One thing I recall about my parents' old iMac (Mac OS X Tiger) was the ability to set a custom shortcut for a particular character or deadkey. While I did take advantage of that, I mainly used it in a frivolous manor.

However, regardless, I've realised that there are a couple of characters in the Hebrew type case that don't come on any of the built-in keyboards for the Mac, namely the meteg, a character used to mark syllabic emphases in certain situations. My need to access this character reminded me of the above anecdote and got me wondering whether there still exists a way to create such a shortcut.

Is it possible to create a typing shortcut as described above? If it makes a difference, I'd be using it mainly in Pages.


You could easily make a custom layout which includes the extra characters you need with the Ukelele app.

  • I discovered Ukulele yesterday. There's one thing I don't get though: how do I get the keyboard to work consistently once I've installed it? – NoahM Feb 26 '17 at 3:28
  • @NoahM Email me details about what is not working right and I will try to help (tom at bluesky dot org) – Tom Gewecke Feb 26 '17 at 4:51

Based on your question, you're probably familiar with much of this process but I'll lay it out from start to finish just in case.

In System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, add an item. On the left, pick a shortcut sequence. On the right, you need to enter the desired character. There are a variety of ways to do this here but one straightforward way to do so would be to Show Emoji and Symbols, enter the character name (e.g. meteg) in the search field and then double-click on the result. This will place the character wherever the cursor would be, which in this case, should be in the 'With' field in the Text preferences.

From within Pages (or TextEdit) enable Edit > Substitutions > Text Replacement. When done, there should be a checkmark beside the option. As far as I can tell, this setting will stick as long as it's a standard Cocoa app.

To use in Pages, open a doc and type the shortcut and hit space (or some punctuation character).

I have 'Show Input menu in menu bar' checked in the Keyboard > Input Sources preferences so I typically grab the 'symbols' from there. But if you don't have that enabled, and don't want to, you can select 'Emoji & Symbols' from the Edit menu of most standard apps.

Other methods might be to enable the appropriate script in the Symbols and Emojis window, or to paste the character from wherever you might find it.

  • One advantage of copy/paste, should you need it, is the ability to set multi-line replacements - which cannot be done in the replacement pref directly. – Tetsujin Feb 23 '17 at 8:16
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    Well, it is probably the easiest way but it's not the only way. You can use Unicode Hex Input to enter characters such as a soft return. I'm sure there are other ways to enter the hex codes but I have added the Unicode Hex Input source in System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources (it's under the 'others' language, but you can also find it using the search field). Then position the cursor and select that 'keyboard'. Hold down the option key and type '000D' (the four character unicode code point for a carriage return/CR). – Mockman Feb 23 '17 at 21:40

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