I find macOS' special character popup menu (the one invoked with a long press on some keys) an incredibly useful feature.

For some reason, it seems to work only in Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop (I use the latest versions for both).

Is there any way to add this menu/functionality to other applications?

I'm using High Sierra. Thanks!

  • 1
    I think Adobe has to enable this feature for its apps. Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


I don't recall coming across a way to customise this on an application by application basis, but something that may work as a bit of a workaround is using the Character Viewer in the menu bar.

More specifically:

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences
  2. Select the Keyboard preference pane
  3. Ensure you have the Keyboard tab chosen
  4. Select the third checkbox to show the keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar
  5. Now your menu bar will have an icon looking like this:

enter image description here

  1. Now, regardless of the application you're in, you can select the Show Emoji and Symbols option from the menu bar

  2. Now the characters you're looking for are listed under the Latin category on the left.

  3. Now you can just double-click on a character to insert it into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

TIP: - Once you start using this, your frequently used items will appear within the Frequently Used category. You can also select particular characters and click on the Add to Favorites button so they're easier to find/use.


FYI, as Monomeeth answered previously, I had used the Emoji & Symbols from the menu bar icon for several years.

More recently, I learned that ⌃⌘Space (Control–Command–Space bar) can be used to pop up that “Emoji & Symbols” / ”Character Viewer” window from any app.

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