Since nearly the beginning of Mac-dom, when you wanted to find out which key combination produced a font’s special characters (stuff like ©, ™, £, ¢, ‰, ƒ, etc.), you used a utility called KeyCaps. More than a decade later, KeyCaps is still a part of Mac OS, but a better way to access these special characters is through the Character Palette. You can access it two ways: (1) From within Mac OS X business apps (like Mail, TextEdit, Stickies, etc.), just go under Edit and choose Special Characters or click on the Actions pop-up menu at the bottom of the Font Panel and choose Characters; (2) add Character Palette access to your menu bar, so you can access it when you’re working in other applications (like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign). You do this by going to the System Preferences in the Apple menu, under International, and clicking on the Input Menu tab. Turn on the checkbox for Character Palette and it will appear in the menu bar along the right side.
Either way you open it, here’s how you use it: When you open the Character Palette, choose All Characters from the View menu, then click on the By Category tab. The left column shows a list of special character categories and the right column shows the individual characters in each category. To get one of these characters into your text document, just click on the character and click the Insert button in the bottom right-hand corner of the dialog. If you find yourself using the same special characters over and over (like ©, ™, etc.), you can add these to your Favorites list, and access them from the Favorites tab in the Character Palette. To see which fonts contain certain characters (they don’t all share the same special characters), expand the Character Palette by clicking on the down-facing arrow next to Font Variation on the bottom-left side of the palette. This brings up another panel where you can choose different fonts. you can also ask that this list show only fonts that support the character you have highlighted.