Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When typing in feet and inches, the prime and double prime symbols are used, e.g. 5′ 5″. How do I type these characters?

share|improve this question
1  
the ` is officially known as a grave accent –  daviesgeek Jul 1 '12 at 2:05
1  
Really? I thought ' and " were feet and inches. –  timothymh Jul 1 '12 at 2:06
    
(With ‘’ and “” for quotes.) –  timothymh Jul 1 '12 at 2:06
1  
@davisgeek I think your comment must have been intended for some other question? –  Tom Gewecke Jul 1 '12 at 13:10
3  
@timothymh ' and " are "straight" or ascii quotes, the others you mention are "curly". Wikipedia entries for feet and inches explain that prime/double prime is the most correct symbol for these. –  Tom Gewecke Jul 1 '12 at 13:15

7 Answers 7

I don't know if it's the easiest way, but here's one way:

In the "International" system preferences, turn on the keyboard layout called "Unicode Hex Input". When you need to type a prime, type commandspace to switch to this keyboard layout, and then hold down option and type 2 0 3 2. For double prime, it's 2 0 3 3.

share|improve this answer
1  
The character viewer could help with this as well. –  ephsmith Jul 1 '12 at 4:32

Character Palette


´ (prime): 2032

˝ (double-prime): 2033

(thanks to Paul Berkowitz)

Unicode Hex Input Keyboard


´ (prime): option 2 0 3 2

˝ (double-prime): option 2 0 3 3

(thanks to @Ken's answer)

share|improve this answer
1  
The keyboard shortcuts are wrong. These give you the acute accent and the double acute accent (00B4,02DD) and not prime and double prime. –  Tom Gewecke Mar 14 '13 at 20:55
    
@TomGewecke care to provide the correct answer? –  Noel Mar 15 '13 at 19:53
    
It's already here in the answer provided by Ken and the comment there. There isn't any keyboard shortcut, you have to use the Unicode Hex layout or Character Viewer. –  Tom Gewecke Mar 16 '13 at 0:04
    
@TomGewecke ah, I see. It was unclear which part was incorrect. Also, it's nice to have a single consolidated correct answer. –  Noel Mar 18 '13 at 5:07
    
Yes, good idea. –  Tom Gewecke Mar 18 '13 at 5:11

On my new MacBook Air 2013 running Mountain Lion…

Press ⌥ alt/option + E to get single prime. ´

Press ⇧ shift + ⌥ alt/option and G to get double prime. ˝

share|improve this answer
1  
These are not the prime characters but the acute accent and the double accute accent. –  Tom Gewecke Apr 3 at 0:29

Using the Character Viewer, search for "Prime". You can then click "Add to Favorites" for more convenient access.

enter image description here

In Mavericks, the following shortcut is helpful to bring up the character viewer:

Control + Command + Spacebar

Click the button in the top right corner to switch between the "Characters" window and "Character Viewer". Note: to get that button or the search bar to appear, you'll need to scroll up.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
1  
Actually, you don’t need to scroll up. Typing in the character viewer bring up the search field automatically. –  Édouard Apr 3 at 10:38
    
The character viewer is definitely the way to go! On my machine it's Command + Option + T though. –  mabartibin Aug 1 at 10:05

Using the character palate is definitely the way forward, but instead of typing "prime" in the search box, which presented me with accented apostrophes, I found typing "apostrophe" gave me exactly what I needed.

share|improve this answer
1  
You can't get the prime symbol by typing apostrophe, so why are you posting this as an answer to a question about how to get the prime symbol? What did you use your apostrophe for? –  TomG Nov 29 '13 at 13:00

Modify the Press & Hold keys

For entering special characters such as the primes, I prefer the Press & Hold method since it's easy to remember and really quick if you shorten the Press & Hold time.

  1. Navigate to System/Library/Input Methods/PressAndHold.app/Contents/Resources/.

  2. Backup the Keyboard-en.plist file.

  3. Append the following to the Keyboard-en.plist file (before the closing </dict></plist>).

    <key>Roman-Accent-t</key>
    <dict>
        <key>Direction</key>
        <string>right</string>
        <key>Keycaps</key>
        <string>t ′ ″ ‴</string>
        <key>Strings</key>
        <string>t ′ ″ ‴</string>
    </dict>
    

Feel free to change the Roman-Accent-t to any character you wish, providing it does not already have Press & Hold keys assigned.

share|improve this answer
  • Opt-e PRIME ´
  • Opt-j DOUBLE PRIME ˝
share|improve this answer
    
I tried it and it really works. –  Richard A. Solomon Apr 2 at 23:33
1  
Sorry, no, they may look the same to you, but these are not the right characters. option-e produces the acute accent, option-j (US Extended layout) produces double accute accent. –  Tom Gewecke Apr 3 at 0:28

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.