Typed For Mac

macOS Catalina introduces Voice Control, a new way to fully control your Mac entirely with your voice. Voice Control uses the Siri speech-recognition engine to improve on the Enhanced Dictation feature available in earlier versions of macOS.1

How to turn on Voice Control

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After upgrading to macOS Catalina, follow these steps to turn on Voice Control:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Accessibility.
  2. Click Voice Control in the sidebar.
  3. Select Enable Voice Control. When you turn on Voice Control for the first time, your Mac completes a one-time download from Apple.2
    Voice Control preferences

When Voice Control is enabled, you see an onscreen microphone representing the mic selected in Voice Control preferences.

To pause Voice Control and stop it from from listening, say ”Go to sleep” or click Sleep. To resume Voice Control, say or click ”Wake up.”

How to use Voice Control

Get to know Voice Control by reviewing the list of voice commands available to you: Say “Show commands” or ”Show me what I can say.” The list varies based on context, and you may discover variations not listed. To make it easier to know whether Voice Control heard your phrase as a command, you can select ”Play sound when command is recognized” in Voice Control preferences.

Basic navigation

Voice Control recognizes the names of many apps, labels, controls, and other onscreen items, so you can navigate by combining those names with certain commands. Here are some examples:

  • Open Pages: ”Open Pages.” Then create a new document: ”Click New Document.” Then choose one of the letter templates: 'Click Letter. Click Classic Letter.” Then save your document: ”Save document.”
  • Start a new message in Mail: ”Click New Message.” Then address it: ”John Appleseed.”
  • Turn on Dark Mode: ”Open System Preferences. Click General. Click Dark.” Then quit System Preferences: ”Quit System Preferences” or ”Close window.”
  • Restart your Mac: ”Click Apple menu. Click Restart” (or use the number overlay and say ”Click 8”).

You can also create your own voice commands.

Number overlays

Use number overlays to quickly interact with parts of the screen that Voice Control recognizes as clickable, such as menus, checkboxes, and buttons. To turn on number overlays, say ”Show numbers.” Then just say a number to click it.

Number overlays make it easy to interact with complex interfaces, such as web pages. For example, in your web browser you could say ”Search for Apple stores near me.” Then use the number overlay to choose one of the results: ”Show numbers. Click 64.” (If the name of the link is unique, you might also be able to click it without overlays by saying ”Click” and the name of the link.)

Voice Control automatically shows numbers in menus and wherever you need to distinguish between items that have the same name.

Grid overlays

Use grid overlays to interact with parts of the screen that don't have a control, or that Voice Control doesn't recognize as clickable.

Say “Show grid” to show a numbered grid on your screen, or ”Show window grid” to limit the grid to the active window. Say a grid number to subdivide that area of the grid, and repeat as needed to continue refining your selection.

To click the item behind a grid number, say ”Click” and the number. Or say ”Zoom” and the number to zoom in on that area of the grid, then automatically hide the grid. You can also use grid numbers to drag a selected item from one area of the grid to another: ”Drag 3 to 14.”

To hide grid numbers, say ”Hide numbers.” To hide both numbers and grid, say ”Hide grid.”



When the cursor is in a document, email message, text message, or other text field, you can dictate continuously. Dictation converts your spoken words into text.

  • To enter a punctuation mark, symbol, or emoji, just speak its name, such as ”question mark” or ”percent sign” or ”happy emoji.” These may vary by language or dialect.
  • To move around and select text, you can use commands like ”Move up two sentences” or ”Move forward one paragraph” or ”Select previous word” or ”Select next paragraph.”
  • To format text, try ”Bold that” or ”Capitalize that,” for example. Say ”numeral” to format your next phrase as a number.
  • To delete text, you can choose from many delete commands. For example, say “delete that” and Voice Control knows to delete what you just typed. Or say ”Delete all” to delete everything and start over.

Voice Control understands contextual cues, so you can seamlessly transition between text dictation and commands. For example, to dictate and then send a birthday greeting in Messages, you could say ”Happy Birthday. Click Send.” Or to replace a phrase, say ”Replace I’m almost there with I just arrived.”

You can also create your own vocabulary for use with dictation.

