PopChar X – Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a problem with PopChar X, please check out the user's guide first. The user's guide is available via the Help command in the PopChar menu. You can also download it here in English, German, and French.
If neither the user's guide nor this FAQ page answers your question, please contact our technical support.
This page answers frequently asked questions concerning PopChar X. When necessary, we add new hints and problem solving tips to this page.
We regularly update this page whenever we come across a topic that may be of interest for many PopChar users.
General troubleshooting tips
If you have a problem with PopChar X, we suggest that you first try the following steps:
- Make sure you have the latest version of Mac OS X and all system updates: Run "Software Update" and install all available updates. If you need to restart your Mac after the update, run "Software Update" again until it tells you that no further updates are available.
- Please verify that you have the most recent version of PopChar X. Check the "Updates" tab in PopChar's Preferences window and click the "Check Now" button to perform an immediate online check for a newer version. If there is no "Updates" tab, you are definitely using an old version. In this case, please visit our download page and get the most recent version.
- If there is a problem with PopChar X in combination with a particular application, make sure you have the latest version of that application. If you have a problem with any part of MS Office, run Microsoft AutoUpdate to install the latest updates.
- Run Disk Utility, select your startup disk, and click the "Repair Disk Permissions" button in the "First Aid" section.
- Restart your Mac (unless you already did that during the software update).
In many cases, these steps help to fix software-related problems. If this does not help, check if any of the following questions apply to your problem. If not, contact our technical support for help.
Questions and answers
Is PopChar X compatible with Moutain Lion (OS X 10.8)?
Starting with version 6.0, PopChar is fully compatible with Mountain Lion and signed with a certificate for Gatekeeper. We recommend to upgrade to PopChar 6 for best compatibility with Mountain Lion.
PopChar 5.4.1 basically runs on Mountain Lion, except that the "Start PopChar at Login" feature does not work, so you need to manually add PopChar as a login item in System Preferences. You should not use older versions than PopChar 5.4.1 with Mountain Lion.
Why does PopChar X not recognize the current font in the active application?
There can be several reasons why PopChar X might fail to detect which font is being used in the active application:
- If you get a message that "Access for assistive devices" should be enabled, open System Preferences, click "Universal Access" and enable the checkbox "Enable access for assistive devices".
- If font detection does not work at all in a particular application, this is very likely because the application does not have a font menu in the menu bar.
- If font detection generally works in an application but fails in some situations, a dialog window may be in the front or the font menu may be temporarily unavailable. In this case, PopChar X will display the font that has recently been used in this application. If you need a different font, temporarily select this font and return to the "As in Document" setting afterwards.
In general: If automatic font detection fails in a particular application, you need to manually select the desired font in the font pop-up menu of PopChar. PopChar will then remember the selected font for this application.
Why does "formatted" insertion of characters not work in the application XY?
Applications must actively support "formatted" insertion of characters. It works for most word processors (such as Pages and Microsoft Word). If it does not work in a specific application, a wrong character may appear in the destination document. You can fix the problem by applying the desired font to the inserted character.
Why does insertion of Unicode characters produce wrong symbols in the application XY?
Unicode must be actively supported by applications. If an application fully supports Unicode, you can insert all Unicode characters with PopChar.
Some legacy applications (such as AppleWorks and older versions of Microsoft Word) support only the older "MacRoman" encoding. This means that you can use only a small subset of the Unicode repertoire.
To see which characters can be used in such applications, select "MacRoman" from the pop-up at the right side of the PopChar window.
Why do wrong characters appear when I insert characters from symbol fonts?
Some symbol fonts (for example, Webdings and the Wingdings family) contain many special characters in the “Private Use Area”. This is a section of Unicode that can be used by font designers for font-specific special characters. Different fonts will therefore contain different characters in this section. When you use PopChar to insert special characters from such symbol fonts, you need to make sure that the current font in your text document matches the symbol font. When PopChar appears to insert a different character, check the inserted character’s attributes and apply the correct symbol font to the character.
What is the best procedure to install or update PopChar X?
PopChar uses a "smart self installation" technique that makes installing and updating a breeze. Just mount the downloaded disk image and double-click the PopChar icon inside. PopChar will quit an older copy that may be running, copy itself to the Applications folder and launch the newly installed copy. There is no magic involved: You could do all this by hand as well; PopChar just simplifies and automates the process and gets you up and running in seconds.
PopChar's "P" disappeared from the menu bar. What happened?
First try moving the mouse pointer into the top-left and top-right corners of the screen. If the "P" appears, you may have enabled the preferences option to "show 'P' only when pointing into the corner".
When the "P" in the menu bar does not appear, PopChar is probably not running. Locate the PopChar application icon in the Applications folder and double-click it. See the next section about how to make sure that PopChar automatically launches when you start up your computer.
Why doesn't PopChar appear after startup?
Make sure that the check box "Start PopChar at Login" in the Preferences window is checked. If that still does not help, try these steps:
- Make sure that the "System Preferences" application is not running.
- Launch PopChar if it's not already running.
- Turn "Start PopChar at Login" off and back on again.
If you are running a PopChar version older than 6.0 on Mountain Lion, the "Start PopChar at Login" checkbox does not work. You need to manually add PopChar as a login item in System Preferences.
How do I uninstall PopChar?
To uninstall PopChar, perform these steps:
- Open the PopChar window.
- Select "Preferences" from the action menu in the top-left corner of the window.
- In the Activation tab, make sure that “Start PopChar at login” is disabled, then click "OK".
- Select the "Quit" command from the action menu.
- Delete the PopChar application.
In PopChar 6.0 or newer, the action menu in the top-left corner of the PopChar window has a gear wheel icon; in older versions, it is labeled "PopChar".
See also the special topics covered on our Tips pages
- 10 reasons to download PopChar character map
- Astrological signs
- Chinese letters on your computer
- Download fonts
- Free fonts
- French accent marks and characters
- German letters - umlauts and the eszett
- Hebrew, Arabic, and Cyrillic TrueType fonts
- How to type Chinese symbols on your computer
- Need a better character map?
- PopChar - the easy ASCII character map
- Phonetic symbols for English and other languages
- Spanish accent marks and the Spanish tilde
- TrueType fonts and PopChar
- Typing Greek letters on your computer
- Typing Spanish characters
- Umlaut domain
- Unicode character map
- Unicode fonts
- Using Alt codes to insert special characters
- Using Wingdings fonts and Wingdings symbols
- Windows Character Map vs. PopChar for Windows
- Writing Chinese characters on your PC
- Writing Japanese characters
- Writing Spanish letters