USE SYMBOL SETS TO
ENHANCE PRINTER OUTPUT
Carroll Palmer [Reprinted from Vol. 16, Issue 7]
Few PC users realize that over 200 handy symbols may lie in waiting inside their printers
in what are called "symbol sets". In addition to the letters, numerals and
symbols available on the standard or enhanced QWERTY keyboards, many more additional
letters and symbols are available for use with many printers and word processing software
programs, e.g., £, ¥, ¢, , ß, æ, ½, ¼, ¾, ¶,
©, ®, etc., without need to change to a new font to place such
symbol in the ongoing text.
These symbols are available for the internal (or resident) fonts in the printer, though
some are available only for the scalable (not bitmapped) fonts. In the use of
Microsoft Publisher with which this newsletter is prepared, the desired symbol is
available by depressing and holding down the Alt Key while typing the ASCII number for the
desired symbol. Such numbers are three digits, e.g., 156, 190, etc. or in some cases
the three digits preceded by 0, e.g., 0156, 0190. In other cases, the command
may need to be preceded with <ESC>(id, where <ESC> is the ESC character
(ASCII 27) and id is the Symbol Set ID number, i.e., 0027(0156. This text was
created using the Microsoft Publisher program and the symbol £ was made by depressing the
Alt Key while typing 156 ON THE NUMERIC PAD (on the right) followed by releasing the Alt
Key. Do not type the 156 on the regular number keys above the letter keys.
When the Alt Key is released, the symbol will appear in the monitor text. Give it a
try with your word processing system.
In order to make use of the symbol sets, you need to know the ASCII number for the symbol
you want to print. If you use one or two symbols continuously, e.g., the yen symbol
¥, you can probably remember its number is 157. However, no one can remember all
the symbols or all their numbers. So what do you do? Some printers come with
manuals that provide this information, some do not. I find the best way is to
print sheets listing all the symbols available for the fonts you use and keep these
handy for reference as needed. Making a style sheet takes about 10-20 minutes, but
is a one time operation. You may need to do some experimenting with the
numbers. Start with 001 and see what symbol appears. With Microsoft word you get the
"smiley face", but not with Microsoft Publisher. With Publisher, the
special symbols begin with 127 &127; and go to 0255 ÿ.
Make your table of symbols by formatting an 8x11½ sheet to (a) have top, left and right
margins of 0.5" and a bottom margin of 4.5" and (b) nine columns with 0.1"
space between columns. Then, starting at the top, type 001 <enter>, 002
<enter> until you reach 032 <enter>. On the next line type 127
<enter> and continue seriatim until you reach 255 <enter>. The numbers
033 to 126 are omitted because they are the symbols for the keys of the QWERTY keyboards
which you obtain by simply typing the keys.
Save this "file", e.g., named ssform, as a "template"
for future use in making symbol set sheets from time to time of various fonts.
Open a new text page with a copy of the template and at the first line, i.e., 001, type
two space bar strokes and then, while depressing the Alt Key, type on the numeric pad 001
and release the Alt Key.. If the symbol set the software you are working with
has a symbol for that number , it will appear at the cursor. In this case, type two
spaces and with the Alt Key depressed type 0001 on the numeric pad, then release the Alt
Key. If there is a symbol for 0001, it will appear, but if it does not, then there
is no symbol for that number. Keep repeating this two step procedure for all numbers