Create your own voice commands and vocabulary

Create your own voice commands

  1. Open Voice Control preferences, such as by saying ”Open Voice Control preferences.”
  2. Click Commands or say ”Click Commands.” The complete list of all commands opens.
  3. To add a new command, click the add button (+) or say ”Click add.” Then configure these options to define the command:
    • When I say: Enter the word or phrase that you want to be able to speak to perform the action.
    • While using: Choose whether your Mac performs the action only when you're using a particular app.
    • Perform: Choose the action to perform. You can open a Finder item, open a URL, paste text, paste data from the clipboard, press a keyboard shortcut, select a menu item, or run an Automator workflow.
  4. Use the checkboxes to turn commands on or off. You can also select a command to find out whether other phrases work with that command. For example, “Undo that” works with several phrases, including “Undo this” and “Scratch that.”

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To quickly add a new command, you can say ”Make this speakable.” Voice Control will help you configure the new command based on the context. For example, if you speak this command while a menu item is selected, Voice Control helps you make a command for choosing that menu item.

Create your own dictation vocabulary

  1. Open Voice Control preferences, such as by saying ”Open Voice Control preferences.”
  2. Click Vocabulary, or say ”Click Vocabulary.”
  3. Click the add button (+) or say ”Click add.”
  4. Type a new word or phrase as you want it to be entered when spoken.

Learn more

  • For the best performance when using Voice Control with a Mac notebook computer and an external display, keep your notebook lid open or use an external microphone.
  • All audio processing for Voice Control happens on your device, so your personal data is always kept private.
  • Use Voice Control on your iPhone or iPod touch.
  • Learn more about accessibility features in Apple products.

1. Voice Control uses the Siri speech-recognition engine for U.S. English only. Other languages and dialects use the speech-recognition engine previously available with Enhanced Dictation.

2. If you're on a business or school network that uses a proxy server, Voice Control might not be able to download. Have your network administrator refer to the network ports used by Apple software products.

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Forget retyping. Rocket Typist saves text snippets.

Whether you’re new to Mac or have been using it for years, highly specialized things like shortcuts, special Mac symbols, and accented characters might result in a web investigation spiralling out of control.

If you’ve just recently switched from Windows, you should know that Macs don’t really use alt codes to type special symbols. Instead, all of the most popular Unicode characters can be typed in right from the keyboard. Unfortunately, Apple could do a much better job of shining light at this functionality.

For example, if you want to get a copyright symbol on Windows (©), you need to type in Alt 0169 — whereas, a copyright symbol on Mac is just Option + G. Similarly, a degree symbol on Mac (º) is Option + Zero and a registered trademark symbol on Mac (™) is Option + 2.

Truth is there are many more like this and below we’ll explore different ways of how to type copyright symbol on Mac or any special characters Macs allow, where to find Apple keyboard symbols, and whether there’s an emoji keyboard on Mac.

What Are All The Mac Keyboard Symbols?

While a standard computer keyboard contains around 80 keys, you’re able — in one way or another — use it to input all of the Unicode characters, of which there are about 130,000.

To start, simply explore how all the face-value characters change when you combine them with modifier keys — Control, Option, and Command. You can even combine multiple modifiers together as well. To see all Mac keyboard shortcuts symbols clearly, however, you need to turn on the full keyboard layout.

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Display all Mac keyboard symbols

Even if you’ve been using your Mac for a while, it’s useful to look at all the possible keyboard combinations from time to time to refresh your memory and discover new ways of quickly inputting information.

Luckily, it’s easy to show all Mac key symbols at once:

  1. Go to System Preferences ➙ Keyboard
  2. Check the box next to “Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar”

Now you can click on the language flag in your menu bar and choose Show Keyboard Viewer. The interactive display will appear, showing all the keyboard symbols and altering the view in real time when you use modifier keys.

Of course, even using all the modifier keys and combinations available, it’s impossible to fit all the characters in such constrained amount of space. To see all Mac key symbols, you need to select Show Emoji & Symbols option from the same language flag menu, or use a shortcut Control + Cmd + Space.

Here, you’ll see all kinds of categories on the left: Emoji, Arrows, Currency Symbols, etc. In the center are all the characters within a given category. And on the right you can pick a font variation of the same symbol.

