February 1999 - [Page 1] [Page 2] [Page 3] [Page 4]


  By   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., , , , †, , ,  ,  ,  ,  , , ,  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 .
Make your table of symbols by formatting an 8x11 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