Inserting a special character in Calc or Excel


Had a situation recently where I needed to concatenate two columns of text into a single column in a spreadsheet. The final text was going to flow into InDesign. The InDesign text would be styled with a nested style that depended on an “en space” to define the character styles:
This is how the nested style would look:

I wanted to put the “en space” directly into the concatenated text, so it would just be ready to style when imported in InDesign. But then I found that neither Excel 2004 nor Open’s Calc supports en spaces, not even when you click “Insert/Special Character…”. You can get the en space in Word, and copy and paste it from there, but that’s not an elegant solution. Fortunately, Mac does provide a workaround for this.

First you need to know the unicode number for the character you are looking for. You can find it by going to and looking up the name index. From here, you would find that the unicode for an en space is “2002”.

To get to the character palette: Click on the Desktop to see the Finder menu. Click on Edit→Special characters, and that will automatically bring up the character palette.

You should see an American flag docked in the menu bar.

If the character palette does not immediately appear, or if you have closed it, just click on the flag, and choose “Show Character Palette”. The following dialog (or a reasonable facsimie) appears:

At the very bottom, you’ll see a small field with a magnifying glass (kind of like the spotlight). In that field, type the unicode number. This will bring up all the fonts containing an en space. You simply select one, then click on the insert button (bottom most right button).

Type the Unicode number in the field; click insert to insert character into Excel or Calc.

As long as you know the code, you can find any character if your fonts support it.

See ya soon.


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