Feature Overview

PopChar makes it easy to "type" any character from any font. It displays the repertoires of your fonts, including thousands of characters that cannot be inserted using the keyboard.

PopChar displays a small "P" in the system tray. 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.

This makes basic usage of PopChar easy: Just click the "P", find the desired character, and click the character to insert it. But PopChar can do much more than that. Read on to learn more about the many features of PopChar.

popchar activation

Click the picture above for an enlarged view.


To get an impression how PopChar eases insertion of unusual characters and how you can explore the contents of your fonts, watch our new videos.

New in PopChar 8

Browse the feature descriptions below to get an impression what PopChar can do for you. Sections marked with are new in PopChar 8.

To view the full list of improvements of the current version of PopChar Win, please have a look at our version history page.

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 sections according to the Unicode standard, by scripts and symbols, as well as in custom layouts.

If you don't need a section, just collapse it.

shows PopChar in Unicode mode

Unicode blocksYou 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.

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

Search for characters



Instantly search for particular characters by name.

search for characters

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

search for numbers

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.

Find characters by drawing their shapes

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, you can simply show PopChar what you want.

print font preview


With PopChar's "Shape Finder", you can 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.

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 "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.


Discover keyboard combinations

shows the keyboard equivalent of a character

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.

Actually, most Unicode characters do not have keyboard equivalents. But if it is possible to type a certain character, PopChar tells you how.

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.

context menu showing various formats for copying a character

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

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

Use the combined repertoire of ALL your fonts

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

search for a character in all fontsImagine you need the cubic meters symbol in a text written in Verdana. Searching for "cub" does not yield any results, as the Verdana font does not contain such a symbol. To find a matching font in the regular Unicode view, you would need to click through hundreds of fonts until you find one that contains the desired symbol.

search for a character in all fontsAs 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.

mark fonts

Favorites and recent characters

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.

Favorites and recent characters

To add a character to the Favorites section, right-click the desired character.

Whenever you use PopChar to insert a character in any document, it automatically adds that character to the Recent Characters group right below the Favorites. The Recent Characters section is a great place to find potential favorites.

When you find yourself inserting recently used characters frequently, consider adding them permanently to the Favorites section. Favorite characters are under your control, but a recent character eventually disappears when you use many other characters.

Custom Layouts: Create your own character arrangements

With custom layouts, you can group and arrange the characters in the PopChar table as you wish.

emoji layoutNew in PopChar 8 is the possibility to arrange characters in the way you want to see them. Unicode defines a standard numbering scheme, which also determines the order in which characters appear in PopChar.

With custom layouts, you can group and arrange the characters in the PopChar table as you wish. You can, for example, create a group containing your favorite emojis, another one with accented letters that you often need, mathematical symbols in the order that makes sense for you, etc. You can create more than one such layout and switch between your preferred arrangements with a click.

Alphabet layout Layouts are simple text files. To tell PopChar which characters belong together in a group, just list the characters in the desired order unter the group name. And, of course, you can use PopChar to insert the characters in the layout files.

PopChar already comes with a few predefined layouts. For example, there is an "Alphabet" layout that lists letters and accents that are used in many languages, as well as an "Emoji" layout that arranges emojis by their meaning, instead of their Unicode numbers.

We also offer additional layouts for download.

Link selected fonts to specific layouts

... and you can link a font to its own font-specific layout.


Some fonts are best viewed with their own font-specific layouts. For example, the built in Emojis layout is great for Emoji fonts, so you will probably always want to see these fonts in this special layout. To link a font with a preferred layout, enable the link symbol next to the font name, then select the layout to be used for that font.

Linking fonts and Layouts

From now on, PopChar automatically switches to its associated layout when it displays this font.

Find and insert emojis

If you like emojis, PopChar is the perfect tool for finding and inserting all sorts of emoji symbols.

Select the desired Emoji font, and PopChar displays symbols for smileys, persons, roles, gestures, sports, families, hearts, clothing, animals, etc. Now just click to insert the desired emoji character to your document.

Apple Color Emoji flags


PopChar 8 adds support for ligatures – a secret feature of many fonts that translates adjacent characters into aesthetically pleasing forms.

Ligatures are sequences of multiple characters that are represented as a single glyph. They are frequently used by font designers to display certain letter combinations with better spacing or connecting lines.

A popular example is the “f+i” ligature, where the top arc of the letter “f” is merged with the dot of the letter “i”. If a font contains such an “f+i” ligature, the corresponding glyph is used wherever these two letters occur next to each other.

If a font contains ligatures, PopChar shows them with a green background in a separate section at the end of the character table.

Alphabet layout

Although ligatures look like and behave like single characters, they actually consist of multiple characters. When you click a ligature, PopChar inserts the corresponding character sequence in the current document. Ligatures are used for many different purposes, not just for making certain combinations of letters more beautiful.

Alphabet layout

For example, Google's "Material Icons" font contains hundreds of icons that are associated with names as ligatures. For example, type "phone_iphone" and format that text with the Material Icons font and you get an iPhone icon.

How do you know which names are translated into which symbols? PopChar can tell you, and you can also use it to search for ligatures by their name, for example, to find all ligatures that have "phone" in their names.

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 shows some typical characters and sample text fragments in the selected font to give you an impression of the font's properties. You can choose from predefined filler texts in different languages, such as the famous Lorem ipsum, Fillerati, Blindtext, and La Bastille.

Font sheets

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

print font preview   Viewing 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.

If you want, you can even create a a font sheet in PDF format to send it to someone else, who doesn't need to have the font or PopChar installed.

View PDF version

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, copyright and license statements, information about the designer, manufacturer, vendor, number of characters and glyphs, and more.

font info

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.

Custom sizes for individual fonts

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.

PopChar lets you deal with these different metrics easily.


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

PopChar remembers your preferred settings individually per font.

You can also use this dialog to manage your favorite fonts list.

Show pronunciations and meanings of Chinese characters

Starting with version 7.1, PopChar Win knows the Mandarin pronunciations of more than 40,000 and English descriptions of more than 20,000 Chinese characters.

Point at a character to see these details at the bottom of the PopChar window.

pronounciation and description of Chinese characters

You can also search for words in descriptions. For example, simply enter an English word in PopChar's search field to quickly find all Chinese characters whose descriptions contain that word.

Optimized font list

The font list to the left of the character table shows all available fonts. With the check box at the bottom, you can choose to show each font name in its own font.

Favorite fontsYou can also build a set of favorite fonts. This makes font selection a no-brainer even with hundreds of fonts installed.

To add a font to the Favorites font list simply right-click the font in the font drawer and choose "Add to Favorites" from the menu.

You can filter the font list according to other categories, e.g., show only those fonts that contain a special character, filter according a particular font type, or see your Favorites only.

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

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 Word, and Arial as the font for NotePad.

optimized font menu

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.

Flexible user interface

The PopChar character table appears in a window that 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.

"View & Insert" tab of PopChar's Preference Window

To make PopChar as unobtrusive as possible, choose "Close window after inserting a character" in the Activation tab of the Preferences window.

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