Tuesday, September 14, 2010

KoolTool: WHAT... ‽ You Need an Interrobang‽ REALLY‽‽‽

From time to time, I need to point out to inquiring cousins who get bitten by the genealogy bug that their immigrant ancestor came from a place in Germany called “Schmölln”.  Now, this town is not only hard for speakers of American English to pronounce (it sounds a little tiny bit like “Schmeel’n”, but not exactly…) but it’s also hard to write because of THAT LETTER.

Hint: look at your computer keyboard.  Do you see the letter “ö”? Probably not.

Suppose you had an ancestor who hailed from the southern part of Moravia, an area called (in German) “Südmähren”? Can you find the letters “ü” or “ä” on your keyboard? Again, probably not.

Maybe you have no German ancestors, but perhaps you want to transcribe a letter in French that describes your Canadian great-grandfather when he was a young boy (garçon) living in a house near a forest (forêt) in northern Québec?  Can you look down and see the “ç”, the “ê” or the “é” on your keyboard?

Now what, since these special letters aren’t optional?

Of course, there are any number of shortcuts you can use to reproduce those letters and a host of other symbols, most of which involve dropdown boxes, macros, multiple keystrokes or “hold down a key with one hand + type a number code with the other” combinations.

These days, I like things simple and uncomplicated, which is why I use www.copypastecharacter.com. First of all, it’s free, which is always a good thing.  Secondly, it’s simple – just one page. You just find the letter, character, or symbol you want to use and left-click on it.  That’s the “copy” part. Then, go to whatever you’re writing, right-click and hit “paste”.  The letter, character or symbol drops right into place.

No fuss, no muss, no code.

Plus, thirdly, it’s fun.

Need a snowman like this   ?? How about some pointy fingers ☞ ☜??? Maybe a pair of scissors  ?? Perhaps an airplane ?? A pencil ?? They’ve got you covered in those departments, too …and all on one simple point ‘n click page.

Best part? They’re highly versatile. You can paste things into spreadsheets, word processing documents, Facebook, and more, even this blogpost.  Plus, for iPhone users, there’s an app for that, too!

Visit the site and bookmark it. You can thank designers Konst & Teknik and programmer Martin Ström over there in Sweden for thinking it up and doing all the work.

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