Turn two hyphens -- into M dash – and three periods ... into ellipsis … in Firefox?
November 6, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Firefox / WIN7: I type in two hyphens IE -- and word processor (LibreOffice Writer) changes them into M dash IE – which is what I would love to see happen in Firefox. Alternately, if this cannot be done, is there a simple way to do this with some sort of macro on my puter? Plus, hey, while we're here, can we turn three periods IE ... into an ellipsis IE … ? (Hewlett Packard HP 630 laptop, if it matters.)

Or maybe the M dash and the ellipsis are hidden somewhere on my keyboard, hiding in plain view like those hokey paintings of horses hidden out in winter scenes?

As far as macros, I'd think (hope) that if macros can be created for hyphen to dash maybe it could also plug in various html commands to insert into metafilter ...

posted by dancestoblue to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
If you hold down ALT and then type in 0150 on the number pad you get – which is how I've been doing it for years. ALT + 0133 gets you … as well. Once you memorize it you can type it out super fast. Dunno if that's what you're looking for but it's served me well.
posted by Scientist at 8:43 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and this has the side benefit of working universally at least throughout any Windows PC. Dunno if macs and if linux et al are wired the same way but if not then I'd bet there's a close equivalent.
posted by Scientist at 8:45 PM on November 6, 2011

Here are all the accent marks and other special characters. You can also use the customizable shortcuts extension to define various combinations to do whatever you want.
posted by SMPA at 8:54 PM on November 6, 2011

Best answer: AllChars is pretty great. It has been a little crashy for me in the past on Windows 7, but I've only just installed the newer beta version, and it hasn't given me any crap so far.

Basically, AllChars gives you a Compose key, like Linux and Unix systems have. I have mine set to the right ctrl key. The Compose key tells the system to look out for a two key macro.

For an em dash, I hit compose, then m, then hyphen, and get —. N-dash is just as easy: compose, n, -: –. Maybe I fancy a copyright symbol? Compose, c, o: ©. Yen sign? Compose, Y, =: ¥. AE ligature? Compose, A, E: Æ

You get the idea. The sequences are intuitive, and you can edit them and make more. I can type crazy Icelandic album titles like “Ágætis Byrjun” (notice the typographically correct quotation marks, too!) without breaking a sweat.

If AllChars turns out to be crashy, FreeCompose and UniChars are supposed to do similar things.
posted by zjacreman at 9:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

AllChars is the answer I was going to give. I use Caps Lock as my compose key, since it's not good for much else.
posted by kindall at 9:38 PM on November 6, 2011

Response by poster: AllChars FTW so far … — ™ ¼ ½ ¾ ± ÷ is what I've pretty easily found, and answers the question that I asked. Hurray! So far, so good.

But — Macros. I can't get them to work. At all. I enter the CNTL key then the / key and then the macro name, EX if the macro is named fred CNTL/fred and it's *supposed* to run the macro named fred — it's supposed to type whatever text I've input into the fred macro. Nope.

And when I look in the configuration file, I cannot see the macros anywhere; more interesting is that I've entered the macros, they do show up when I go to the program in the pgm tray, but none of the files show a current date IE it appears they've not been changed since 2007…

So I don't want to give a best answer because maybe there's something better; I'm done for the night, tossing it in. And if I can't get macros to work, well hey, I wasn't looking for that, but it would be nice. Maybe I'll nose around the other software mentioned here also …

k thanx gang! Great answers, I appreciate the help.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:39 AM on November 7, 2011

You don't hit compose before a macro. Just type /fred and it'll replace your text.
posted by zjacreman at 6:49 AM on November 7, 2011

Response by poster: zjacreman: "You don't hit compose before a macro. Just type /fred and it'll replace your text."

Too bad for me, no luck — cannot get this thing to run macros. (Yet — I'll probably dink around with it off/on, maybe write the developer of it, see what he says.) When I type in CNTL then / the / does not show up, it's clearly waiting for the name of the macro, but then if I type in anything at all, it now shows the / and also the text I typed in and a beep from All Chars.

But that's okay, I got at least what I came in here looking for and I'm glad I have.

Thanx to all for the time and the answers.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:38 AM on November 7, 2011

Don't hit your compose key. This is your mistake. You should see the '/'. When you hit your compose key, it is waiting for a 2-character composition shortcut, and THAT'S IT. Anything longer than that will fail.

Open up Notepad, and just type /wwa with no special key-presses. Ta-da!
posted by zjacreman at 6:34 PM on November 7, 2011

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