Is there a list of key-symbols that I could reference?

up vote 115 down vote accepted

If you are talking about something like this: ⌘ (the ⌘ key), then you are looking for this chart:

HTML Entity     GLYPH  NAME
              Apple
⌘         ⌘      Command, Cmd, Clover, (formerly) Apple
⌃         ⌃      Control, Ctl, Ctrl
⌥         ⌥      Option, Opt, (Windows) Alt
⇧         ⇧      Shift
⇪         ⇪      Caps lock
⏏         ⏏      Eject
↩         ↩      Return, Carriage Return
↵ ↵ ↵      Return, Carriage Return
⏎         ⏎      Return, Carriage Return
⌤         ⌤      Enter
⌫         ⌫      Delete, Backspace
⌦         ⌦      Forward Delete
⎋         ⎋      Escape, Esc
→ →  →      Right arrow
← ←  ←      Left arrow
↑ ↑  ↑      Up arrow
↓ ↓  ↓      Down arrow
⇞         ⇞      Page Up, PgUp
⇟         ⇟      Page Down, PgDn
↖         ↖      Home
↘         ↘      End
⌧         ⌧      Clear
⇥         ⇥      Tab, Tab Right, Horizontal Tab
⇤         ⇤      Shift Tab, Tab Left, Back-tab
␢         ␢      Space, Blank
␣         **␣**  Space, Blank
  • 2
    It would be nice if they were copyable :-) – Patrick Perini Jul 6 '12 at 17:26
  • 1
    @pcperini I know. They aren't at the moment. Is it what you were looking for? If so, I can make then copyable. – daviesgeek Jul 6 '12 at 17:53
  • 3
    @daviesgeek I made them copyable, but I couldn't come up with a good format. – CajunLuke Jul 6 '12 at 18:58
  • @CajunLuke How'd you do that? Thanks BTW. – daviesgeek Jul 6 '12 at 19:09
  • 3
    @daviesgeek I typed them out by hand once, then used a regex find/replace to make two columns so I didn't have to type twice. – CajunLuke Jul 6 '12 at 20:03

Events.h defines constants for the menu glyphs, but not the code points used to represent them. There are several unofficial lists like Keyboard icons & terminology - Ask Different Meta or this one posted on an Apple mailing list.

CajunLuke rolled back my edit to daviesgeek's answer, so here's another list. Differences compared to the current revision of the other answer:

  • Formatted as CSV
  • Added ⌧ and ␣
  • The numeric character reference for the left arrow key was wrong
  • Included named character references added in HTML5
  • Removed uncommon variants like ⏎ and ␢
  • The numeric character references are in hexadecimal
⌘,⌘,,command
⇧,⇧,,shift
⌥,⌥,,option
⌃,⌃,,control
↩,↩,↩,return
⌤,⌤,,enter
⌫,⌫,,delete
⌦,⌦,,forward delete
⌧,⌧,,clear
⇥,⇥,⇥,tab
⇤,⇤,⇤,backtab
␣,␣,␣,space
⎋,⎋,,escape
⇪,⇪,,caps lock
⏏,⏏,,eject
⇞,⇞,,page up
⇟,⇟,,page down
↖,↖,↖,home
↘,↘,↘,end
←,←,←,left
→,→,→,right
↑,↑,↑,up
↓,↓,↓,down
  • The reason I rolled back your answer was primarily formatting-related. CSV isn't real useful on a webpage. I added the characters you said we missed. (Which we did miss, as I used the screenshot that had been there as a reference.) If I got the number wrong or you want to add the HTML 5 named references, please edit those parts. – CajunLuke Jul 10 '12 at 20:21
  • Also, what's better about the hexadecimal versions? (TBH, I didn't know you could do HTML literal references in hex.) – CajunLuke Jul 10 '12 at 20:22
  • 1
    @CajunLuke Decimal code points are less common in other contexts; for example you can't search for them in Character Viewer. CSV is easier to parse for use in temporary scripts, easier to output, and easier to convert to an HTML table. – user495470 Jul 11 '12 at 5:14

I like to use the widget...

CharacterPal

  • When you hover over a symbol, you can see its coding.
  • Copy a symbol to the clipboard by clicking on it. (This will copy the coding.)

The widget offers access to various character sets: Keyboard, Math and Science, Greek, ...

enter image description here enter image description here

  • @pcperini You might also be interested in this awesome tip by user stuffe. – gentmatt Jul 6 '12 at 20:07
  • 1
    I would also update this with the control+command+space shortcut added in OS X also has a "technical" symbols added – Downgoat Jul 16 '15 at 5:14
  • link is broken :( – www139 Dec 26 '15 at 13:04

If you're using TextExpander (and if not, why not?! It's only $45. 😜), you can just import the "Keyboard" snippet group from Dr. Dang (see the second part of the post) and get the symbols you're likely looking for:

To insert   Type    Key name  
    ⌘       ;cmd    Command  
    ⌥       ;opt    Option  
    ⇧       ;shift  Shift  
    ⌃       ;ctl    Control  
    ⇥       ;tab    Tab  
    ⌫       ;bs     Backspace  
    ⌦       ;del    Forward Delete  
    ⌅       ;enter  Enter  
    ↩       ;return     Return  
    ⎋       ;esc    Escape  
           ;apple  Apple  
    ←       ;left   Left Arrow  
    →       ;right  Right Arrow  
    ↑       ;up     Up Arrow  
    ↓       ;down   Down Arrow  
    ␣       ;space  Space

He also has a few other interesting "set of snippets" you might want to have a look at:

Hope this helps!

Just press CTR+SHIFT+Space to bring up the built-in Characters popup and use the search field to type the unicode name of the character, i.e. place of interest for , option for , etc.

osx Characters popup for unicode special characters

✔️ You can also use it to insert emojis.

👉 Click the top right icon to get the extended version of the dialog.

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