Q&A: Unicode in spades

Q I often make notes of bridge conventions, for which I require easy access to the four standard symbols for the suits, clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. How can I insert these most easily?

A You can add any specialist character from the Character Viewer in the menu bar; turn this on in the Keyboard tab of the Keyboard pane.

suitscharThese particular characters are in the Pictographs list, and could be added to its favourites. Double-click on the desired character, and it will be inserted at the current cursor location in the frontmost open window, thus:
♠︎ A Q J
♥︎ K 10 4
♦︎ 10 9 3 2
♣︎ J 7 5

suitstextYou can also add them as a text substitution in the Text tab: click on the + tool at the foot of the pane, and add a text string such as ‘CL’. Open the Character Viewer, find the Club symbol ♣︎ in the Pictographs list, and double-click on that to insert it as the substitution. Whenever you type ‘CL’, the symbol should be automatically substituted.

Applications may support custom macros to insert such characters whenever you press a particular key combination, such as Shift-Control-c, or you could create a custom keyboard with the symbols accessible as Alt-b, for instance. Details of creating keyboards are here.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 10, 2012.