII code (don't forget the extra zero) on your numeric keypad. The regular numbers at the top of your keyboard don't work. On a laptop, you need to turn on the numlock which, on my Lenovo, is done by holding down the fn key and hitting scroll-lock.

(Blogger doesn't want to let me insert a table. So forgive the lack of formatting here. I used "Courier" font to maintain the spacing)

     alt-0133     Ellipsis
     alt-0145     Open single smart quote
     alt-0146     Close single smart quote
     alt-0147     Open double smart quote
     alt-0148     Close double smart quote
     alt-0149     Round Black Bullet
     alt-254      Big Square Black Bullet (no extra zero)
     alt-0150     en-dash
     alt-0151     em-dash
     alt-0153     Trademark symbol
¢     alt-0162     Cent symbol
©     alt-0169     Copyright Symbol
®     alt-0174     Registered Symbol
°     alt-0176     degree Symbol
±     alt-0177     plus/minus Symbol
²     alt-0178     superscript "2"
³     alt-0179     superscript "3"
¼     alt-0188     one quarter
½     alt-0189     one half
¾     alt-0190     three quarters

The web page I linked to also suggests using one or more of these characters in a password, which would make it much more difficult to crack. But I'll leave that for the geeks among you. Oh wait, I am one…

Here is a formatted .pdf of the above list for you to keep handy near your computer. Enjoy!

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