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Windows 7 hints and tips

Use the Private Character Editor

There have always been hidden programs and features in Windows that few people know about and Windows 7 is the same. However, one feature that used to be hidden in previous versions of Windows is now available to everyone.

Private Character Editor can be run by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Private Character Editor. This program is also in Vista and XP, but it is not on the Start menu and so you might not be aware of its existance. To run it in Vista or XP, click Start (then Run in XP) and enter eudcedit.exe.

The program is a character editor and you can use it to design your own characters and then use them in your own documents, publications and a variety of software. Here's how to use it...

Private Character Editor first prompts you to select a code. A grid of empty boxes is displayed and you can select any of them for your character. It makes sense to use the first box for the first character you make, so select it and click OK. (The next time you use the program you can select the next empty box or double click an existing character to edit it.)

The main window is an empty grid and down the left hand side is a toolbox. It is a bit like an old mono version of Paint. There is a pencil, paintbrush, like, filled and unfilled rectangles and circles, and so on. Use these tools to draw the character you want. When you have finished, choose Edit, Save Character (you'd think Save would be on the File menu, but it's on Edit instead.)

Now click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Character Map. In the Font list at the top, select All Fonts (Private Characters). This displays the characters you have designed. Click the character, click Select and then click Copy. The character is now on the clipboard and can be pasted into any application that handles text. Start WordPad for example, and press Ctrl+V to paste in the character or use the Edit menu (Vista) or Paste in the ribbon toolbar (7). You will see the character you desgned. If it is too small, just select it and increase the font size in the usual way.

Private Character Editor

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