How to Find the Command Symbol and Other Technical Symbols in Mac OS X

While writing a recent tip on keyboard mapping in OS X, I needed to type the Command symbol (⌘). Absent the use of more advanced methods, I normally head to the Emoji & Symbols window (formerly known as Special Characters and accessible via Edit > Emoji & Symbols or Control-Command-Space) to find and insert characters such as Command (⌘), Option (⌥), or Eject (⏏). I was working with a fresh install of OS X, however, and when I reached the Emoji & Symbols window, the Command symbol was nowhere to be found. After a few minutes of poking around, it appeared that Apple no longer displays these system-related symbols in the Emoji & Symbols window by default. But don’t fret! You can get your system-related symbols back by simply turning them on again. Here’s how.
To access symbols such as Command (⌘), Option (⌥), Shift (⇧), and Control (⌃) — what Apple refers to as “Technical Symbols” — you first need to open the Emoji & Symbols window. To do so, launch just about any app that offers text input, such as Text Edit, Pages, or Safari.
emojis and symbols menu bar mac os x
With the app open, head to Edit > Emoji & Symbols or use the keyboard shortcut Control-Command-Space. You’ll see a new window appear with a variety of symbols divided into categories such as Emoji, Arrows, Currency, and Math. You can browse each category by clicking on it in the list on the left side of the window, or you can search all categories via the search box in the upper-right portion of the window.
emojis and symbols mac os x
By default, current versions of OS X display ten categories of symbols, but there are several additional hidden categories, including the “Technical Symbols” category we’re looking for. To enable these hidden categories, click the small gear icon in the upper-left of the Emoji & Symbols window and select Customize List.
emojis and symbols customize list
A new menu will slide down from the top of the window revealing dozens of additional symbol categories. Scroll down until you see Technical Symbols and check its box to add it to your Emojis & Symbols list. Click Done when ready and you’ll now see the Technical Symbols category on the left side of the window.
emojis symbols customize list technical
With Technical Symbols enabled, you can now easily access common system-related symbols like those mentioned above, as well as dozens of additional symbols.
emojis technical symbols
If the default OS X symbols aren’t enough, you can also head back to the Customize List option to browse and enable even more symbol categories, such as musical notation symbols, code tables, and language-specific characters.

6 thoughts on “How to Find the Command Symbol and Other Technical Symbols in Mac OS X”

Avatar Bill says:
Thanks. This was what I was looking for
Avatar Maya says:
Thanks so much for this great explanation. It was easy to follow – very clear and right to the point. So glad I found your website! ⌘
Avatar emmanuel scerri says:
Thanks dude. That was helpful. Them cogwheels sure hide a thing or two. Emmanuel in Chocolate Heaven
Avatar Dasan says:
I can’t get my keyboard to function.
None of the keys are working.
It just boot up to the login screen and the keyboard ain’t working.
I’ve tried resetting PRAM & SMC as well other keys combination but the keyboard seems to have some trouble every time.
BTW it’s a late 2007 Macbook with Intel processor.
Waiting for the reply.
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Avatar Stan Nevin says:
OMG! It took some searching, but it was worth it for this very clear explanation! Thanks! (⌘⌥⇧⌃)
Avatar meneush says:
Awesome, exactly what I needed! Thanks very much.

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