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: Launch "App Store" and install all available updates. If you need to restart your Mac after the update, repeat this step until 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 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.
  • 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 compatible with macOS Big Sur?

Yes, but you need PopChar X 9.2 or newer for full compatibility with Big Sur. For more information, please see our compatibility page.

Is PopChar compatible with macOS Catalina?

Yes, but you need PopChar X 8.10 or newer for full compatibility with Catalina. For more information, please see our compatibility page.

Why does PopChar fail to work after upgrading to Mojave/Catalina/Big Sur?

There is a bug in Mojave’s, Catalina's, and Big Sur's handling of application permissions, which can prevent some applications (such as PopChar) to work properly. Follow the steps below to work around the problem:

  • Open System Preferences / Security & Privacy.
  • Click the Privacy tab and select “Accessibility” in the list to the left. PopChar should be listed in the System Preferences window as shown in the picture below.
  • To make any changes, you will need to open the padlock at the bottom of the window (requires an administrator password).
  • First try turning PopChar off and back on in the list. This already helped for some users.
  • If toggling the checkbox did not help, select PopChar in the list and click the “–“ button to remove PopChar.
  • Click the “+” button and select PopChar from the Applications folder to add it back to the list.

Accessibility MojavePopChar will appear in the list with the checkbox turned on as shown in the picture to the right. From now on, it should be back to normal.

If this does not help immediately, restart your computer.

Hint: This trick may also work for other applications that do not work as expected.

Is PopChar compatible with older system versions?

Yes, we take special care not to leave our long-time users behind. The latest version of PopChar X is compatible with Mojave (10.14), High Sierra (10.13), Sierra (10.12), El Capitan (10.11), and Yosemite (10.10). For more information, please see our compatibility page.

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, you need to grant PopChar the required permissions. On Mavericks and newer (including Yosemite), open System Preferences / Security & Privacy, and enable PopChar in the “Privacy” section. On older versions of OS X, activate the option "Enable access for assistive devices” in "Universal Access".
  • 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 do fonts activated with FontExplorer not show up in PopChar?

This has to do with the way how FontExplorer makes activated fonts available to applications. To make sure that PopChar updates its list of available fonts, go to FontExplorer's preferences, enable the option "Enable interception of font requests" and set "All Others" to "Allow Requests".

Does PopChar support emoji characters?

Yes. We continuously update PopChar to support the whole emoji set, as defined by the Unicode standard, including emoji characters with skin tones. Starting with version 9.0, PopChar fully supports the Emoji 13.0 character set. It is still possible that you do not see all defined emoji characters if you are using an older version of macOS with an older version of the Apple Color Emoji font.

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.

For further information, please see our Tips page on how to best update Ergonis Software macOS products.

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.

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.

How do I uninstall PopChar?

To uninstall PopChar, perform these steps:

  1. Open the PopChar window.
  2. Select "Preferences" from the gear-wheel menu in the top-right corner of the window.
  3. In the Activation tab, make sure that “Start PopChar at login” is disabled, then click "OK".
  4. Select "Quit" from the gear-wheel menu.
  5. Delete the PopChar application.

In versions older than PopChar 7.0, the gear-wheel menu is located in the top-left of the window; in even older versions, it has the label “PopChar”.


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