Add symbols to text

How do you add symbols to text ? Would like to create diameter, centre line, plate and
other symbols to the memory in S.U.

Text is not held in the “memory in S.U.” Text comes from the system fonts installed on the computer. If the font contains the symbols you wish to use, then you would be able to insert them. If the font doesn’t, you could use a font editor and add the symbols.

Typically Ø is used for diameter. Most fonts will contain that character. You can get it via Character Map or hold Alt while typing 0216 on the Num Pad.

Alternatively you could draw the symbols and insert them as components but they wouldn’t match screen text. You could add them as part of 3D text like you would combine any other components, though.

And for anyone reading on the Mac, keep the Keyboard prefs in your tool bar, open it, hold down option, and you’ll see that it’s option-o for ø. But yea, PC’s are vastly superior to Macs??

For me on PC, in WordPad, converting the Unicode 2300 to decimal 8960, and typing Alt + 8960 brings up a slightly different diameter symbol. That doesn’t work in SketchUp though. Dave, 0216 is decimal for Unicode U+00D8 ( which is “Latin Capital Letter O With Stroke”. In LayOut, Alt + 8960 appears to draw the “I’m confused” box, while Latin capital O (Alt + 0216) does work.

Dave, you’re an amazing guy to figure all that out.

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It’s much easier to use the PC’s “Character Map” dialog, than it is to remember ‘codes’, or mess on with WordPad etc.
You simply choose the symbol[s] needed from the Map’s dialog, and they then appear in the selected-characters pane and you copy them to the clipboard, then paste them into your application - in this case SketchUp/Layout’s text elements etc - but it works in any app…

@Barry: being “sarky” about PCs does you no credit.
MACs can be better in some ways, but then so can PCs in other ways…
e.g. Materials dialogs v. PDF use…
Don’t forget that the majority of SketchUp’s users are on PCs, so don’t alienate your principal ‘employers’…

Perhaps producing a MAC and a PC list of key-strokes for commonly use non-standard symbols like °, ², ³, Ø, ±, •, © etc would be helpful.
You guys don’t have much else to do ?
After all you are meant to help your customers, rather than ‘snipe’ ??

PS: All of the above symbols which I have typed were created by using a small easily customized AutoHotkeys exe script on my PC - it allows me to set up a few keystrokes for my frequently used non-standard characters - and it works in ANY application…

I reserve the right to be sarky AND snarky, and if you worked for Bill Gates at two different companies, I’d give you the same right for PC’s, TIG.

I usually just google the name of the symbol, e.g. “degree sign”, and copy it from the results. I find that to be faster and more practical than opening the OS’s list of characters or remember their codes.


Once you’ve found a weird character you like, save it in a simple text file along with other weird stuff you need occasionally, then you can just paste them in.

If you’re on a Mac, set up substitutions in Sys Prefs/Keyboard/text so you can type your keyword and in most applications it gets changed to your symbol or word, email address, etc
e.g. type “diamsym” and you get “Ø” or “optionkey” and you get “⌥”.

Here In Sweden that is refereed to as a Danish Ö. In Sweden the same letter is written Ö and I’d assume the Danes refer to Ö as Swedish/German Ø.

It must be boring to just have 26 letters in your alphabet :stuck_out_tongue: .


Yes, and that’s what makes Dave’s stuff more impressive: 1. We’re Americans, which isolates us, less likely to be multilingual and multicultural. 2. We are Midwesterners in the US, isolating us even more. I was forced into all this at Google when everything was going to be 40 languages, and find it fascinating.

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Not at all, in fact it’s what you can leave out that makes it interesting. For us, Australia is pronounced with just 6 letters. Straya. Saving three for use elsewhere, and reducing time wasting chatter by 1/3rd.


Thanks Barry. I didn’t think it was anything special. Maybe I’ve always used the wrong glyph for the diameter symbol.

I used to have memorized the Alt+ key strokes for Å, å, Æ, æ, Ø, ø when I was searching Norway for my wife’s relatives and places.

Thanks for adding the screen shot to reinforce my remark.

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Hello All

Thanks for the advice, very helpful.


And, what you get depends on the font. Wingdings has all kinds of useful (and weird) symbols. I have forgotten the nice sentences I once composed that created colourful cartoon “curses” when the font was changed into Wingdings.


A Unicode code point represents a meaning (and has slight visual features that make typographers tear their hair if misused, for example zoom in and compare ⌀ against ø).

In the era of Wingdings (before the rise of Unicode), code points were “abused” to display different characters with different meanings, like W for “U+0057 Latin capital letter W”. Be careful, this breaks as soon as the font is changed to something else (or the font is not saved in the file or not available on the system).

Nowadays, characters are uniquely identified by their code point (and should not require specifying a font). If a font does not contain that character, the straight-forward way is to display a character from a font that contains it (system-wide glyph fallback), which Linux does, I guess Mac as well (in non-typographic applications) and theoretically also modern Windows systems (if enabled by the application developers). Maybe enabling font fallback makes a good feature request for SketchUp 2019.

Regarding the “platform war” above, if your way of inserting characters is not really delighting you don’t have to change for the “better” system (as apparently this does not exist). Why not see if you can change the keyboard layout or replace an old application by more modern, searchable, featureful, intuitive alternatives?


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