How to create shortcuts for degree and diameter symbols?

Sketchup appears to limit shortcut creation to existing tools & commands. Many times I want to create a text annotation with degree and diameter symbols without going into the whole Layout universe–which may or may not be able to do this.

I’ve found the Alt keys for these symbols: ( ° ) = alt+248, Diameter ( Ø ) = alt+0216, and fortunately they do work in SU with text annotation. But, would sure be great to have more mnemonic one or two key shortcut to these often-used symbols. My fancy logitech keyboard surprisingly does not allow shortcut programming for command longer than two key strokes–shocking eh? This confirmed by Logitech tech rep.

So can this be done in SU?


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on a mac the (˚) or (Ø) symbols only ‘type’ if I use a carrot first, [same for this post]…

so () alt i shift alt O then delete the carrot, works in SU or here…


may be similar on Windows…

The character “Ø” isn’t really the diameter symbol, whose size and proportions are actually rather different. It’s a Norwegian “O,” or something like that (my apologies to any Norwegians if I got that wrong.) You’d almost need a true GD&T font to produce an accurate diameter symbol. You’d probably be as well off using the DIA abbreviation. Has sort of a nice 50’s flair, doesn’t it?


Edit: Here’s a comparison between a diameter symbol (left) and Alt+0216 (right):

Use AutoHotKeys to set up your own special characters.

“so (^Ø) alt i shift alt O then delete the carrot, works in SU or here”

My PC doesn’t convert alt i shift alt O to Ø symbol. That string plus the need to delete makes it no less cumbersome than my alt+0216. OK, so the symbol might be Norwegian letter, and not technically DIA symbol. Well, I happen to be Norwegian so all the more reason to use it with abandon!


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I don’t think that’s a good idea. The Norwegians are a pretty forgiving folk when some non-native speaker messes up the Ø, but when an actual Norwegian screws it up, they throw the book at him.


“but when an actual Norwegian screws it up, they throw the book at him.”

In my defense I don’t know a single word of Norwegian and there are a few drops of English blood in there someplace, so I’m hoping that will excuse me from the standard punishment for such transgressions–force feeding lutefisk perhaps?

The character can be obtained in Microsoft Windows by holding the Alt key down while entering 8960 on the numeric keypad

or so say Wikipedia…

The Ø symbol is actually the Norwegian equivalent to German/Swedish Ö, not O.

However, to write the diameter symbol on windows use Alt8960.

I’m talking about the actual symbol defined in ASME/ANSI Y14.5, for which specific dimensions are given, and which does not appear in any standard font or character set. The ASME requirements are used by, for example, the US government and its acquisition and supply agencies and the US automotive industry, among others.

Naturally, typographical symbols may bear a chance resemblance to some other symbol or shape, and leave it to a motivated engineer to find them buried in some table. A resemblance does not make them equivalent.


I was comparing it to the alphabet with which I am familiar, which of course, contains no umlauts. I guess I was fairly close.

Alt8960 does not work for me when in Sketchup annotation/text mode. For the time being I’m gonna risk the lutefisk and go with alt0216 (Ø) Abject apologies to all Germans, Swedes, Norweigans and any other potentially offended cultures, religions or alternative persuasions. (altP)

Of course TIG might have the answer there, but upon download of autohotkeys, it was apparent I was going to have to commit some time to learning a whole new program!


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If you do a little searching on the Internet or the AHK’s site there are several premade solutions…
Perhaps too many !

Install AutoHoyKeys.
Take the .AHK file from the attached ZIP and put it in your startup folder.
It will load as Windows starts - for now launch it manually to see what it does…
You then get a series of key combos to type characters - e.g. deeg >>> °
Customize as you wish.
Open the file in Notepad and edit it…
There are brief notes at the start and the syntax is simple enough… (296 Bytes)

Like we used to draw with one of these…

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Boy, that stimulates some old memories. The trick was to find one with #5 lettering (that’s 5/32, the lettering height required by ANSI Y14.2 for J-size drawing sheets).

I see your GD&T template and raise you a LeRoy lettering set:


Okay, one more: the Ames Lettering Guide:

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You guys are just toooo funny–though I’m afraid the kids out there just won’t get it as they lack the experience to fully appreciate the magic of 3D CAD. Not only did I used to use the plastic templates–and Oh, my god my old Ames line wheel, but CAD workstation to this day is still on the hollow core door blank set up with Paral-Liner drafting guide!

Who would have thought such a silly question would lead to so much entertainment and insight on language, culture and history?

Thank you to all who have contributed and benefited.


Before there were warm computer monitors … There were warm light tables.

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That’s a fairly realistic drawing of a cat.


I still have a couple of drawers full of this kind of stuff. Here are two of the weirdest. Anyone remember these?


The English language is full of umlauts, but its spelling has lost all connection with the spoken version. Think about the “e” in “The”.


You are indeed a linguistic scholar, but I was really just talking about the diacritical mark.

How about the planimeter (aka buggy) used for measuring areas from a map: