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I think the only thing I like about Windows is the fact that you can easily enter Unicode characters using the Alt key plus the numeric keypad.

I hate using the Show Emoji & Symbols for this sort of thing as it’s very tedious and I can’t find a way of entering a code I already know.

I know that OS X allows Unicode input using the Unicode Hex Input source, but when enabled I can’t use the option key to enter other useful characters. For example the typographical apostrophe (’) now requires the full unicode (2019) rather than the original keyboard combination.

The question is: is there anything which allows me to easily enter unicode without losing the use of the option key for the rest?

  • Normally one would not use the keyboard to make a typographical apostrophe -- instead one would use an app or OS preference setting to generate "smart quotes" etc. – Tom Gewecke Mar 6 '16 at 13:16
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    What are examples of things you are using codes for? It may be they are part of the US (ABC) Extended layout. – Tom Gewecke Mar 6 '16 at 13:18
  • When typing an email or entering on a web form, “smart quote” is not always an option. When writing code, you need "straight quotes" for code, but I use “smart quotes” for text. In any case, other European accented characters are easily entered using the Option key. However the Chinese character cha (茶, \8336) definitely needs Unicode input. On Windows the only way to enter smart quotes is via unicode input. The Mac is normally smarter than that … – Manngo Mar 7 '16 at 1:53
  • I would make a copy of the Unicode Hex Input and add states to let me easily do other things I need. Or just learn more hex codes. – WGroleau Mar 7 '16 at 4:49
  • If the number of chinese and other characters you need which cannot be made via US or US Extended is not too large, you could make keyboard shortcuts for them in system prefs/keyboard/text (or by using various third party apps which do the same kind of thing). Or use the Unicode hex layout and make keyboard shortcuts for the items you find entering hex codes to be too tedious for. – Tom Gewecke Mar 7 '16 at 15:28
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The question indicates the OP is not interested in using the Unicode Hex keyboard, but in case that solution does meet your needs, here is how to do it:

On macOS, you first need to add the alternate input "Unicode Hex Input." In the System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Input Sources.

Once that is selected (by clicking that input source on the header bar, all you need to do is type the hex code while holding option.

For example:

å = ⌥ Option00e5

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