How to Enter Special Characters in Dialog Boxes in Adobe InDesign

Special characters, such as bullet symbols, or ®s and ©s, need to be used in dialog boxes on occasion. For instance, when using Find/Change, or when creating a nested paragraph style. In many cases, commonly used special characters will be listed in menus in the dialog boxes, but not always. The first example below shows where to access a commonly used special character in the Find/Change dialog box. The second example demonstrates how to use a special character as a marker when creating a nested style.

In this first example, the ™ symbol needs to be changed to a ® symbol within the body of the text.

  1. Go to the Edit menu and select Find/Change.
    Find/Change Command in the Edit Menu

  2. With the Text tab active, type the name of the company into the Find what field, then, with your cursor blinking at the end of the text, click the Special Characters menu to the right. Go to Symbols and select Trademark Symbol. The machine code for the symbol will be inserted at the end of the text.
    Trademark Symbol in Special Characters Menu

  3. Enter the company name into the Change to field, then click the Special Characters menu at the right, go to Symbols, then select Registered Trademark Symbol.
    Trademark Symbol in Special Characters Menu

In this second example, an ornamental character will be used as a marker to create a nested paragraph style.

  1. Nested styles can be created to include a character style when there are common text elements that appear within every paragraph. For example, a glossary where the glossary term terminates with a colon and the definition follows. In the example shown, double colons are used after the name, then an ornamental character appears after the country of origin. Two nested styles will be incorporated into the paragraph style. One will apply a bold character style through the double colons. The other will apply an italic character style to the country of origin that precedes the ornamental character.
    Ornamental Character in Text

  2. Highlight the symbol in the text and Copy it. Then go to the Paragraph Styles panel, right-click the style applied to the text, and choose Edit "_".
    Style Menu in Paragraph Styles Panel

  3. In the Paragraph Style Options dialog box, go to the list on the left and click Drop Caps and Nested Styles, then click the New Nested Style button.
    Paragraph Style Options Dialog Box

  4. The Nested Styles include menus and text fields. The Character Style is selected from the left-most menu. The next menu gives choices for either through or up to the common character to be used. Next, there's a field for specifying the number of common characters, and last is a field to enter the common character.
    Nested Styles Call-outs

  5. When using an ornamental character, paste the character previously copied into the right-most common character field. The machine code for the character (in this case, a "3") will appear in the field.
    Specifications for Nested Styles

  6. The nested style is now applied to the text.
    Text with Nested Style Applied
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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