I am working on a corporate standards book for a client. Client works with two design agencies, my office and Other Agency. Both agencies play nicely together.

In one particular file, Other Agency created a chart with some arrows (up and down). These arrows are two particular characters in Wingdings 3. These arrows don't exist in any other font I can find.

I'm on a Mac, so I'm looking under Keyboard Palette, in Font Book, and Linotype Font Explorer. All those sources show the arrows. Linotype shows me a key combination, but it's wrong — typing that key combo doesn't give me the arrow I want.

I can also find the arrows in InDesign under Type→Glyphs, as numbers 169 and 170. (This works on PC and Mac, so far as I can tell.)

So the only way to get the arrows into the InDesign file from scratch is to copy from one of those sources and paste. For a square bullet, I can say "type an n in Zapf Dingbats," but there's no key combination which makes these arrow characters.

While I am writing the standards now for our agency and Other Agency, I have to write them so that anyone from the outside could come in and create a Client document and have it look the same as any document done by one of the existing two agencies. So I can't just say "pick up the arrow from the previous job."

Can I just say "Arrow up (Glyph 169) and Arrow down (Glyph 170) in Wingdings 3"? Would another designer reading that understand it?

  • As per horatio's answer below, are you sure they're up and down arrows, rather than left and right?
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 10:30
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    They are up and down arrows, categorically and without question. I have been working with this chart for four years, copying it from one document to another. The 169 and 170 GIDs are just what showed up in the InDesign Glyph palette. I could certainly be wrong about those numbers. May 19, 2011 at 12:23
  • It might be useful to paste them into your question. Obviously they won't show up as arrows, but it should remove doubt as to which Unicode positions they occupy.
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 12:30
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    Yeah, I didn't mean to tell you you are wrong on that point, because the font I have might be different. This is the real problem with using fonts for graphics: they are an imperfect translation. I have to strip out all the auto-correct single character fraction nonsense from word documents from outside authors all the time. The spec you are writing should be the unicode char, and the exact filename for the typeface (possibly with md5 hash etc), and even an archive of it if you have it.
    – horatio
    May 19, 2011 at 14:57
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    Don't want to put this as an answer in case it's wrong (again) but what about "Type Ç for up-arrow (Mac shift+option+c ; PC alt+0199 on the numpad) È for down-arrow (Mac option+` E ; PC alt+0200 on the numpad)"?
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 18:11

5 Answers 5


The Unicode values for these arrows are xf0c7 and xf0c8 respectively, so a completely unambiguous specification would be: Font: Wingdings 3; Unicode 0xf0c7 (up arrow), 0xf0c8 (down arrow).

David Blatner wrote a great post on InDesign Secrets back in 2008, all about inputting arbitrary Unicode values. The post includes a link to a tiny, but handy little script that saves massive amounts of time when you've a project with this kind of awkward frequently-used character. Since you can assign a keyboard shortcut to a script, a few minutes setting up the scripts with a text editor can save hours of production time on the project.

  • very useful! Since we only use those arrows for this one chart, we can just grandfather it, but that's a good script to have handy. The Unicode spec might be the answer. May 18, 2011 at 18:51
  • This may be my lack of understanding of Unicode, but how do you get F0C7 and F0C8 rather than the 00A9 and 00AA in Horatio's answer?
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 12:58
  • I think he is saying that those arrows are those unicode numbers in wingding3. I got my numbers by converting Lauren's original 169 and 170 to hex
    – horatio
    May 19, 2011 at 14:59
  • Ah yes, didn't see the Unicode value on hover in InDesign.
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 17:33
  • @e100: Sorry I didn't see your question earlier. As you discovered, the GID and Unicode values pop up, along with the name of the glyph, when you hover on it in the glyphs panel (which has a bunch of useful functions I couldn't live without). May 19, 2011 at 23:33

It seems there are indeed keyboard shortcuts which produce these two arrows. But I'm not sure I understand all the issues.


  • Ç for the up-arrow

    Mac: shift+option+c

    PC: alt+0199 on the numpad

  • È for the down-arrow

    Mac: option+`E

    PC: alt+0200 on the numpad

How did I find these out? I wanted to check whether the arrows did in fact map to characters within one of the standard (non-Unicode) character sets.

In InDesign, I set a text box's font to Wingdings 3 and inserted the arrows at glyph IDs 169 and 170, then changed the font to Arial. No luck - this gave me two squares.

Just in case, I used the Windows Character Map utility to pick the same arrows from Wingdings 3 instead. Switching the font to Arial here did give me two Latin characters: Ç and È, which when pasted into the InDesign document and switched back to Wingdings displayed the correct arrows.

I then used one of my frequently visited bookmarks, Arnold Winkelried’s special characters tip sheet, to find both Mac and Windows shortcuts; most resources only seem to give one or the other.

Then I tested the Windows shortcuts back in InDesign and asked Lauren to do the same on the Mac.

But I can't work out why the arrows I initially inserted from the InDesign Glyph palette didn't correspond to Ç and È. Can someone advise?

  • These do work on the Mac. (YAY!) I will watch with great interest to see if anyone can answer e100's question. May 20, 2011 at 0:25

I am on Windows, and alt+0169 alt+0170 will give me two arrows using wingdings 3, but they are LEFT and RIGHT arrows, not up and down. In any event, I would probably refer to the ones I wanted as UNICODE (U+00A9) (x00A9 = 169) and (U+00AA) (x00AA = 170).

  • Seems these are the wrong arrows. The glyph ID shown in InDesign is not the same as the Unicode value.
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 17:53

An alternative solution could be to create a new font in which these characters are mapped to keyboard characters. You could put the arrows on say a and b (or maybe even ^ and v to make them easier to remember)

Yes, there's a possible question around copyright/redistribution issues, but they perhaps don't need to be exactly the same as the Wingdings ones you use now.

I once used this to split out Arial's Greek characters into a new font in order to use them in Quark before it had Unicode support, but I had no need to distribute the font to anyone else.

  • A new font? How do I do that? And is it cross-platform? May 19, 2011 at 16:57
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    Using a font editor such as TypeTool or FontForge, you'd either copy and paste the glyphs from the slots in one font to those in another (probably not an option if you're redistributing), or directly create the new glyphs, which is a big enough subject for a different question. This may well not be practical for your particular scenario of course, but it does sidestep the issue by allowing you to use directly typeable keyboard characters. You could also add logos, servicemarks, etc to the font. Fonts are cross-platform these days.
    – e100
    May 19, 2011 at 17:06

I don't have a Mac, but quoting Wikipedia: Unicode input:

In Mac OS X and in Mac OS 8.5 and later: one chooses the Unicode Hex Input keyboard layout. Holding down the Option key, one then types the four-digit hex Unicode code point. On releasing the Option key; the equivalent character will appear.


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