Those who’ve vainly searched their Mac OS X 10.3 volume for something equivalent to the old Key Caps utility found in earlier versions of Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 — a utility that displays a map of the characters on your keyboard — can be assured that Panther does indeed offer a similar feature. But it’s darned hard to find. Allow me to show you the way.
In Panther this feature is called Keyboard Viewer and is accessed via the Finder’s Input menu. Yes, there is so such a menu. To reveal it, launch System Preferences and choose the International preference. Click the Input Menu tab and enable the Input Menu option. When you do so, the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar option is enabled and the Input menu appears in the Finder. To reveal the Keyboard Viewer window, just select Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu.
Aside from Keyboard Viewer being a bit of attractive eye candy that flashes letters as you type, it’s also a useful tool for adding the occasional odd symbol to your prose. For example, if you need to insert the copyright symbol, just reveal Keyboard Viewer, hold down the Option key, and you’ll discover that clicking the letter G types the © character.
I’ll be talking iPods this evening at the Apple Store in Walnut Creek, California. The fun starts at 7:00 PM.