How to add foreign currency symbols on the Mac keyboard

A few days ago I realized that most computers come with an American keyboard layout that does not have currency symbols for other countries, at least it is not that obvious. I frequently use currency symbols from different countries and wanted an easier way to type the symbols than copy and paste from Google. Let’s look at some better ways to add a currency symbol to Mac.

Add currency symbol to Mac

Method 1: use Apple’s built-in emoji and symbols

Apple has an up-to-date list of emojis and symbols on every device, and you can access most currency symbols on your Mac with a shortcut. While you are in any text editor, press CMD + CTRL + SPACE to open the character window.

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Click on the search bar and start typing the name of the currency symbol.

For example, I wanted to use the rupee symbol, so I chose it, you can find most of the currency symbols here. Click on the appropriate symbol to add it to the text.

See? Nice and easy. You can do this to add an emoji or symbol anywhere on the Mac. It works across the entire operating system.

You can also bookmark the symbol to appear at the top of the emoji window, eliminating the need to search for the symbol every time. Open the Emoji window by pressing CMD + CTRL + SPACE and click on the character viewer window icon in the upper right.

In Character Viewer, find the currency symbol and click Add to Favorites.

That’s it. The currency symbol would appear on top of all other emojis and symbols and you can quickly select it to add to your work.

As convenient as this method is, it has some drawbacks, as it is not as straightforward as typing, say, the dollar sign, where you can press SHIFT + 4 to enter the dollar sign. However, the following method further simplifies the solution.

Method 2: create a text shortcut

The following method is technically a workaround, but it is intended for situations like these. If you type a currency symbol a lot, you can create a text shortcut that would expand the trigger word with the currency symbol. For example, I created a text shortcut for the rupee symbol and the trigger word is set to ‘rupee /’. So every time I type the word ‘rupee /’ it instantly switches to the rupee symbol and that’s a lot more convenient than using the emoji and symbols method.

Pro Tip: To ensure there are no false triggers, choose a word that you don’t accidentally type. For example, add a prefix or suffix like ‘/’, ‘;’, etc. so that your activation word is unique.

To create a text shortcut, open System Preferences, Y click the keyboard icon.

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Under Text, click the + button at the bottom of the left panel to add a new shortcut.

Write the trigger word on the left side and the currency symbol on the right and that’s it. Now every time you type the trigger word, it will be replaced by the currency symbol you assigned to it.

The text expander automatically changes the trigger word to the symbol as soon as you press the space bar or the period.

Method 3: use a different input source

MacOS has a number of different stored keyboard layouts that allow you to customize your keyboard according to your needs. For example, the most common keyboard layout is the US version, and naturally it has the dollar sign next to the ‘4’ button on the keyboard and can be typed by pressing SHIFT + 4. However, if you choose Using the Indian keyboard layout, it gives you access to the ₹ symbol by pressing OPTION + 4. Also, the rest of the symbols and keys are the same as in the US keyboard layout, so there is no difference significant. You can simply find the keyboard layout that has the currency symbol of your choice and start using your currency.

To change the keyboard, open the Settings app and navigate to the keyboard settings.

I would open the Keyboard Settings and look for the Input Sources tab at the top and click to open it.

Here you will see all the keyboard layouts that are currently active. Click the + button in the lower left corner of the left panel.

Type your country in the search box and select a design from that country. Click Add.

Now you will see a preview and you can test the keys to find out which key combination would give you the currency symbol. Try pressing OPTION, SHIFT, CTRL, and CMD to see how the keys change in the window. In my case, the rupee symbol appears on the ‘4’ key when I press OPTION.

That’s it, you can continue to use this keyboard and whenever you need to enter the currency symbol, just press OPTION + 4. This may not be true for all keyboard layouts, so try your country’s keyboard layout to Find out which key has the currency symbol and which modifier key activates it.

Closing words

These were a few different ways to add a currency symbol to your Mac. Although macOS recognizes all symbols, you still need to feed the symbols and that is why these methods help you fix the problem. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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