If you’re ever writing instructions on how to do something on a Mac, you might well be wondering how you type the Mac command symbol – better known as ⌘ to its friends.
My best advice is that – if you only need to use it occasionally – you don’t type it at all, but copy and paste it from a website such as this! I’ll put a command symbol on a line with clear space on it below, to make it easier to copy. All you need do is highlight the symbol, then press ⌘ + c to copy the symbol and then ⌘ + v to paste it into your document, your own website or wherever you need it. Here’s the symbol for you to copy:
Create a text replacement
If you think you’ll need to regularly type ⌘, there’s an easier way than copying and pasting all the time, and that’s to create a text replacement.
To do this, click on the Apple icon in the top-left of the screen, and then select Keyboard and click on the Text tab. You should see a window like this:
The sharper tools in the box may have spotted the Apple symbol in the list. That’s one of Apple’s defaults. So, if you type the word “appsy” in a Mac app, you should see a little apple appear above the word, which you can just click on to have it replace that word in text. Alternatively, just press the space bar after typing “appsy” and it will automatically appear.
You might also have spotted the ⌘ symbol in that list in the screenshot above. That isn’t an Apple default, but one I prepared earlier. To create that replacement for yourself, click the + button in the bottom-left of the window, then enter “cmmnd” (or whatever you want the shortcut text to be) in the Replace section and then copy the ⌘ symbol into the With section.
Note that Apple text replacements don’t work in every app. Microsoft Office apps, for example, unhelpfully refuse to co-operate. If you need something that works every time, can I suggest you…
Get the Espanso text expander
If you (ahem) run a technical support website or have some other regular need to type ⌘, as well as other well-known Mac symbols such as ⌃ (control) or ⌥ (alt) or even ⏏ (eject), then I suggest you take a different tack entirely.
To make those symbols appear in the text above, all I had to do was type “:ctrl”, “:alt” or “:eject” (without the speech marks), because I’m running a piece of software on my Mac called Espanso, which is a text expander.
A text expander basically allows you to type a shortcut command (such as “:cmd”) and have that automatically replaced with something else entirely, such as the ⌘ symbol.
Text expanders generally work best when you have to repeatedly type long passages of text, such as a welcome paragraph at the beginning of an email or your own postal address, and you just want to type something far shorter. However, Espanso also has installable packages, such as the Mac Symbols package used above.
Espanso is free and available for Windows, Mac and Linux, although it’s more of a pain to install on a Mac and requires some quite techy steps, which you’ll find outlined on the installer page. If you’re not comfortable with using the Mac terminal to install software, then you might want to stick to cut and paste, but if you follow the instructions carefully on the page, you should be fine. Installing in Windows is much easier, but don’t be put off by the Windows security warning – it is safe to install, it’s just such a niche piece of software that Windows doesn’t automatically recognise it.
NOW READ THIS: How do I create a keyboard shortcut in macOS?