To type in a TM symbol Macs use, for example:

  1. Open your word processor of choice
  2. Call the Mac symbols menu
  3. Navigate to Letterlike Symbols on the sidebar
  4. Double-click on ™ to paste it into your editor

How to create custom Mac keyboard shortcuts symbols

With the Show Emoji & Symbols window, you have access to nearly all Unicode characters you’ll ever need. However, if you need to use some special characters — such as a copyright symbol on Mac — rather frequently, it would be quite inconvenient to call up a menu and search for what you need every time. Of course, you can add the copyright symbol to your favorite characters, which will save you some time, but there’s a much better way.

Macs allow you to create shortcuts for all keyboard symbols to be able to easily type them in whenever you need. For example, to create a shortcut for the copyright symbol on Mac:

  1. Type in the © character into your editor as described above and copy it with Command + C
  2. Open System Preferences ➙ Keyboard
  3. Navigate to the Text tab
  4. Click the plus sign
  5. Paste your © symbol in the With column on the right
  6. Type in a desired key combination to trigger the copyright symbol on Mac in the Replace column on the left

Although this default shortcuts method works well for characters or emoji, it doesn’t effectively translate into longer strings of text or paragraphs. If you want to, for instance, create a shortcut that outputs a sales email template, you’d need to use a little nifty tool called Rocket Typist.

Rocket Typist is a full-featured text expansion app created to minimize repetition in composing any form of text-based communication. It’s essentially a small database of text snippets you’ll use over and over again.

Starting with Rocket Typist is easy: use File ➙ New to create a new snippet, specify the abbreviation, fill out as much text (sentences or even paragraphs) as you need, and then use the abbreviation to expand text in any application.

How to switch between keyboard languages quickly

Sometimes, the Mac keyboard symbols you need are only available in another language — say, they could be Cyrillic-based. To access them, you’d need to enable another keyboard layout on your Mac.

Luckily, it’s easy to do:

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  1. Go to System Preferences ➙ Keyboard
  2. Navigate to Input Sources
  3. Click the plus sign
  4. Choose the language you need and press Add

Now, the second keyboard layout will be activated. Don’t forget to check the box next to “Show Input menu in menu bar” to see which layout is currently active. The standard shortcut to switch between layouts is Cmd + Space, but you can also change it to Caps Lock key in the Input Sources options.

Extra tip: typing emoji on iPhone is much easier if you add an emoji keyboard layout to your languages.

Best Typing Programs For Mac

Special Characters: Type in various symbol variations

In some cases, you might just want to access a variation of the symbol that’s already on your keyboard, such as an accented letter.

One way to do this is to find the character of your choice in the Keyboard Viewer, as described above. Another way is to use a keyboard shortcut. You can get an acute accent by typing Option + E and then the letter. Similarly, circumflex is Option + I, grave accent is Option + backquote, tilde is Option + N, and umlaut is Option + U.

A quicker option though is to simply press the key of the letter you want to modify and hold it for a second until a small menu appears. Then just choose a number that corresponds to the modification you seek.

Digitize complex math expressions

If your studies or line of work require the use of complex math, you might be spending too much time crafting LaTeX and MathML expressions by hand. But as with nearly everything else nowadays, there’s an easier way.

MathKey is a Mac app specifically developed to write complex equations in academic papers and math documents. Instead of composing dozens of obscure symbols together, the app allows you to hand-write the equation using your trackpad (or mouse) and output perfect LaTeX or MathML, ready for publication.

Search for anything instantly

Typed For Mac Shortcut

It’s likely that you won’t retain all the information provided here. But don’t worry, the only thing you need to keep is a supercharged search that can take you right back to the answer you’re looking for.

Lacona is an intelligent search for your Mac that contextually analyzes the query and outputs a range of possible solutions, whether it’s launching a certain app, looking it up online, or performing a pre-defined action.

Any question about Mac keyboard shortcuts symbols — such as “how to type copyright symbol on Mac?” — would be met with a guiding response. And all you have to do to start Lacona is press Option + Space.

So there are a lot of things your Mac is capable of that you might have not even considered before. With regards to symbols and characters, what you see on the keyboard is just a tiny slice compared to the total amount available. Using Mac symbols properly will enrich your communication, making it clear and efficient, especially if you get used to creating snippets with Rocket Typist, transferring math equations with MathKey, and keeping everything at the tips of your fingers with Lacona.

Best of all, the apps mentioned above are available to you on a free trial through Setapp, a platform of more than 150 specific Mac apps that are designed to make your days more productive and fun. Now you’re ready to solve some equations!

Setapp lives on Mac and iOS. Please come back from another device.

Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.

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