Navigating through the vast world of symbols and characters on your Windows computer can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle. However, there’s a hidden gem in Windows that has been simplifying this task for years: the Character Map.

What is Character Map?

Character Map is a utility in Windows operating systems that displays all the characters for a selected font, including special symbols, punctuation marks, and even characters from various languages.

Why is it Useful?

Ever wondered how to insert a copyright symbol, a special letter, or even an emoji that isn’t on your keyboard? The Character Map is your go-to utility, especially when your regular keyboard falls short.

Accessing and Using Character Map

Hidden away amongst the myriad of Windows tools, accessing and using the Character Map is straightforward once you know where to look.

Step-by-Step Guide to Open Character Map

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type charmap and press Enter.
  3. Alternatively, you can find it by searching “Character Map” in the Windows search bar.

Browsing and Selecting Characters

Once open, you can navigate through a sea of characters. Click on a character to view it enlarged, and double-click to select it. Once you’ve made your selection, hit the ‘Copy’ button to add it to your clipboard, ready to be pasted wherever needed.

Features and Tools within Character Map

Character Map isn’t just a static display of characters; it boasts some handy features to refine your search and usage.

Zoom and Advanced View

Zoom in to see a character up close, or switch to the ‘Advanced view’ checkbox. This allows you to search for specific characters by their Unicode name.

Understanding Unicode and Keystroke Information

In the advanced view, the status bar will display the Unicode identifier and, in some cases, a keystroke combination to type the character without needing to copy-paste.

Applications and Use Cases

Beyond inserting the occasional special character into your essay or report, the Character Map has other practical applications.

Incorporating Special Symbols in Documents

Need to create a professional document or presentation? Using special symbols can enhance your content’s clarity and appearance.

Crafting Unique Usernames or Passwords

By utilizing special characters from the Character Map, you can create more secure passwords or stand-out usernames.

Conclusion: The Unsung Utility of Character Map

While it might not be the most talked-about tool in the Windows arsenal, the Character Map remains an invaluable resource for those in the know. Whether for work, play, or a blend of both, it offers a gateway to a world of characters beyond the standard keyboard.


  1. Can I use Character Map for all fonts on my PC?
    • Yes, Character Map displays characters for all installed fonts. Simply select your desired font from the dropdown menu.
  2. Is there a shortcut to open Character Map?
    • While there isn’t a direct shortcut, you can quickly access it by pressing Windows + R, typing charmap, and pressing Enter.
  3. Do all characters have a corresponding keystroke combination?
    • Not all characters will have a direct keystroke combination. Some might require you to use the Alt key plus a series of numbers.
  4. Can I use characters from the Character Map on websites and online platforms?
    • Most modern websites and platforms support a wide range of Unicode characters. However, always check to ensure your selected character displays correctly.
  5. Is Character Map available on all versions of Windows?
    • Character Map has been a feature in Windows since its early versions and is available on all modern versions, including Windows 10 and 11.