Feature Overview

PopChar makes it easy to "type" unusual characters, HTML special characters and characters from Unicode fonts. It gives you quick access to all characters of all fonts, even those that cannot be generated from the keyboard.

shows letter P for PopChar X PopChar X is a background application that displays a small "P" in the menu bar. Though small and unobtrusive, the "P" is always there when you need to insert a special character - no matter in which application you are currently working. Just click the "P", find the desired character, and click the character to insert it.

shows the letter "P" for PopChar X As an alternative, you can configure PopChar to display a small icon in the right area of the menu bar. No matter which location you prefer, just click the "P" to quickly access PopChar's character table.

To get an impression how PopChar eases insertion of unusual characters and how you can explore the contents of your fonts, click here to see a short demo movie.

in PopChar X 7: Find characters by drawing their shapes


With PopChar 7, finding a special character is as easy as drawing it on the screen.

With PopChar, inserting any character is as easy as clicking it in the PopChar table, and you can even search large fonts for characters by their Unicode names. Unfortunately, you often don't know the Unicode name of the desired character, so you don't know which search terms to enter. But you do know what the desired character looks like. With PopChar 7, you can now simply show PopChar what you want.

print font preview

 

PopChar 7 introduces a new "Shape Finder", which allows you to draw the shape of a character on the screen to tell PopChar what you are looking for. You just draw the approximate shape and click the Find button and PopChar comes up with all characters that resemble this shape. It has never been easier to find special characters, even in Unicode fonts with thousands of characters.

in PopChar X 7: Find similar characters


Easily find similar shapes based on a known character.

print font preview

The Shape Finder can also be used with PopChar's new "Find Similar Shape" context command, which allows you to start with a character in the table, optionally add a few extra strokes, and quickly find characters that look similar.

 

Full Unicode support

PopChar supports Unicode fonts with thousands of characters. The grid-like character table of PopChar gives you an excellent overview of all characters in a font, neatly arranged in the standard Unicode blocks or by scripts and symbols. You can collapse groups you don’t need and use the navigation menu to quickly jump to a specific group.

Unicode

unicode categoriesYou can easily navigate through the Unicode characters by scrolling. You can also use the category menu right above the scroll bar to quickly jump to an arbitrary section.

Search for characters



Instantly search for particular characters by name.

search for characters 1

Enter the character "e" into the quick search field to display special characters based on "e" (è. é, ê, ë, …) only.

search for characters 2

If you need any particular representation of a number, just enter "number" in the search field to see all appropriate characters.

You can enter decimal or hexadecimal numbers to find the characters with the corresponding Unicode number.

Last but not least, you can copy an arbitrary piece of text and paste it into PopChar’s search field.

PopChar then displays all characters that occur in the text you entered.

Font information

In addition to the characters inside fonts, PopChar can also display information about fonts. The Font Info view reveals background information like version number, properties, supported languages, copyright and license statements, information about the designer, manufacturer, vendor, number of characters and glyphs, and more.

The Font Info view is a valuable source of information for font aficionados. With PopChar, the font information is quickly accessible with a few clicks at any time.

font info

The text is selectable, so you can copy sections or all of it for further use.

The Font Info view also contains a clickable link that takes you directly to the storage location of the font file. This helps you to find a particular font, without hunting through many potential folders. And when multiple versions of a certain fonts exist, PopChar tells you exactly which of these versions is currently in use.

Font preview


Get an impression of a selected font with the new Font Preview and Sample Text features of PopChar.

font previewIn typesetting, one important task is to get a message across. Using the right font can help substantially to emphasize the meaning of text and deliver an enjoyable reading experience. PopChar helps you to evaluate fonts. Select the Font Preview or Sample Text views to see a font in action.

PopChar shows some typical characters and sample text fragments in the selected font to give you an impression of the font's properties.

font samplePopChar even highlights characters that are not available in a font, so you can immediately see whether a font has all the accents needed to correctly write "déjà vu", "Bœuf Stroganoff" or whether it contains the bullets and ligatures that you need for a certain text fragment.

You can select one from a few predefined filler texts (such as the famous "Lorem ipsum") or create your own text template that you want to see in a variety of fonts.

Font sheets


The Font Preview and Sample Text views can be printed to create beautiful font sheets with PopChar.

print font previewViewing fonts on the screen is perfect for making a quick choice or interactively finding characters in a font.

But when you want to see what a font will look like in print, there is no way around actually printing the font.

PopChar's font preview and sample text views allow you to create beautiful font sheets.

View PDF version

 

print font samplePrint them, use them in design discussions, collect them in a printed font catalog, or save them as PDF documents to show off a selected font.

You can even send a font sheet in PDF format to someone else who does not need to have the font installed, does not have PopChar, and maybe does not even have a Macintosh.

View PDF version

Support for Apple Color Emoji font

In OS X Lion, Apple has added a new font called Apple Color Emoji with hundreds of colored emoticons, icons and other symbols.

You can browse the beautifully designed color symbols in Apple Color Emoji, search for particular ideograms by name, and insert them as characters in applications that know how to handle color fonts.

