I can't enter special characters like ∞, ˚ in macOS. How to enter this character in macOS?

  • 2
    Switch to the Unicode Hex Input keyboard layout, and you can enter any character by holding down the Option key and its (hexadecimal) code point number.
    – chepner
    Oct 1 at 15:42

5 Answers 5


While you figured out how to get and ˚ somehow, a great way to explore keyboard combinations on your own is to do the following:

  1. Open up system preferences.
  2. Go to “Keyboard.”
  3. Then go to “Input Sources” and check off “Show Input menu in menu bar.” “Keyboard > Input Sources”
  4. There will be a small keyboard palette in the menu bar. Select it and click the “Show Keyboard Viewer.” You will then see the following virtual keyboard. “Keyboard Viewer”

In this screenshot you can see I am pressing Option and it shows the characters and combos related to holding down Option. The smaller items in the upper left-hand corner of the keys can be accessed by holding down Option and Shift.

Play around with it to get to know what combos can be use.


Press Ctrl+Cmd+Space to get an emoji and character picker. At the top right next to the search bar of the pop-up there is an icon to switch between emojis and general characters. It also remembers frequently used characters.

You can also long press a key like E to add diacritics to it (if you long press an unsupported key nothing will happen). You will get a pop-up with è, é, ê, etc. Each option has a number assigned which you can press, but you can also click it.

These two work in most apps on macOS.


Also from the "Input Sources" pane on the Keyboard preference panel, click the + button to add the Unicode Hex Input keyboard layout (select "Other" from the list of languages on the left to reveal it).

Using this keyboard layout, you can enter any Unicode character by holding down the Option key while typing its code point number in hexadecimal.

Screenshot of the 'Unicode Hex Input' keyboard input source.

  • 1
    Great answer! Never knew about this. Oct 2 at 3:15
  • 1
    Thanks for adding the screenshot; I was too lazy to do that.
    – chepner
    Oct 2 at 12:36

To enter ∞: Option + 5

To enter ˚: Option + 0

  • 3
    This assumes a specific keyboard layout; it's not true in general.
    – chepner
    Oct 1 at 15:40

If you are trying to edit a document with math symbols that will be made into a pdf, you might consider LaTeX. One easy-to-use online implementation is overleaf.

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 2 at 15:21
  • This is not an answer. The original poster is looking for macOS specific character entry; not a specific application. And honestly, no person who does basic day-to-day work ever wants to enter more than a few key combinations. LaTeX is its own world. Oct 2 at 16:26

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