Apple Color Emoji font

Typinator users will enjoy our new Emoji snippet set. To insert a color symbol, just pop up Typinator's Quick Search box and type a short phrase that describes the symbol.

You can download the new Emoji set for Typinator for free and add it to your snippets with just a double-click.

Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or newer is required to use the full potential of the "Emoji" set.

Custom sizes for individual fonts

custom sizes

Different fonts have different metrics. Whereas the characters of one font may appear large enough in PopChar's table, another font may have light and small characters with subtle details.

Use the slider at the bottom of the PopChar window to individually adjust the sizes of certain fonts.

In addition to this adjustment option, PopChar also knows about peculiarities of more than 600 fonts and automatically fine-tunes the display for many popular fonts.

Favorites

If you need the same characters again and again, simply add them to the Favorites group. This group is always visible at the top of the character table and gives you quick access to all frequently needed characters. Technical symbols, accented characters in foreign languages, arrows, mathematical operators, circled numbers, astrological symbols, etc. You define which characters are important for you.

The Favorites section provides fastest possible look-up and insertion of special characters with a single click. It couldn't be easier.

Favorites

You can add favorite characters from any font. When you switch fonts, PopChar displays those of your favorites that are available in the current font. And if you wish to see all of them, select "Union of All Available Fonts" from the View menu. Or use PopChar's "Reverse Search" to find those fonts that contain a needed character.

To add a character to the Favorites section, simply right-click or ctrl-click the required character.

Magnifier tool

PopChar's magnifier tool lets you see an enlarged view of characters. This is especially useful for characters with small, subtle details.

The grid lines in the close-up lens also let you see exactly where a character sits relative to the baseline.

Just activate the magnifier in the bottom-left corner of the window. Whenever you point at a character, PopChar then displays a close-up view of the character.

Hint: You can toggle the current setting of the magnifier at any time by pressing the shift key.

PopChar's magnifier tool

Work across font boundaries


With "Union of All Available Fonts", you can work with all available characters in any font.

searching for cubImagine you need the cubic meters symbol in a text written in Helvetica. Searching for "cub" does not yield any results, as the Helvetica font does not contain such a symbol. To find a font that contains this particular character, you would need to click through hundreds of fonts until you find one that contains the desired symbol.

view entire repertoireAs an alternative, simply switch to "Union of All Available Fonts" to see the entire repertoire of Unicode characters available in any font. The search for "cub" now produces the cube root as well as some metric units cubed, including the symbol for cubic meters. Click the symbol, and PopChar inserts it into your document. See also the "reverse search" feature below.

"Reverse search" for fonts that contain a particular character

If you have found the cubic meters symbol, you probably wonder in which fonts it exists.

To find all fonts that contain a particular character, you can use the "reverse searching" feature of PopChar: Just use the context menu to mark all fonts that contain the desired character. Then click one of the marks to jump directly to the marked character in any of these fonts.

reverse search for fonts

Recent characters view

recent characters

The PopChar window contains an area displaying the most recently used characters, enabling you to locate and insert frequently used characters faster. Besides that, PopChar highlights recently selected characters in the main view.

The "Recent Characters" view is a good starting point for reviewing your previous activities and adding frequently used characters to the Favorites section.

Flexible user interface

The PopChar character table appears in a window that "floats" above all other application windows and can be placed anywhere on the screen.

Preference settings give you detailed control to adjust the behavior of the window to your liking.

You can leave the window open permanently until you dismiss it or make it disappear immediately after each use, depending on your personal working style and the size of your monitor.

PopChar X Preferences

If you prefer to keep the window open at all times, uncheck all options. To make the window as unobtrusive as possible, check all options.

You can also define a hotkey to open the PopChar window without having to move your hands off the keyboard.

Display the keyboard combinations

keyboard combination

If a character has a keyboard equivalent, PopChar displays which keys generate the character. This is most useful for quickly typing accented letters in foreign languages. If you need the same character again and again, PopChar tells you how to type it.

Optimized font list

The font list to the left of the character table shows all globally available fonts, arranged by the font families. If a font family has multiple members (such as Regular, Bold, Italic), you can select the desired member from the pop-up menu beneath the list.

You can use the pop-up menu above the list to display only those fonts that belong to a certain font collection. PopChar lets you choose among all font collections that you define in the font panel of OS X or Font Book.

Whenever you insert a character from a font, PopChar adds that
font to the pop-up menu that contains the recently used fonts. You can control the number of fonts to be listed here in PopChar’s preferences.

If you have hundreds of fonts installed, you will appreciate the new font filter of PopChar 7: Enter part of a font name, such as "script", and PopChar shows all fonts whose names contain "script".

optimized font menu

PopChar remembers the current font setting separately for each application. For example, you can select Times as the font to be displayed when you work with Pages, and Monaco as the font to be shown in BBEdit.

Various insertion modes

PopChar offers three insertion modes. You can choose to insert selected characters as plain text or as formatted text, along with font information and in the font size you specify.

various insertion modes

Web designers will appreciate the HTML mode that lets them insert characters as numeric or named HTML codes.

You can also control-click or right-click a character to open a context menu for copying the character to the clipboard in various formats.